Monday, 12 September 2016

Khaled and Di Caribbean

Before reading this post, please watch the music video below if you have not already done so.

DJ Khaled - "Nas Album Done" ft. Nas

if the video link is not visible, please click here:

This Friday DJ Khaled released a music video for pioneer rapper Nas and one cannot help but notice the heavy influence of Caribbean elements.

First, if you do not know who DJ Khaled is then you probably have not turned on your T.V. Radio, or Laptop in months… and you DEFINITELY are not a snap chat user.

DJ Khaled is a producer, radio personality, DJ and record label executive. He is currently most popular for elevating his career from music man to a global entrepreneur and “internet phenomenon”.

The music video stars the one and only Louie Ox a Jamaican actor best known for his role in Belly and Shottas.  Louie’s contagious voice even had Khaled trying to speak a likkle patois too.

My thoughts on the Caribbean influences in the video, well at first, I was super excited because:
  • The video fused three of my fave genres (Dancehall, Hip Hop & Soca)
  • it added a hint of Carnival Spice
  • twas shot in the beautiful island of Bahamas
  • and it opened up these artists to a whole new audience (ie. it has reached almost 3 million views on YouTube in 3 days)
  • Plus, I enjoyed seeing Khaled dancin' up and embracing the vibes - he always has a great spirit and positive attitude.

HOWEVER, I am super bothered that the video was posted online to Khaled and Nas’s millions of followers without crediting the Caribbean artists that were essentially being USED to make the music video more dynamic!

It kinda seems like that is the thing to do these in the music industry considering the surge of dancehall and soca music being fused by various pop and hip hop artists.

For example: Popcaan was used on the promotional release of “Controlla” by Drake but then that version of the track WAS NOT released on Drake’s “Views" album???

It is cool that these Caribbean artists are being put on display, but I would appreciate it if they were credited! Zero credits equal lots of misinformation or questions - see photo below taken from YouTube comments!!

So for awareness sake, in the video:

the opening song is “Progress” by Dancehall artist Movado of Jamaica

closing song is “Vagabond” by Soca artist Ricardo Drue of Antigua and Barbuda

Lastly the island where the video was filmed is Bahamas hence the the Carnival dancers performing in the video were wearing costumes inspired by Bahamian Junkanoo Carnival.


At the end of the day, I am sure Khaled accomplished what he set out to do: create a buzz, start trending, and sell records. However, this topic weighed heavy on my chest so I had to say something. What are your thoughts? Do you have another perspective? Do you even care? Was Khaled unreasonable? Should it only matter how much was on the cheques (if these artist’s were even paid)?


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Friday, 2 September 2016

Toronto Carnival (Caribana) 2016: RECAP

September is now upon us and the Caribana dust has settled… I guess I should probably share my photos an ting before the snow comes huh? To be honest, I have attempted to blog about TO Carnival multiple times but kept going in different directions like: 

- do I celebrate “thiefin’ ah wine” off Kes? 

- should I speak up for all my peers who had issues with their costumes both on the road or on pick up day at different mas camps

- do I praise Toronto Revellers for providing an excellent road experience?

- do I vent about how messed up the logistics of the parade was ANOTHER year in a row (get it together FMC!)? 

There is so much to talk about! I will start by saying that the Toronto Caribbean Carnival that I know and love is not the same anymore and requires immediate resuscitation. Designers, masqueraders, media, spectators from near and far spend months preparing for this grand occasion only to be disappointed by how poorly the festival is being managed.

You know there is a problem when the top news story is "THE FENCES ARE COMING DOWN" ...girl bye

Nonetheless, I have fun where ever I go, so despite having the day cut short by one of my crew members (lol), I had a pretty good carnival day. My make up and costume shined bright in the sun (I successfully survived my first wire bra). As mentioned, Revellers provided a pretty impressive experience on the road with endless food and COLD beverages, good djs, live performers, and active marshals. Plus, they happened to be in the first position along the parade route which allowed for more space to move, feel free, and play my mas.

