Toronto Carnival Season 2019 was one to remember.
The #SpiceFam was alllllll ova! We hosted a few pop up dance workshops, performed at a few private events, and had tv spots on
Met Preedy, Kerwin Dubois, and Jillionaire, saw Blaxx, Tallpree and Shal Marshal perform live, won section of the year at Friday Night Mas, and hit the carnival road with the Carnival Spice ladies. Twas a time!
What I loved most:
THE STAGE!!! For the first time ever, Toronto Carnival featured an elevated stage. If you followed my blog over the years, you’ll know that I’ve BEEN suggesting this! I didn’t get to see the stage in person, but based on photos and video floating around the net it looked awesome!
Meeting the Real Housewives of Atlanta was pretty cool too. In addition to being a huge fan of the show, I’m so happy I could share my culture with them! ...Gahhh! That’s all I can say for now.
The King and Queen competition had a great vibe this year. Speeches were LONG, but kudos to MC SKF for keeping the crowd’s energy up. I personally enjoyed the performance by Lil Natty & Thunda but the audience was tough. Lol. Twas clearly a trini crowd. Congratulations to all the winners. My favourite was this year’s queen from Toronto Revellers! Her costumed radiated the moment the lights hit it on the stage.
Big up Cantu Beauty for giving away full sized products from their hair care line on the road!!! They had a tent set up and offered hair tips, products, and more.
Least favourite moments:
The same day I was on Breakfast Television dozens of people forwarded me a CBC article where my photo was used to promote a campaign that I had no affiliation with. I suspect a band who I modelled previously for submitted the photo without my knowledge. This is SUPER frustrating considering they could and SHOULD have used photos from their 2019 season! Plus I personally don’t support the campaign in relation to carnival. Apparently topless masqueraders were to appear at the parade this year - cool, do your thing but leave me out of it. I advocate for cultural arts and the history of mas… which in my opinion doesn’t correlate with being nude.
Although I commend Shea Moisture Canada for hosting a fun filled & educational event surrounding black women and black hair, I’m quite disappointed that the featured Caribbean Carnival models/dancers they used didn’t reflect their audience! In my opinion, if you are hosting a Caribbean Carnival event hiring samba performers as the entertainment is a miss. An even bigger bonus would have been if they used black models. They had photo booth activations at some of the costume launches earlier in the year - why not hire one of the models from the show??? There were so many models/dancers to choose from… And nooo, I’m not salty that Carnival Spice wasn’t called - lololol. I’m simply mentioning this so they can do better next time around.
Lack of attractions along the parade route was a big miss by the festival organizers. I understand that the Grand Parade is suppose to have masqueraders and spectators - HOWEVER, sadly the mentality in Toronto is that Caribana is a street party and the issue of “storming” exists year after year. I feel like if their were more attractions along the route it would redirect people out of the parade. I commend initiatives like the Winedown Festival and Island Mix for hosting limes along the sidelines; those events visibly made an impact on the amount of congestion on the route.
Now that we finally have a stage I may consider playing mas again in Toronto… I would only be open to partnering with a section leader or band who is trying to push the culture forward and respects their masqueraders. When I play, I roll DEEP; so I’m especially mindful that everyone who plays with me has a great time.
It has been heartbreaking seeing all the recent press regarding poor masquerader experiences! Negative media attention doesn’t just affect the band in fire it effects the entire festival and carnival community.
Let’s all vow to do better.
SO HOW ABOUT YOU - HOW WAS YOUR TORONTO CARNIVAL 2019 EXPERIENCE?
Did you play mas? How’d you like your costume? The band? The new route?
Did you just fete? What was your fave party?
Did you escape and go to the cottage?