Tag Archives caribbean carnival

All About Monday Wear

By Posted on 2min read71 views

I remember the first time I heard “Monday Wear.” What is Monday wear? Where do I buy Monday wear? Most importantly, why would I want to wear it?  If you are as confused as I once was, this is the blog you want to read.

In Trinidad, the carnival costume was worn on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.  The bodywear of the outfit was worn on Monday, and the bodywear with feathers was worn on Tuesday.  Over time, people began to seek other options over wearing the same bodywear for two days.  And so, Monday Wear was born and has evolved into a staple item of revelers on and off the road.

Monday Wear ranges from an intricate design for hire, a “base” of a carnival costume, to a simple swimsuit or bikini.  It’s that simple!

Have an old carnival costume?   Swimsuits in your drawer? You already have it! But if you want to know where to buy Monday wear, this blog is for you.

Check my blog if you’re looking for cute bags to wear with your outfit.

Old costumes, purchase from a band or designer

People would traditionally throw away their costumes to represent shedding old skin and coming out new.  In current times, costumes are expensive and so intricate that many save the body wear.

monday wear
This Monday wear design was commissioned from Chez Zen Mas.

Trinidad carnival is a pretty big deal, so some may hire a designer for a particular design. Many of your favorite bands sell Monday wear options, so check out their website or inquire via social media or email.   For Trinidad 2020, I purchased an outfit from Melissa Simon – Hartman.
I’m looking forward to seeing what she might create for 2023.

melissa simon-hartman monday wear
Now that she's designing for celebrities, I hope I can afford her next year!

Outfits made from swimwear and bodysuits

Monday Wear Outfit Swimsut
Monday wear is something as simple as a bodysuit or swimwear.

If you are a fete-goer on a budget, bodysuits and swimwear are fantastic options.  Note: If you pick a bodysuit that snaps in the crotch, please have it sewn shut.  Yes, I have seen ladies unexpectedly exposed, thinking those two snaps would withstand the rigor of her kitty and the revelry.

I compiled a shortlist of super-cute swimsuits that you can wear for as low as thirty bucks.  I love a good deal!  Attached is an affiliate link, and I earn commissions from your purchases. I thank you in advance!

 

Monday Wear Ideas
Click the photo to head over to my idea list on Amazon.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?    

Monday wear gives you freedom of movement and may actually afford you an opportunity to express your individuality on the road or at a fete.  I hope this helps you! 

 

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Saint Lucia Carnival Costumes

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We all know the trophy will undoubtedly return to Trinidad next year, but the buzz around Saint Lucia Carnival 2022 is so crazy that I would argue it might be the “it” Carnival for the Island countries. You are definitely behind the power curve if you are starting to plan your trip to Saint Lucia Carnival, so get to planning! But if you want to know where to get costumes for Saint Lucia Carnival, this blog is for you. 

Be sure to check out my Saint Lucia Carnival guide here.

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Saint Lucia Carnival Costume Bands

Saint Lucia Carnival Costume
Credit: Saint Lucia Tourism Board

The good news is there are only a few bands for Saint Lucia Carnival, so you won’t be overwhelmed by the options left.  The bad news is that many options are sold out due to demand. 2020 registrants were also rolled over into this year’s production, likely making your favorite costume sold out.  But there are costumes for Saint Lucia carnival that are still available. Based on a quick evaluation, I have seen the prices of female costumes range from $700 – $1400. Check out the list of costume bands below:

St. Lucia carnival will be on July 18th and 19th this year.  The first day of Vaval will be in costume (pretty mas), followed by Monday wear on day two.

LVST Carnival released a Monday wear option for separate purchase. You can check it out here.

I am so excited to be headed to Saint Lucia this year.  Traveling to the island country has been on my bucket list for years. Throw in vaval, and I am in heaven!  If you’re coming out to Saint Lucia Carnival this year, be sure to say hello to ‘ya girl if you see her.

st lucia carnival, st. lucia carnival, lucia carnival, st lucia carnival costumes

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Group travel tip: Assemble your crew wisely.

By Posted on 3min read85 views

Many people believe the first step in preparing for Caribbean carnival is registration. With experience, you will find that most people will assemble their crew and prepare for group travel before the band launches even occur.  

Choosing good road partners is just as important as choosing your band.  Choice of the band and your crew can make or break your carnival experience. 

It is essential to embrace that not all your friends/family are a good fit for this experience with you. Group travel can save money, but it’s not worth it if you have drama to go along with it. I would personally pay a little extra for peace and great vibes.

So let’s read on.

Finances in group travel

carnival group travel
Photo Credit: Pinterest.

The first thing I want you to look for in a road partner is financial signs. Carnival is an expensive experience, and if your potential road partner has demonstrated  they are not financially stable, anticipate financial instability will be realized during your trip. For example, suppose you have a friend constantly doing charge-backs, returning clothing, cancelling flights, or continually borrowing money. In that case, this is probably someone you do not want to take on the trip.  And if you do, mentally prepare for that individual to continue to do the same things they did on your journey.

