Jouvert Mike

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Carnival is a time we all come together in euphoric joy.  That’s all well & good – yet what truly is beautiful is the outpouring of love and support over the last week for those across the islands impacted by Hurricane Irma.  Those efforts will undoubtedly continue for months and years to come as the rebuilding efforts will be considerable.

The challenges of not knowing if our loved ones were alive & safe, watching reports/videos on social media and still sitting nervously waiting for that call, text, whatsapp message, or FB/IG DM has been agonizing for countless people.  Once those were received it was now on to seeing what we can do from afar to help everyone across the impacted sister islands.

Difficult times truly reveal people’s character & it’s been truly inspiring to see so many take action.

What follows is by no means a “full” list yet it definitely is a living, breathing, growing document with the goal to provide a number of options for people to contribute, participate, share, etc. to islands

Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival has now surpassed 15,000 people coming out to participate in celebrating Caribbean Carnival, clearly with more people playing mas that means more demand for higher caliber fetes.  Thankfully, Atlanta’s Caribbean community is ready for the challenge and raised the bar themselves.

So, Memorial Weekend is upon on and that means it's Carnival Weekend in ATLANTA!  With Machel, Bunji, Destra, Kerwin, Lyrikal, Voice, Teddyson John, Skinny Fabulous, DJ Private Ryan, DJ Stephen, Majah Hype, and so many more descending on the ATL - here's why you need to find a way to add this Soca Injection Weekend into your Carnival Calendar. 

We're here to explore the reasons why it's so vital to have Caribbean Carnival hosted in major metropolitan areas across North America ...... this is a movement - so let's take a look at what's making Atlanta the place to be the end of May every year.

When you are the birthplace of Reggae, home of Dancehall & the most recognizable international entity of the country is Bob Marley, people aren’t normally going to associate Jamaica as a hotbed for the expansion of Soca & the Carnival culture. Which is why when you say “Carnival” you don’t automatically think of Jamaica..... and that is why Jamaica Carnival has been under the radar for awhile (not anymore) & possibly the best value Carnival in the Caribbean, honestly dare I say the world..... 

Look at the bigger picture and it makes sense why JA is on a trajectory to be MASSIVE in the world of Carnival - with the size of Jamaica, population density & major infrastructure already in place to handle a massive amount of tourism at any time, the level of service is high & extremely affordable rates during Carnival season, which clearly isn’t the case for the airfare & hotel rates for many other islands come Carnival season where demand exceeds supplies and prices go through the roof.

As Soca has become more of a global phenomenon it's not just the artists creating the music that have helped impact spreading the culture, the DJ's have become a mainstay circling the globe - mixing music, serving as Soca Ambassadors & masterfully reading the pulse in fetes and elevating vibes. It's time to learn a bit more about these International Renowned DJ's by going behind de turntables.....

DJ Richie R.A.S. comes from the land of Wood & Water, the home of Reggae & Dancehall yet has walked his own path to become the premiere Soca DJ leading the way in Jamaica.  As Trinidad Carnival season is now officially over (don't worry blink your eyes and it'll be band launch season once again) we turn our attention to the next big International Carnival ....... it's time to get ready for Jamaica & the man you'll see spinning at fete after fete after fete.

People look for outlets of many kinds – alcohol, sex, drugs, music, fitness, food, relationships, religion as their remedy to what ails them…. for others it’s Carnival.

Not just Carnival, but the process/lifestyle of being a Carnival Chaser/Masquerader/Feteran has been the medicine for many people with various ailments, including me.  Carnival is our antidote. 

The full gamut of emotions is often experienced by all Carnival Junkies over the course of pre, during & post-carnival.   The difference is for many this scale is part of normal adrenaline rushes, normal highs and lows of day to day, month to month, year to year life --- and for others, it serves as our lifeline.

The stigmas of society have often caused the delay and general acceptance of so many issues – religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.  Well, there’s another that still remains a topic that almost no one wants to discuss & leaves people feeling uncomfortable seeking out help, never mind come to terms with their internal struggles – it’s the topic of................

Miami Carnival 2016 was one for the books.  Minor detail of a Category 4 Hurricane blowing through the islands & bearing down on Southern Florida through all of the plans/timing for fetes & pretty much everything out of whack.  The blessing remains for all those in the Miami area that MC Matthew veered out a bit and essentially only got heavy winds and rain for Thursday into Friday morning.  While we primarily focus on the world of Carnival, please know that this is the time to step up the effort to support the Caribbean Massiv that wasn’t as fortunate in Haiti, D.R, and the Bahamas.  Whether it’s money, supplies, time or prayers we can all do something to support our brothers & sisters in need as there has been considerable devastation (I’ll step off my soapbox & back to your regularly scheduled program).

When you hit a Carnival year after year after year either you’re of the mindset of loving to be in a specific routine, running into the same familiar faces & essentially staying in a familiar comfort zone, or if you’re like me you want to switch it up because you feel things become monotonous and prefer experiencing something new, fresh, and unknown.  This is part of the reason that while there are a few staples in my Carnival rotation I also look to swap out a few each year as I want to continue to explore, broaden my horizons & my bucket list includes hitting every Caribbean Carnival in the world.

So, this year I was determined to make this Miami Carnival my “year of the new fete” .........

So... as I was busy handling my actual “business” this week I kept getting a Huffington Post article forwarded to me via text, WhatsApp, and FB  about Soca Brainwash Miami. I received it so many times that I felt I had to just stop and read because people were all over the place on it.

My initial reaction was “people, be easy because this read far more like a personal attack than a review from a Carnival Veteran with a broad perspective/knowledge on the topic.”  Then it kind of stuck with me, when I had a chance to process it – here’s an article on a major media platform blasting away on the world of Carnival, by someone positioning themselves as well-informed......maybe even an “expert” simply because she grew up in Trinidad.  Ayana Malaika Crichlow come now, you want to rip Nicki Minaj for not representing “your TT” in another article, but you’re out here looking real suspect on your knowledge of the current Carnival World.

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Miami Carnival is almost upon us, the last lap of 2016 Carnival Season.  Miami is now squarely established as the most prominent Caribbean Carnival in North America – with Artists, DJ’s & Feters coming in from all islands and across the world.  While there’s something still to be said about needing to have a return the parade to De Road (also highlighted in Rhadi Ferguson’s previous article) Miami Carnival is all about the Fetes – it’s a JAM-PACKED schedule over the course of 5 solid days with so many fetes going head to head/overlapping for patrons.

The increased popularity/demand for Soca & fete experiences in the U.S. we’ve got more and more veteran carnival junkies getting in the mix starting their own events.  With that being said – we’re here to talk about some of the New Fetes coming on the scene for Miami Carnival 2016 as well as some of the “Improved” – as progression is an essential part of the evolution of Carnival.

Just as Carnival continues to evolve across the Caribbean & around the world – the evolution of fetes has become just as impressive.

With Soca Junkies coming from all over the globe to play mas, fetes are no longer on an epic level just during “Big Island” Carnival seasons as they’ve taken the best of what they’ve seen/experienced and expanded on them at home with a bit of local flavor mixed in.

Soca truly is becoming a global celebration of life and why wait for Carnival a reason to celebrate?

I stepped off the plain in Nassau, Bahamas........
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