So this post is two days late – I was in New York for the weekend and everything was piled up when I got back, my apologies.
So I know it’s 2.5 weeks after, but I really wanted to share some thoughts on my Caribana.
- There is nothing more wutliss than daytime wukkin up. Everyone thinks that it’s dutty to be all up under someone in the dark back corner doing God knows what, but the point of a corner where no one can see you is exactly that, NO ONE CAN SEE YOU! Real wutliss people are on the road, high daylight, sweatin, winin, peltin wais, jammin, dancin and exhibiting all kind of X rated behaviour in glittering bikinis, tankinis, shorts and other costumes for the cheapest of no-flash having cameras to capture. I’m not saying that I’m wutliss, I’m just saying.
- I know I’m in a costume, but I’m still not here for your entertainment. (Yes I quote P!nk). At some point during the parade while waiting for the rest of the sections in my band to cross the stage, one of my friends and I walked out ahead of the band. There were spectators lined off on either side of the street waiting for more bands to pass and someone saw my friend and I and decided to tell us we should dance for him. I cut up my eyes at him. He went on to explain he had paid his money to see the parade so we’re supposed to entertain him. I informed him that nuttin go so. I am the masquerader who will tell people “no, I don’t want to take a picture with you” or who will stop dancing when I realise a camera is on me, depending on how the person asks or looks at me, and just depending on how I feel at the time. I understand that spectators are a big part of my experience of Caribana but that doesn’t mean that I have to cater to each spectator’s every wish like some seem to think.
- There is something powerful in the air. I’ve only ever played mas at Caribana. But even adding my J’ouvert experiences in St. Kitts and Antigua to it, there’s something so powerful about being a part of Carnivals. Call it ancestral spirits, call it Afro-Caribbean rituals, call it channeling energies, call it everyone drinking too much alcohol and sniffing glitter and body glue for too long… but the energy is just so powerful – I feel powerful. Maybe I’m sadly mistaken but the patriarchal male gaze (while still present and problematic) feels a little less threatening.