People who demonstrate these signs of instability will not have the flexibility to promptly purchase fete tickets, flights, or book reservations. This type of person will likely buy everything at the last minute, making their financial strain worse because everything is more expensive. You can’t rely on splitting the cost of lodging with these types of people, because they may back out of the trip.

Behavior patterns and rocky relationships.

caribbean carnival group travel
Photo credit: The Toronto Star.

Secondly, think about how this potential will partner in public or in private with you. In other words, what is their history with you? Caribbean carnival is all about joy, happiness and is a stress-free, non-judgmental environment. But if your potential crew member consistently gets into confrontations or puts you in complex situations, this person will do it again at Carnival. Life tip: If you have a friend who has done unsavory things to others, they’re likely to do it to you.  Carnival is not the place you want to do this to you. For example, I know of a lady who had been friends with someone for numerous years who knew she had a pattern of stealing. They went on a trip anyway, and the girl stole her costume and wore it on the road after they got into an argument.

I would like you to think about the stability of your relationships when choosing partners for group travel. We all have been in these situations where we’ve had this off-and-on friendship with people that we would not walk away from. The cycle is festering issues, tolerance, blow-ups, and make-ups.   Rinse, recycle and repeat.  Although carnival is a healing experience, it will likely not heal your crappy relationships.  If you don’t want to deal with conflicts on your trip, leave them home.

Traveling in a group with heavy drinkers.

Caribbean Carnival group travel photo
Photo Credit: The Guardian.

In most carnival experiences, alcohol flows freely.  Be wary of a road partner who does not drink responsibly. Imagine struggling to get your drunk road partner home while in full costume carrying them and their feather backpack looking for an Uber.  I want no parts of it.  If you have a potential road partner known for not being able to temper their consumption, you might not want to bring them.

It’s essential to choose road partners that can match your energy levels or set expectations beforehand. I am an introvert, and by the time I cross the stage, I am spent and ready to return to my hotel. Many people are prepared to continue their fete for a while. I am not saying NOT bring someone that can’t match your energy.   Be prepared to either accommodate various energy levels or have a plan in place when one or the other wants to pump longer or turn in for the day.

 

Traveling in groups is a lot of fun, and everyone loves the classic carnival crew photo.  But it’s important to choose those with whom you will share your space and financial responsibilities.  I hope this helps you find this blog super helpful.  If you or you know someone who would like to travel solo, check out my post here.

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Caribbean carnival platforms to follow

By Posted on 4min read79 views

AWM’s platform is going on its fourth year in 2022! But guess what?

  • There are many people that’s been doing this way longer than I.
  • I don’t know it all.
  • There’s a good chance I haven’t gone to your carnival of interest.
  • I’m NOT the biggest fete person.

This platform is based on my experiences and perspectives of Caribbean Carnival as an African American.  I WANT YOU to check out the other content creators! Especially those of West-Indian descent.  Check below for a list of notable content creators and platforms you should follow/use to learn about Caribbean culture and experience Caribbean carnival from different lenses.

Caribbean Carnival content creators

Crista aka Bahamianista. Photo Credit Bahamainista.com

Tingz Nice

In my eyes, Sha is the OG Carnival mentor.  I remember watching her YouTube videos as I got ready for my first carnival experience.  Her YouTube videos about Carnival still ring relevant! She runs a podcast, and I’ve purchased several pairs of her earrings.

Blackie97

The go-to for all things soca music.  He will keep you abreast of all the latest releases, so you are prepared to revel in the familiarity of the tunes. Blackie also covers the goings-on at fetes and has excellent content about fete etiquette.  If you want to learn how to gracefully solicit a w(h)ine without getting curved, this is the guy to watch.

Bahamianista

Crista is a lifestyle, fitness, and travel influencer who has probably done most Caribbean Carnival events.  She was my go-to source for Carnival events I was unfamiliar with.  Many tips I have shared have been learned from her. 

OHG Choice

Also known as OHGVibe on YouTube, he is known for covering Carnival’s good, bad, and ugly.  He has pivoted into a skincare niche, but as outside opens up, I expect him to produce amazing content, especially for St. Lucia Carnival 2022 with Xuvo.

Carnivalbae

Headed to Caribana this year? Carnivalbae is carnival influencer and freelance model, she posts weekly tips to get you prepared.  Check her out.

More Caribbean Carnival creators...

Caribbean Carnival content creator
Simone aka everytingsimsimma. Photo: Travel Noire

EverytingSimSimma

I love Simone and her food porn. Also represents our curvy girls that play mas and has been featured on Travel Noire! Simone is super talented with photography and evokes serious envy with her footage of drone flights over St. Kitts.

Fluffy Carnival Gyal

I love her because she openly takes on difficult topics as it pertains to Caribbean Carnival and culture.  Also gives a plus-size masquerader perspective.

Strictly Soca

Runs an entertainment website dedicated to all things Soca and Caribbean carnival. I also love that they capture about Carnival highlights ALL body types.