Shakera be like: "Heyyy, can I take a photo with you ladies?"
Revellers, AYAHUASCA
MAN DEMM #TheMacaw

What made this year most special though was being able to curate a carnival experience for 15 of my friends and students… many of which had never played mas before. From costume selection, to make-up/ hair/accessories, to hotel accommodations twas a hectic process…but MAN was it worth it. My heart was so full seeing them all in formation decked out in their feathers, glitz, and glam. You will be able to see a couple of them in the gallery below.


Such a pleasure jumpin' up with MPP Jagmeet Singh

Revellers - LUPUNA

Revellers - El Tunchi and KES <3

Revellers - XIPAYA and KARABANA in Fever Mas (Saldenah)


Revellers - XIPAYA


Revellers - THE MACAW

Black Lives Matter

Revellers - EL TUNCHI

SALDENAH (Very Popular Section)


CARNIVAL NATIONZ (My FAVE section on the road)



CARNIVAL NATIONZ (my second fave section on di road)

My third fave section (THAT I DIDN'T GET A PHOTO OF) was Saldenah's ASHANTI section! So gorgeous... yes I am a sucker for neons :)

Overall my score sheet is as follows:

Pre-Carnival Season 10/10

View more Sunshine Girl photos HERE
The Carnival Spice ladies had a blast this season. Between band launches, Festival Promotion, Performances & Classes, life for the last few weeks have been crazy busy but super blessed. My team and I were featured multiple times on different TV networks, we added Scarborough and Brampton to our class locations and I was selected as a Toronto “Sunshine Girl” for this year’s Carnival edition.

Costume: 8/10

The costume itself was a solid 10. It was beautiful, bright, comfortable, and VERY well made.  However it ended up costing much more than I anticipated due to miscommunication from my section leaders… And PLEASE doh ask me why model’s had to pay for costumes they modelled cause I doh have an answer for you…

Road: 6/10

Toronto Revellers proved to me why they are the “People’s Band”; my experience with them was a 10 too. A friend in my section even told me that our section leader had glue gun onsite to tack any loose gems or costume pieces (should you need it). The key to my heart is through my stomach hence why hot food (other than pelau, doubles, and sandwiches) coupled with a variety of cold beverages won me over real quick. Revellers provided breakfast, lunch, AND dinner... Plus snacks!! 

Photo By: Jef Lo
Did I mention I got to thief a wine off Kes???? Best 2 minutes of my life! hahaha! Points on this section score are lost for logistical issues that have nothing to do with the Toronto Revellers … such issues fall on the hands of the parade’s Festival Management Committee (FMC). They are the body of individuals who decide marketing, security, route organization, creative planning, social media and here’s a big one BUDGETING for the parade… I only can identify 3 members of this committee… everyone else is a mystery. Considering there aren’t any fresh ideas flowing through that committee from fresh blood, I can only anticipate the same ole’ for the festival’s big 50th birthday in 2017. Sigh… (I will try to stay optimistic ya’ll)

Overall Experience: 8/10

Di "Stage"
Caribana for another year in a row has left me wanting more. More road, more stage, more Carnival vibes. For all the time and effort that goes into that day the score should be 15/10. My little carnival heart can only remain hopeful that positive changes will come. I will continue to support it and recommend others to attend. Toronto Carnival a.k.a Caribana is a staple event within the Canadian Caribbean community because it is a means  of HIGHLIGHTING and SHOWCASING our Caribbean history, talent, and energy...  SO WE CANNOT STAND AND WATCH IT WITHER AWAY.

I do encourage you all to support the initiatives below that are actively working to improve the festival:

(petition - needs 400 more signatures!) 

My Tabanca has definitely set in which leaves me looking through flight and costume prices to attend another Carnival. 

“Carnival Tabanca”: The feeling of hurt and pain when a Caribbean carnival experience has ended often compared to the feeling of being lovesick…

I missed Nottingham Carnival by a matter of days while on vacation so that made my Tabanca EVEN WORSE. Plus NYC Carnival kicks off right now… and since I am currently sitting at my dining table I clearly will not be in attendance.


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