Showing posts from March, 2020

I wonder what the King is doing tonight?

How Are The Royals Doing During This Virus Shutdown?
By Stephen Weir
No, we don’t mean Prince Charles (but we do wish him a speedy recovery) we are talk about the Kings and Queens of the Caribbean.  For the past few days we have been texting and checking the Facebook and Instagram accounts of people who have name recommendation with Caribbean Camera readers!
After communicating with more than 20 people who are currently in solitary confinement, we can tell you, that most of our Royals are just like us.  Busy on social media. Eating too much.  Exercising too little.
Jai Ojah (l) – King of Caribbean Radio - just at home de cluttering painting and walking playing my records at night. Basically my keeping in touch with friends and family. Enjoying my record collection on my turntable.
Destra, Queen of Bacchanal (r) – On Facebook, the famous Trinidadian Soca singer posted a 1970s era British comedy TV skit of a spinster who accidently sprays Crazy Glue on her crotch, soon her spinster friend …

Will there be a Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade this August 1st?

Carnival Mas or Corona Mess?  Not a Lot of Answers in this Time of Crisis By Stephen Weir

Breaking News: I received a note from the SunLime Mas Band l this evening announcing that they have postponed their previously announced March 29th virtual launch "to a later date. We will keep you updated as time goes on". We have also received a notice from the Toronto Revellers that their Saturday April 11th costume launch is being postponed until May. "Due to the current global crisis, we are postponing our band launch to a date in May (TBD)." The picture above is from the SunLime's model shoot which was held two weeks ago. Although the SunLime band has embargoed pictures and videos from that costume photo shoot, I did get permission to use this photograph (again) with the model blurred to obscure the costume.
What the Mas Camps, Pan Bands and the Festival Management Committee need right now is the city’s biggest Crystal Ball. Something that will answer the burning question…

The Different Booklist Closes Doors But Has Online Diaspora Books For Sale

Twenty Books to read the coronavirus quarantine

Now here is some bad news.  Yesterday the Downtown Toronto’s The Different Booklist and Cultural Centre announced that it is closed because of the CoronaVirus Pandemic. Just prior the store shutting its doors, the Caribbean Camera spoke to Itah Sadu, co-owner of the Bathurst Street operation. She and her partner Miguel San Vincente are concerned about the “safety of our staff and customers”, thus yesterday’s closure. Now for the good news: Although customers can’t, at least for now, visit the city’s only bookstore for Caribbean, African and Diversity titles, The Different Booklist is operating online.  To encourage online shopping, the company is offering free shipping on all orders. With this raging coronavirus outbreak you and your children may suddenly find yourself staying home with a lot of time on your hands. Nothing makes staying at home more enjoyable than reading a book or two and of course pourin…

News Flash: Simone Dalton another Trini Book Winner

 Simone Dalton captures a top writing award

Writer and Pan Player Simone Dalton is keeping a Trinidadian Canadian tradition alive.  The young writer has just won the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award making her the 5th Trinidadian Canadian to win a major Canadian writing prize in the past decade. Simone Dalton is a long-time tenor pan player with Toronto Panatics and an author that one magazine declared is one of “20 Black Writers to Read All Year Round!”. Dalton earned an MFA from the University of Guelph. Her work has been published in The Unpublished City: Volume I, and in the anthology, Black Writers Matter. In 2019, her inaugural short play, VOWS, debuted at Soulpepper as part of RARE Theatre’s production, Welcome to My Underworld. She is now working on her first memoir and is currently living in Boston. Dalton won the Award yesterday, thanks to another writer, Ottawa historian Mark Bourrie.  Early this month he won the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize for his book Bush Runner: The A…