Mickisha 868

I love her most for her makeup tips and ideas! She has a wide variety of content shared on her YouTube channel, including skin care, natural hair care, travel and more. She does a lot of Carnival makeup tips and looks, and also covers all things carnival.

Carnival forums, directories, and apps

CarniPass

CarniPass was also known as Feters Lifestyle but has since pivoted into a Social Networking Platform and Carnival Guide.  Be sure to head over to their website and download their app while you’re at it.

SoloMas App

It’s true that when you play mas, you will never be alone. Solo masquerader? Looking for a travel/fete buddy? Check out the SoloMas App.

My Carnival Match

Your Caribbean carnival directory! Search for carnival-related services (hair and makeup, etc), and they even have a forum where you can chat it up with others in the Carnival community.  Need to buy or sell fete tickets or a costume? They got you covered.

Initiatives

Know Your Caribbean

I just love this page.  Fiona has expanded my mind in unimaginable ways and has encouraged me to do a lot of my own research.  Learning about Caribbean culture and the roots of Carnival will also help you deeply connect to the experience and perhaps make you love it as much as I do.

CarniCycle

Caribbean Carnival is an incredible experience, but it is not sustainable at all.  CarniCycle is working hard to reduce the carbon footprint of carnival and make it greener overall. Follow them, learn some green tips, and show support!

This list was in no particular order of importance, and will be refined as I discover other amazing creators and initiatives that resonate with the message of AWM’s mission statement.

. This platform aims to function as a branch of a tree, bringing you to Caribbean content creators to expand your mind and encourage you to get out there and play mas from an educated point of view. Besides, I can’t do this alone! I hope this list was helpful to you.  Be sure to share with others!

If there is someone I overlooked, please hit the comments below!

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Jamaica Carnival 2022: “Tough Luck.”

By Posted on 3min read57 views

Jamaica Carnival will take place July 10th this year and was announced with advanced notice of 103 days.  Check out my previous blog if you aren’t sure why this is such a big issue.

Before the announcement, there was open dissonance about when Carnival in Jamaica should happen.  The band leaders of Xodus and Bacchanal JA were full-court press to shoot for a July date.  Meanwhile, Xaymaca International advised it would be best to wait much later (possibly October). 

Jamaica Carnival in July benefits...Jamaica.

Carnival in Jamaica Xodus
Oh yes, this is definitely a life-long memory. But when are you going to turn your comments back on?

July 10th date for Jamaica Carnival 2022 is problematic to masqueraders for two main reasons:

  • Masqueraders get an advance notice just shy of three months amid the Russia/Ukraine conflict and seriously inflated gas prices. In other words, plane ticket prices are insanely high, and many (myself included) have already committed to other events. To clarify, there is little-to-no time to prepare for overseas travel.  Is it fair to cancel my St Lucia plans after paying for my accommodations and costume in full? 
  • July is one of the busiest carnival months and will be held despite other scheduled Carnival events: St. Vincent, Cayman Islands, and Saint Lucia. Hosting the carnival event potentially pulls revenue opportunities from those sister Island countries who also felt the impact of COVID-19, but waited in turn with more time to prepare.

One might ask: Why are they in such a rush?  While I can’t speak for the people who have made this decision, I would postulate that the revenue is needed.  In other words: Their pockets are light, and their bellies are empty. COVID-19 has crippled the tourism and entertainment industry for more than two years, so people are eager to have their events at the expense of thousands of masqueraders.

 

What the bands are doing...so far.

Jamaica Carnival Xodus Customer Service
It was an "us" problem until outside opened. Now it's all on "you" as a patron.

Bacchanal JA has not made a statement on how or if they will support those who cannot (or don’t want to) attend.  As for Xodus, I received a screenshot stating they will not honor refund requests nor roll over anyone’s money to the following year.  Due to the nature of the situation, the likelihood of most people selling their costumes successfully is low.  To make things worse, expect a 5% restocking fee if you can sell it. Honestly, I think they can’t wait to resell those costumes themselves to fatten their pockets.

Jamaica Carnival

"Hey masquerader, take this 'L' for us."

My personal experience with Xodus left a lot to be desired.

Even if I could make Jamaica Carnival, I wouldn’t want to jump with them at all.  I cannot get over the betrayal.

The debacle with Xodus is especially hurtful to the masqueraders who put faith in the team. For example, consumers were asked for flexibility for two years. Nevertheless, that flexibility won’t be reciprocated.

From what I can see, Xaymaca is moving honorably.  Recognizing the strain on their masqueraders and the potential impact on the sister countries, they put out a statement that they will be sitting this year out.  They have not stated what they intend to do with masqueraders requesting refunds.

In conclusion, the drama with Jamaica Carnival 2022 has left a bitter taste in my mouth. What’s the most disturbing about this whole ordeal is that Xodus has demonstrated they are willing to chess-piece their patrons into eating the risk of their business.   While I won’t be attending this year, I feel so slighted by this whole situation that I wonder if I’ll ever consider going to Jamaica Carnival.  But if I do, you’re going to see with me with Xaymaca hands down.

