Miami Carnival 2016 you were definitely good to me. You provided a fun and festive environment for my crew and I to sprinkle some Carnival Spice in the US. I am always happy to be in Miami. The atmosphere gives me the tropical feel of my native Jamaica with the modernity of Toronto. Plus, I have lots of family and work contacts there. Residents are also very fitness and nutrition focused. Simply being in the Miami environment encourages me to stay active and monitor what I eat! Oh, and Miami is where DJ Khaled lives… MAJOR key (HA!).
The beginning of the trip was super scary though. When I arrived to the Miami airport, I was greeted by a notice board that showed ALL flights expected to arrive or depart after mine were CANCELLED!?! It was like a scene from a movie. All my plans from this point forward were at risk because Hurricane Matthew was forecasted to directly hit the Miami coast!
What does one do now? First, you fill your brain with happy thoughts. Then, you say a prayer and head to your hotel to find some food. Seems easy right? Well it was not. Tropical storms hit the city so driving conditions were atrocious and all businesses were on lock down.
I ended grabbing some food in the hotel and going to sleep. Hopefully everything would blow over by time I woke up… and by the grace of God, it did. The weather was perfect for the remainder of the trip. I even caught a likkle tan.
I do want to give my condolences to all the families that were affected by Hurricane Matthew’s wrath. I cannot possibly imagine what they are going through. It was such an eerie feeling just being so close to this natural disaster at the time of it happening. Canadians, we are blessed.
By Friday morning, carnival officials gave the thumbs up that Jouvert and Carnival were to run as scheduled. Now before I could get excited, I would first need my costume in hand. This year I played with Generation X; they are one of the more popular bands in Miami. Their 2016 theme was “Erotica” - no explanation needed. My section name was Pleasure hosted by “Island Fantasy Mas”. My section leaders handled costume pick up quite smoothly considering all the Hurricane chaos and fears that were prominent around town. The costume was well made, fit well, and I was surprised to learn that it was designed by one of my fave costume designers out of Trinidad @caribeboi.
Now, let us discuss DI ROAD!
I have attended Miami Carnival a total of three times and each experience has been different because the venue continues to change. This year’s route was HUGE; so much that “security” personnel and carnival marshals had no idea where masqueraders were assembled. My band did provide a map however of course I did not bring it with me (lol). My crew and I spent almost an hour in the hot sun, sweating our make-up off, while walking back and forth looking for our band. We were misdirected by so many people. It was a shame! What made conditions worse for me was that I never ate breakfast. Due to food availability where I was staying and timing, I took a risk and decided not to eat. HORRIBLE DECISION.
I became super nauseous and later learned the food truck was serving options that I do not eat. Bruh - my hungry ass was brought to tears! If you know me, then you KNOW I LOVE my belly. I was devastated. SO for breakfast/ lunch I had a rum freeze and two doubles shells. YUH CYAN IMAGINE? Ps: Did I ever mention I hate doubles. Stomach is not a fan.
Not letting this bring me down I was determined to enjoy the rest of my day. I did not have to try too hard though since the sun was shining and the vibes were sweet. My stamina was low but my spirits were high.
Shout out to all the "Pleasure" ladies!
Waitin’ Fuh Di Stage
My section crossed the stage to a mash up of “In We Blood” by Machel Montano and “Touch The Stage” by Bunji Garlin. WE SHUT IT DOWN!
With a great performance comes casualties. Mine were:
- My fave sunglasses of all time. They fell out my hand right as I ran onto the stage; could not turn back as I feared being trampled! R.I.P.
- My iPhone screen! Great excuse for an upgrade I guess.
- My very expensive fish nets! (lawd) hoping I can fix um!
- My shellac manicure …even broke a nail (lol)
- My left knee cap - oh man! haha.
|Sign Reads: "Caribbean Americans For Hillary" #USPoli|
The road was awesome and had nice surprises such as performances from Spiffy and Marville (BAM BIM), a DJ set by Private Ryan, and a mobile bar offering cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. (Food update: I was served dinner once we finished the route! It was tasty.) The stage was definitely a highlight! In my opinion, Genx definitely earned a spot in the TOP 3 based on their performance alone. Their costumes as a collective had great design, fit the theme, and were super sexay. Plus the band attracted a whole lot of good looking’ people. Case in point below:
|GEN X: Kamasutra|
|GEN X: My Section Leader aka BAE - Miss Kimone|
|GEN X: Bondage|
|Not Gen X but SO pretty!|
|Kym E Karnival|
|Carnival Isn't The Same Without Him|
|GEN X: Pleasure|
|GEN X: Desire|
|GEN X: Leather & Lace|
|GEN X: Pleasure|
But in the end there can only be one winner.
Congratulations to the Band of the Year finalists:
1st - One Island Band
2nd - Generation X
3rd - Mascot International
Why would someone (ie. a Torontonian) want to attend Miami Carnival?
(1) They have a real JOUVERT. With the paint, power, water trucks, and parade route! Getting splashed by the water truck was honestly the best moment on my trip. Ps: Most bands offer food and unlimited alcohol with your registration.
(2) Without considering the current US exchange rate, Miami Carnival is the most cost effective carnival option. You get bang for your buck!
(3) Less people in attendance therefore more space to free up yourself.
(4) Once your band finishes the parade route, all the music trucks park up for a blocko. The event runs from 11am to 11pmish.
(5) You are the first to hear new soca!
Get familiar with MY road anthem: “Freaky Girls” by Ricky T.
(6) The Parties! I am not much of a partier anymore but Miami parties are nice and many of them are on the beach. I do recommend researching event locations before you purchase event tickets. All Carnival events and parties are SO far from each other. Travel costs WILL add up if you are not mindful.
To all my Carnivalians and Carnival Chasers out there, where we headed next? I think JAMAICA CARNIVAL is must for me.
PS: FOR EVEN MORE MIAMI CARNIVAL CHECK OUT MY VLOG TOO!
Link Here: https://youtu.be/IvkHhfsvkLU ******
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