BussHead: The Video

I’ve been waiting for this video to be released for so many months now. I’d heard snippets from the set from the Producer, and some of the co-ordinators, and have waited with baited breath for its release and finally it’s out.

The video released on The Fader Friday.

My friend Laura at LoopTT interviewed Machel after the video came out, he told her, “The intention was to show the story of this youth acting out of anger and rage… that people were there for him to be able step in and help him channel that negative energy into something positive. That untapped raging energy could easily be used as a weapon to take someone’s life. Instead, the imagery is that two elder people stepped in and showed him that you could channel that energy into something positive so basically he became an instrument of the art which preserves the art and give the art longevity.”

I know that is something Keegan Taylor, one of the songwriters, and Rondel Benjamin feel passionately about. Keegan and Rondel are the principals that formed Bois Academy, a group that is determined to bring the indigenous martial arts of Trinidad and Tobago out of the shadows and into the light.

Rondel truly believes that our martial arts can provide a channel for the aggressive energy some of our youth have, and it through kalinda and jab jab, they can learn to harness that anger and turn it into positive energy.

Jab and Kalinda

Bois Academy has teamed up with Ronald Alfred the King of the Jab Jab to offer training in Kalinda and Jab Jab every Sunday 4pm at St. George’s Grounds in Barataria.

Check them out!

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Dancehall vs Soca

There’s a conversation that takes place in Jamaica about Dancehall versus Soca very regularly. And that conversation gets very heated around Jamaica Carnival.

It’s a hard conversation for me to listen to, because having lived in Jamaica – I studied at UWI, Mona – I hear the xenophobia in the comments. Too often when Jamaican talk about soca, there’s shade and there’s the blatant attacks. The Jamaican who likes Soca isn’t in the majority. And this upsets me, because Trinidad plays Dancehall like if it’s we ting on radio. Local DJs love to talk in pseudo-Jamaican accents on the radio, but where the music we love is getting made, they scorning Soca. And why shoudn’t they, when we don’t love it enough ourselves.

I think it’s worthy of note that Jamaicans don’t seem to be as threatened by or condescending of Rap and Hip Hop, as they are of Soca.

Having said that, I think that it is funny that if you switch the accents and location, this is a very similar to the conversations we’ve had about Dancehall. Not as heated, but I am both amused and shocked to see Soca being spoken of as though it is a threat to Dancehall. And that has me wondering if something else is at play.

I want you to look at the current affairs show All Angles. Dionne Jackson-Miller hosted a panel that included Dr. Kai Baratt, Marlon Campbell and Dr. Donna Hope. At some point, while watching it, I started to realise that the way Soca was introduced to Jamaica was completely at odds with it’s origins. And that disconnect is jarring. I find Jamaica Carnival’s positioning as an elitist festival very disturbing. Always have. While Trinidad Carnival has created the all-inclusive model that contributes to it’s increasingly upper class tone, because it’s “we ting”, our lower classes feel entitled to it in ways lower class Jamaicans do not. So while there are attempts to make Carnival “all-inclusive” with the view to exclude; the Jamettes, the Saga boys and the Bwa Men who created de ting have the real ownership of the mas, and will find a space, always.

I think that Jamaica needs to re-visit it’s relationship with Carnival. They have to find a way to make it true to them, in a positive way. And that positive has to be more than benefits it may add to it’s tourism model.

That said, I’m way more interested in Trinidad Carnival and fixing what ails us. And for me, that’s such a difficult question to answer, I guess because it’s emotional.

 

The Caribbean Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Robert Young’s band Vulgar Fraction’s presentation for 2017 is called the Caribbean Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The models were people Robert selected from the crowd. He dressed them and they began twirling. The band has a loose structure, but I was surprised by how I was warming to it. The costumes, the concept, the possibility of playing mas with the band.

The mas camp is based at Propaganda Space, 24 Erthig Road in Belmont. Check them out there or virtually via their Facebook page.

See you (maybe) on the road.

Carnival Calendars

If you are coming to Trinidad for Carnival bookmark this post because it has the dates of all the must-see, never-been-to-but-want-to, and regional Carnival events for Carnival 2017.

This first is from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.culture-carnival-calendar-2017

The Second is from the National Carnival Commission. This one is the one to bookmark for stickfighting and parades of the bands.

ncc-calendar-of-events-2017

Fetes are an important part of the festivities. Bishop’s was last Saturday and I had a ball. So keep following your Trini friends on Facebook and check the fete calendar here . See you at Army Fete

 

Brian Mac Farlane and the Controversy of Mas

His 2017 presentation, Cazabon: The Art of Living was supposed to celebrate our heritage architecture and the period when those buildings, like the members of the Magnificent 7 were built.

The problems were present from the get go. Those buildings were constructed in the 20th century. While George Brown, the architect who designed the fret work that has become the hallmark of the gingerbread houses moved to Trinidad before Cazabon died, they had little interaction. So the association is messy.

brian-madness
WTF Brian?

But what really upset some people was the section La Belle Dame and Garรงon de la Maison. The beautiful woman and the house boy. It glamourised a relationship where one of the partners, in this case the overly sexualised houseboy, wasn’t an equal partner, and probably couldn’t refuse the relationship if he wasn’t interested. Regardless of how beautiful his mistress may have been.

Earlier this week, the band leader held a Facebook live discussion where he apologised for causing offense and dropped the section.

You can read his statement in full here and his website www.Macfarlanemas.com is now live.

I had an interesting conversation with a lecturer in Carnival Studies about this controversy, Trinidad Carnival’s history and society. I also spoke to the leading expert on Cazabon about this. I’m working on that piece now, and hope to have it ready for broadcast soon.

J.Angelique and the Caribbean Business of Fashion

I’ve been scoping her brand for a bit, and this week I finally got the chance to meet Jin Forde, the designer of J.Angelique about her brand and her aesthetic.

What I was trying to get at, is her path to success. It appears that presentation is key. Her website: jangelique.com is pretty, easy to navigate and professionally done. And this is an updated version to match her latest collection Wildflower. The previous versions were equally as impressive.

As for her aesthetic. I like it, even if I think that I need to lose a few pounds before I become a customer. But more importantly, I can see the story behind her collections, and get a feel for the J.Angelique woman by viewing her collections.

The takeaway from this interview was the need to be original, but realistic in our business ventures, and the value of a professional package.

The flowered dress that you see in the video, is from her Wildflower collection. Blossom was inspired by a conversation with Ashelle Waddell, who distributes Shibue, a strapless panty. I’ll be looking out for the brave fashionistas who’ll actually wear this one out.

Tribute to Mas Master Stephen Derek

I attended the Mastering by the Mentors Awards Ceremony on Monday. I posted during the event, you can read that entry here.

I was really touched by the tributes that came pouring out for Stephen Derek. You got the sense, that far above his talent, he was a kind and decent man, and the most loving father, whose children miss him terribly.

It was touching, and inspirational. May he rest in peace.

At the Helm with K2K

One of my favourite bands to watch for Carnival has been K2K Alliance. Twins Kathy and Karen Norman bring so much artistry to their fashion meets mas band. That they both work in finance in New York and can bring out an award winning band is madness, but I am grateful for their passion for this industry.

Their presentation for 2017 is At the Helm. I spoke to them as they were preparing for their launch about their vision for their band the business of Carnival.

I got to attend the launch and I have one word, “Wow!” Visually stunning presentation. I went with a friend of mine and she said that she wished that she could create something that beautiful.

I’m one of the persons interviewed in the video below about my thoughts on their costumes.

Still can’t pick one. And you can peep their lookbook here