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South Carolina Carnival

By Posted on 3min read69 views

I had no idea there was a Caribbean carnival in South Carolina until I moved back into the area.  Lucky for me, the South Carolina Carnival (SCC) takes place just a few blocks from me in downtown Columbia.  All you need to know about South Carolina Caribbean Carnival includes dates, where to stay, events, buying tickets, and participating in the parade with Karikolorz Mas or Pandemonium Mas.

All about South Carolina Carnival

south carolina carnival block party
Caribbean culture took over Main Street in 2019. Photo: South Carolina Carnival

South Carolina Carnival consists of five events from June 10 – 12, 2022, in Columbia, SC (the state capitol).  Downtown Columbia can be described as a beautiful balance between hustle and southern charm. 

South Carolina Carnival’s events include:

  • J’ouvert ( June 10th) – Venue TBA
  • Carnival Parade (June 11th) – Downtown Columbia, SC
  • Block Party (June 11th) – Main Street, Columbia, SC
  • Soca is Life (June 12th) – Venue TBA
  • Punch’D (June 12th) – Robert Mills House and Gardens

Play Mas at South Carolina Carnival

South Carolina Carnival Parade
Photo Credit: CLTV.

You can’t have a carnival without a carnival parade! This year, the SCC will host two bands: Karikolorz Mas and Pandemonium Mas.

The carnival parade will take place on June 11th in downtown Columbia, leading to Main Street’s block party. There will be live entertainment, food, and other vendors.

2022 Carnival parade Route
2022 South Carolina Carnival Parade Route

Getting to South Carolina

If traveling by air, you can fly directly into CAE, a 10-15 minute drive to Columbia, SC.  It is by no means an international airport, and you may find the prices to be a bit higher.  Alternatively, many people will fly into Charlotte International Airport (CLT) and take a 90-minute drive to South Carolina. I use Columbia Charlotte Shuttle Service frequently when I don’t feel like enduring that drive to and from the airport.  Many people overlook Augusta (AGS) airport, a 45-minute ride to Columbia, SC.  

To get around, ride-share apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Taxis are available to you.  Also, look into the Comet Bus system and Soda Cap Connector to ride around the area for as low as $2.

Where to stay for Carnival

Since most festivities take place downtown, I highly recommend staying in that area.  West Columbia is literally on the other side of a bridge, and you may find cheaper accommodations.  Feel free to use the booking.com widget below!

Booking.com

Tourist Activities

Columbia, SC sits on the banks of the Congaree River and its surrounding areas are filled with lush greenery, tranquil countryside and the Congaree National Park. Columbia is an intriguing and lively city filled with history dating back to 1805.  I love taking walks on the Three Rivers Greenway Trail.

There are several attractions worth visiting, including the South Carolina State House, which was once home to America’s Supreme Court, as well as the Columbia Museum of Art.

South Carolina carnival is only a few steps from me, and I can’t wait to indulge in this local experience! Hope to see you there!

But before that, you will see me at Atlanta Dekalb Carnival.  For more information, click here.

 

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Should I pre-register for carnival?

By Posted on 2min read60 views

If you are participating in the carnival for the very first time, you might be confused when you hear about pre-registration. You are already on FOMO mode and you might be wondering if this is something you should do too. Is it a good option to pre-register for carnival for you? But pump your brakes, there are some things to consider.

What is pre-registration?

Pre-registration allows you to put down a deposit for a future costume (that has not been seen yet).  This puts you “ahead” of other masqueraders that do not pre-gegister. 

Typically, the pre-registration deposit in the United States is about $100.  

Once a band launches, those that have pre-registered are able to choose their costumes before registration opens publicly.  This guarantees you your choice and options before everyone else.

Who should pre-register for carnival?

Pre-registration flyer for carnival
Pre-registration annoucement for an Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival mas band

Pre-registration really benefits those who know in their hearts of hearts they will be participating with a specific band or section leader. They have probably played mas with them once before, or over a span of several years.  They could care less about the other bands or designs; they are LOYAL to that brand.  Simply put: Pre-registration really supports the experienced carnival-goer.

Also, if you are going with a person or group of people to carnival that is already set on that band, it may also benefit you to pre-register as well.  Popular bands sell-out very quickly and you’d hate to be left with slim choices when registration opens.

Why you shouldn't pregister for carnival.

If you are not sure what band you are going to want to register with, I advise you to hold onto your money until the band launches occur, or you have made a solid decision.  If you pre-register and change your mind, your funds are forfeit.  To help, start researching the carnival bands early before you observe the band launches so your list is narrowed and you are not so overwhelmed by a decision.

Have fun picking out your carnival costumes!

Band launch season is super exciting! I hope this little bit of information helps demystify any confusion about pre-registration for carnival.  Don’t forget the carnival experience is more important than any band, and don’t forget that you ARE the vibe that helps make a mas band great.

Thinking of going to Atalnta-Dekalb carnival?  Check out the bands here.

See you on the road,

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Atlanta Carnival? Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival? Confused? Let me help.

By Posted on 5min read59 views

There are two Atlanta carnivals happening. I’m here to help you with some information that will help you make your choice for 2022.  (Updated MARCH 10, 2022)

  • Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival route has significant changes. 
  • Intel on a longer parade route.

I’ve been sitting on my hands, waiting on things to be official for 2022 before I would even brush on this.  But news flash: There are two “Atlanta” carnival parades happening on the same date. Why? I won’t get into all that, but this is what you need to know.

Both Atlanta and Atlanta-Dekalb carnivals will take place Saturday, May 28th in different locations.  In the past, many people have gone to the wrong event they intended to seek, so it’s important to me to make you aware.

Two separate "Atlanta" Carnivals.

Atlanta Carnival

atlanta caribbean carnival parade route
Parade route from 2019.
Atlanta carnival 2022 Band launch flyer
Atlanta Carnival Band Launch will be February 5, 2022.

The ACCBA has announced all their bands will launch on February 5, 2022. 

To purchase tickets to cooler fete/band lanch,  click here.

Run by the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Bandleader’s Association (ACCBA), the “downtown” Atlanta carnival is considered the “original” carnival that takes to the streets in downtown Atlanta.  Since a split around 2014-2015, the “downtown” Atlanta carnival has been on a smaller scale, but also has great vibes. I have been advised to expect MUCH more from the ACCBA this year. You can find out more here. The website is still updating information about the participating Mas Bads and Parade Route, so stay tuned. The links below are to their Facebook and Instagram pages.  You can also find their Facebook group here.

A representative of the ACCBA has advised me that the parade route will be the same as 2019’s route.  However, a little bird told me it is intended to have a longer parade route this year.

Atlanta-Dekalb carnival used to be a four-hour parade route. 

 

Downtown Atlanta Carnival Bands

Listing of the downtown Atlanta carnival bands are listed here and have been verified as current as of 11/19 by an ACCBA representative.  Most of these bands do not have instagram pages or websites listed.

Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival

Atlanta Dekalb Carnival Parade Route
This is the new parade route as of March 11, 2022.

The Atlanta Carnival Bandleader’s Council (ACBC) developed the Atlanta-Dekalb carnival after the split with the ACCBA.  Since then, Atlanta-Dekalb has been the most significant carnival, backed with more mas bands than the downtown event.  You can find out more at: https://atlantadekalbcarnival.org/. 

The parade will take place on a new (but old) parade route on Convington Parkway in Decatur, GA.  It will start at Covington Parkway near Paul Edwin Drive, leading into the Festival village at 4380 Memorial Drive.

The old parade route was about four hours long.  On the other hand, the new parade route will be longer, giving masqueraders more time to enjoy themselves.

Atlanta-Dekalb bands.

Participating bands and launch dates come directly from ACBC.

We Kinda Ting Flyer

Launch date: December 12, 2021 (Virtually)

We Kinda Ting Mas has announced their theme for Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival with NinjaFete and Vaval Weekend as partners. Fonrose, Krave, Experience Nyrvana, David Dewer, and Mirage Mas are identified as section partners.  Still clarifying what that means to each,  It has been confirmed by reputable sources that Krave and Mirage will be private sections.  More to follow on the other section partners.

Note: WKT will close pre-registration on 6 December.

Band Launch January 7, 2022 (Launching Virtually).

Sokah Fetters mas Band Logo

Band Launch January 8, 2022, open for pre-registration.

Poison Mas

Band Launch January 9, 2022, open for pre-registration.

There have been hints on social media of a collaboration with Panache. More to follow.

inferno

Band Launch January 16, 2022.

Feters Army Mas Logo

Band Launch January 15, 2022

Sesame Atlanta Carnival Logo

Band Launch January 29, 2022

 

Band Launch January 22, 2022.

 

Reggaematic Mas has been listed by the ACBC as a band participating in Atlanta-Dekalb this year.  This band prides itself on playing music from all over the diaspora– Soca, Zouk, Afrobeats, and Dancehall.  No further information has been announced yet.

Feters Army Mas Logo

Band Launch January 15, 2022

Sesame Atlanta Carnival Logo

Band Launch January 29, 2022

 

TNT Garage Boys Flyer

TnT Garage Boys has a Band Launch February 5, 2022.

Image pending for Entice Mas.  Band Launch February 12, 2022.

 

Madd Colors has a band launch date of 2/19/2022.

We Live Carnival Flyer

Band Launch February 20, 2022.

Band Launch February 26, 2022

Band Launch January 23, 2022.

 

Mas with Panache Logo

Bamd Launch January 30, 2022.

Band Launch March 5, 2022. Vibez and Vision is open for pre-registration.

Band Launch January 19, 2022 (Launching Virtually).

Unity Mas Band

Band Launch March 12, 2022

Panyarder’s Mas Band Launch March 19, 2022. (Image Pending)

The VI all stars majorettes has been on the road in Atlanta for 16 years. They are a specialty group of majorettes, which is a huge staple of VI carnival since 1952. Children will learn history, teamwork and all about participating as a majorette in Carnival. This is for children ages 4-17.  They have had parents, so if you are interested as adult, feel free to contact.  If you want to register your child as a majorette, please shoot a DM or you can email Nicole Roebuck Warner at: nicoleroebuck34@gmail.com.  Registration will close early January 2022.

Don't ask me which to attend...

Well, you must know, I will not tell you all that, but I will continue to keep you abreast of the developments and information for both carnivals. The websites are in the process of updating, so it is not officially announced which band will turn up where (but if you’ve played Mas there, you’ll know).  Classically, band launches can start as early as December, all the way through March of next year.  A lot of bands had launched their costumes before 2020 was cancelled.  Likewise, let’s not forget that COVID-19 still has an impact on public events, so I anticipate there might be some differences.

Either way, I have attended both and can make recommendations whichever event you choose!  Would you believe I started playing Mas in Atlanta-Dekalb??  And so, It has a special place in my heart ❤️.  Either way, I will keep you guys in the know so you can make informed decisions.

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The Carnival Glam Hub Experience

By Posted on 4min read85 views

Stick to what you know.

When it comes to Carnival, this was a lesson I learned early on. From mas bands to other services: Once you do me right, I am yours forever.  Carnival glam hub (CGH) was no different. Trinidad was a whole experience: makeup, hair, breakfast, changing rooms, costume/bag storage, and even seamstresses on site to modify or repair your costume as needed. Even help you get your costume on. And let’s not forget the photography service! Everything I could possibly need to get ready for the road and capture the moment was there. It was so well organized that CGH left a solid impression.

Note: There is an affiliate link on this page! I love promoting products and services that I love.  Thank you so much for your support! 

I was so happy with CGH that I registered with them once again for Jamaica 2020.  Of course, we all know how that went.  When Jamaica was initially cancelled, I rolled my funds over with optimism although CGH offered refunds. But we really didn’t know better at the time, did we?  After two more cancellations after that CGH fell a little quiet.  Something told me however that as a customer I was still in good hands.  

When Miami was announced, I sat on bated breath wondering if CGH would be there.  Eventually, CGH made it official and I immediately contacted them via email to discuss if I could roll over my deposits from the Jamaica event, and they locked me in for an early appointment with those deposits.  I was able to jump on Eventbrite and pay the remaining balance.  They offered Makeup, Makeup and Photo Shoot, and Full Glam package which included Hair, makeup and breakfast.  While Trinidad had way more options, I totally expected for their service to be on a smaller scale.  

They just don't disappoint.

CGH was postured at the Nuvo Suites, a short 10 minute drive from the Miami Carnival grounds.  They started their makeup appointments as early as 3am that day.  The hotel was super-cute was the lobby was dressed with lush green backdrops that actually made a perfect spot for me to do an inpromtu live before I hit the road.  They advised us to arrive already in our body wear, and I believe that reduced the congestion in the lobby and the bathrooms significantly. I was greeted with a spot to hang my backpack and within minutes I was whisked to a room to get my makeup done.  No waiting, no delays. Seriously, my appointment was at 8 am, and I was in the seat and getting primed at 8:03.  Admittedly with my short height I struggled to get myself in her chair, but shortly after getting my cheeks in the seat, I was offered a mimosa while my makeup artist started.  Soca music was playing and to my left and right was a sea of eager and happy faces. Sista girl behind me was getting her hair curled. Admittedly it was a bit tighter room to maneuver  but it was nothing that caused me any type of internal distress.  I showed Mari my costume and she generated an absolutely stunning look.  Shortly after I finished my mimosa, I was offered another.  Sparking random conversations with ladies to my left and right, and getting makeup tips from the kind MUA, I overall had a LOT of fun with my experience.

Getting dressed.

The bathrooms available to us was easily overcrowed.  It did however have a large open area with three private toilets and two very large mirrors.  Ladies were busting out glue guns and helping eachother tie on thigh and arm pieces. Compliments flowing left and right.  I found myself helping someone with feathers that were loose and making some recommendations on tying a wire backpack and bra.  While a crowded bathroom would usually induce stress, the relaxed atmosphere and happy customers that CGH had created made everything easygoing and lighthearted.

Photoshoot, Pose...

I met up with Aryanna Fortune by the pool and we went to snapping some photos.  I was a bit nervous about the lighting as the miami sun was rather violent, even at 9:30 am.  She promised one week turn-around.  I actually got a link to review proofs from her website not four days later.  IT WAS I WHO DELAYED HER DELIVERY because I couldn’t make up my damn mind.  Two photos were included in the package and each additional was $10.  It took me almost a week to finally decide. But when I did,  she had my photos the following day.  She even threw in an extra because it was her favorite. After everything was set, I hopped on live for a bit and made my way to the Miami Carnival grounds.

Consider Carnival Glam Hub for your next Carnival experience.

Once again, CGH did not disappoint.  Services were rendered in a speedy, organized and professional manner, and I received my photos rather quickly. Considering they were up and running at 3am, I was impressed with their efficiency and energetic atmosphere. The mimosas and vibes was a bonus as well.   With the quality of the photos and how well my makeup was done, I would definitely say it was worth every penny.

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Going to Caribbean Carnival as a Couple

By Posted on 5min read66 views

Even couples go to a Caribbean carnival together. Check out these couples that talk about how they navigate the carnival experience together.

Setting expectations and the spirit of Carnival.

The w(h)ine: a dance stemming from ancestral fertility dance that you will commonly see at Caribbean carnival and fetes. The energy of the festivities can be viewed as (overly) sexual if you have not researched, or you are outside a West Indian upbringing. 

The spirit of carnival is freedom of expression, joy, and sharing the experience.  And while many people would agree, people still have boundaries that should be honored. And make no mistake, there are people OF the culture that have their own limits and take on these festivities with rules of engagement (ROE).   And if you are in a relationship with someone you are taking with you to carnival, it is key to have a mutual discussion beforehand. 

Communication is key.

In my relationship, Im a huge communicator and I am big on setting mutable boundaries, even at Carnival.  When I approached him on the subject, he was actually very shocked at my line of questioning . But he kept very simple: “No jealousy stuff.”  Okay, well what does that mean?  How long do you dance with someone? Is there anything that is off limits? (Juking, getting picked up, wheel-barrowing, etc).  And after many questions, we both realized that there are some things we should actually discuss before setting out to Carnival.  I was genuinely glad that we had that discussion before hand!

Questions to ask...

Below is a list of questions developed from a conversation I had with my significant other about going to carnival together.   If you are seasoned feteran you may find this not necessary for you, or discover that you indeed have some things to share with your partner.  And if you and/or your significant other is new to fetes, this may be helpful to you too.

  1. What would make you uncomfortable if I danced with someone else?
  2. What do you feel would not be appropriate for us to do with other people?
  3. What would make you feel uncomfortable about being touched by another person?
  4. How will we communicate with each other if one of us becomes uncomfortable?

Couples that go to Caribbean Carnival together

couple at caribbean carnival fete
Couple at Caribbean Carnival

About 1 1/2 years into the relationship and there was never any rules set or discussed, we met in party/fetting mode and it was some type of unspoken agreement that dancing with others is ok, fun, and part of the scene. I speak for myself when I say I'm not the jealous nor possessive type of partner, where I as well would like to wine up on male or female and at the end of the day we accomplish the purpose of the outing, which is to have fun and be free!!!

couple at caribbean carnival jouvert
Couple at Caribbean Carnival

Ok so to be honest, we’re here struggling to find an answer lol. We’ve been together for over 10yrs and we partied together all those years and never discussed “rules”. There was always some sort of common understanding/respect for each other. For example you won’t see my husband stabbing out someone on the ground 🥴 He was never that type of feter, so I never had to say “hey please don’t do xyz at fetes”. And the same goes for me, we take our lil whine and move on, nothing dramatic or over-sexual. Apart from the whining part, we generally stay near each other. We usually pick a truck/ section of the fete to go to in case we get separated. If we go with a group then sometimes we may be apart for a while.

couple at caribbean carnival fete
Couple at Caribbean Carnival

We actually don't have any specific rules (that we have ever had to discuss). We have been together for more than 10 years now and discovered our love for Soca and Carnival together. I think general rules of courtesy apply at Carnival as they would elsewhere. But in terms of dancing with others, etc. no rules and I wouldn't think they would make sense either. Because Carnival is about freeing up and celebrating not thinking about rules. If a person and their partner are truly for each other and in tune nobody will do stuff that will offend the other naturally.

couple at caribbean carnival jouvert
Couple at Caribbean Carnival

I wouldn't so much call it rules per say but more of a respect of each other's cultural beliefs and comfort levels. I will not allow any man to dance on me out of respect to my husband and he does the same when it comes to women wanting to dance. We both tend to have jealous tendencies and hot tempers and respect that in each other. With that being said in 15 years you can't always stop an unprovoked wine and those are always handled with a step to the side and the other person not getting upset as we both know that this is the norm for fete and mas culture ❤ Also there is always little joke wines with very close friends. But we go to all fetes together, and prefer this as we actually feel off when not with each other at events. When it comes to mas though, if local I play mas without him, if international he joins me.

Couple at caribbean carnival fete
Couple at Caribbean Carnival

So when we talked about it, our only rules for feting together was, I can't get picked up or be on the ground with someone, and he can’t pick anyone up and be on the ground with someone but we have been feting together pretty much our whole relationship and we’ve come to understand you need a bit more discernment than that. There are unspoken respectful rules we abide by that I think don’t require us to communicate, we just do them. Like I’m not about to get daggered or do anything that causes me a lot of attention while he’s right there and vice versa. We’re both all over the place sometimes, but always have an idea of what area the other person is in. Sometimes we only dance together, and that’s fine too but we both know we have the freedom to wine up on anyone in the place.

Forward thinking.

Communication and respect is key. If you are new to the Carnival/fete scene and you are brininging a significant other with you, its imperative to establish clear lines of communication.  Understand you are not going to know what you don’t know.  Sometimes you wont even know you have a boundary until you are met with a challenge. I encourage all couples to be open minded, patient and understanding when it comes to charting unfamiliar territory.  I hope that this discussion broadens your perspective, and maybe even encourages a discussion that you didn’t think you might need.  Don’t forget the overall premise of the festivities is freedom and joy! Most importantly, have fun.

 

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Discussing Carnival with Friends and Family

By Posted on 5min read68 views

The fun side.

After a few years of playing mas, I found myself visiting my dad and his wife at home in Harlem, NY.  Because the Army has loved stationing me no-where-near my hometown, I only go home maybe once or twice a year.  I remember sitting on my dad’s couch petting his dogs and catching up on what I had been up to since we last physically saw each other.  Somehow, I ended up discussing carnival.  My dad’s wife had seen the photos of me on social media and initially had some reservations going into a full blown discussion because she was HEAVY into the church, and anything not related to the Lord was “worldy”.  I initially imagined her telling me that I needed to give up the feathers, and come to church with her.  But I braved the discussion anyway about Carnival, what it meant to me, its cultural significance and was shocked to find her very supportive.  She even mentioned that maybe one day she would get in costume and join me on the road.

My best friend is a strait-laced Catholic.  Seriously, I do not understand how we ended up as best friends. But in natural best friend fashion, she loved to see me happy and admired the photos and videos of my joy.  Watching me closely as a best friend should, she found herself in awe of my confidence on the road even as my weight fluctuated with the life changes. My bestie is also Brazilian, and very much in tune with the African-influence of her culture.  She felt inspired and wanted to know what it was like to feel that free.  Last year, she registered to play mas with me for the very first time at Atlanta-Dekalb…but of course, COVID-19 had something to say about that.  She is still desiring to experience that infectious joy and hopes to be able to get on the road with me in the future.  I can’t wait to see her in costume.

A High-Five in the Face.

Dating a non-masquerader was touched on in a previous blog, so hit the hyperlink if you’d like to learn about my experience there.

I remember shortly after either my first or second jump in Atlanta-Dekalb carnival, I got a phone call from my sister.  She was clearly pressed and I asked her wha had happened.  A family member on our father’s side had seen our photos on social media.  He was so upset by what he saw that he had to call my own father to tell him that we were “parading half naked in the streets” and that we needed a talking to; a check on our morals if you will.  At that time, I had not completely done my research on the culture and frankly had no rebuttal about what I had heard other than its part of a culture. Im a grown ass woman and I’ll do as I please.  Luckily, said family member never fixed his fingers to dial my number, and my dad is just happy that I am doing well in life, and could care less as long as I was safe, sane and happy.

Sometime after a deployment, another family member visited me to help me put my home together.  We spent approximately one full week together catching up on life and getting my affairs in order.  I told him about Carnival and he found himself excited all the WRONG REASONS. Showing him photos from carnival provided a different type of reference that was not intended.  For him, Carnival was something purely sexual, and an opportunity to objectify women.  Although I had educated him on its significance, his mind was fixated on sexualizing masqueraders and I was not going to have any of it.  My invitation to share this experience with him was immediately rescinded.

An Educated Advocate.

Over the years, I have engaged many perspectives and have handled them in unique ways.

Having been an uneducated masquerader myself, I genuinely see both sides of the coin. Over the years, my defensiveness with snide remarks and misunderstandings has waned and I have chosen an approach that would welcome conversation.  Rebuttals with frustration or irritation would only permit someone outside the experience to stay fixated in their sentiment.

At this point, I have come to listen quietly and ask them questions such as, “what makes you feel that way?”  Immediately, most people are thrown off guard my approach but find themselves in the hot set to answer, and they do.  Their responses such as “because it’s just not appropriate” or “I could never do that” or “ its just unprofessional” or “I think its just_____” is responded to with a place of understanding. I bridge the gap by telling them that I see how they might view it that way, followed by “but did you know_____?”  Most often, they hadn’t.  

                                       “It’s just the culture” is never going to be an adequate response.

I remember when I started on this journey of learning asking many people in groups about certain aspects of Carnival.  The response “its just our culture” always left me feeling empty and slightly confused.  Imagine how someone else on the outside might be?

Understanding a little more about Caribbean culture and Carnival not only helps you tap into the significance of what could be an cathartic experience, but it also helps you engage in discussions with the people that you care about — friends, lovers, or family.  

Minds Can(t) be Changed.

For sake of my personal peace, I prefer to be very open about my life as a masquerader.  I understand how some may feel differently because I too was once in your shoes, and had the same reasons for not discussing my participation.  Discussing the masquerader life with someone not of the culture,  or who has not experienced it can be very daunting and at times, UNCOMFORTABLE.  I have found that coming from an educated frame of reference not only boosted my confidence in discussions, but it also made people feel a bit more comfortable, and encourages the open-mindedness that you want.

Just know that there are some minds that can’t be changed– your friends, your family, or your lover.  Only you can determine how you wish to navigate your life with these people.  Whether you choose to remain quiet about your experience or discuss mas freely, all I care about is what is genuinely best for you.

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