Not the First, but still the First Friday in Brampton

It wasn’t the first Friday that Brampton business people spent the evening together networking.  Peel’s First Fridays Tradition Is Here! By Stephen Weir Technically Brampton has already had three First Fridays, but the Caribbean Community is still in first contact mode for the once monthly business-networking event.   Last Friday evening over 50 people from Peel came out to see what the professionals' Greet and Meet is all about.Organizers are expecting an even larger crowd in April. First Fridays is a networking and social night that is, as the name says, held the first Friday evening of each month, has been a must-attended ritual in Toronto for the past 26-years. An after-work chapter has just been established in Brampton which is being run by Ryan Knight, the Afro Caribbean Business Network CEO (ACBN), and Andria Barrett, the President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC). Warren Salmon, the creator of First Fridays in Toronto, has helped established the new chapter. “I …

In The Black And White Will Soon Be In Colour

Will Toronto’s establishment be Jolly with that news that In The Black will be a new movie shot in living colour.

Filmmaker and head of the CaribbeanTales Film Festival, Francis Anne Solomon announced this week that she has begun work on a feature film based on the book In the Black written by Caribbean Canadian superstar Denham Jolly. News of the proposed film will probably bring both cheers and jeers, depending on what side of the radio dial audiences find themselves. He is best known is best known as the founder of Canada’s first Black radio station, Flow 93.5 and the publisher of the now defunct Contrast newspaper. “In the Black won the Toronto Book Award in 2017. In it he tells the story of his journey from Jamaica to Canada in the 1950s, through his struggles to overcome racism and become an extremely successful businessman, activist, philanthropist, and publisher.
When the Camera’s Stephen Weir interviewed Jolly about his book when it was launched, he asked Jolly if the autobiograp…

Sunlime Is Liming On Line This Year

By Stephen Weir The Sunlime Canada mas band’s annual costume launch is coming to a computer near you.  On Sunday, March 29th, the ever-popular medium sized band will be staging a live fashion show that can only be seen on the Internet. “ We are trying something new for Toronto, a virtual launch!” said Sunlime spokesman Niles “Whitey” Koski. “ We were going to have a standard launch party and then we decided to be strictly online.” “ We aren’t doing this because of the Virus.  I have been asked that a lot lately,” he told the Caribbean Camera. “ But no, we came up with the idea back in December.” Sunlime isn’t saying, at least not yet, where the launch will be held. The suggestion is that it will be in a hall in Toronto, where there is enough room for a large stage and professional lighting to make for good Internet viewing. DJ Toxic and MC Kevin Carrington will be the on-air ringmasters. Sunlime will also have a small live audience  - the media, designers and band supporters – but is hopin…

Carnival Cities Are Waiting To Be Tribalized

Celena Seusahai Has Costume And Will Travel By Stephen Weir
Celena Seusahai has packed her new costume and headed out the door for her flight to Trinidad and Tobago.  Her trip to T&T’s Carnival is the 2020 start to a Mas on the Move for one of Canada’s leading exporter of the Carnival Arts. She and her father Dexter head up the Tribal Carnival Mas Camp here in the city and on Grand Cayman Island. She is a past Queen of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and for the past two years has captured the Band of the Year Award at Cayman’s annual carnival.  Oh yes, Tribal also supplies costumes to other carnivals events in the Caribbean and the US, including Miami. “I’m going down by myself and l will be playing Mas with Rogue once again (in Trinidad’s Carnival), they are a branch of Tribe,” she told the Caribbean Camera. “We will have about 30 people in costumes in the T&T Grand Parade. They will be wearing outfits made by my dad and I for T&T’s Carnival Monday!” After the parade, she will…

April is StretchMas time in Toronto

A Fete of Epic Proportions – April is full of Energy By Stephen Weir April is StretchMas time in Toronto. Stretch (aka Jerrol Augustine) the popular bandleader of EPIC Mas knows how to put on a fete.  And, on April 18th his band is going to show the city just how exciting a costume launch can be. The number one medium sized band in the 2019 Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is holding an early launch at the large Cinnamon Banquet Hall on McNicoll Avenue in Scarborough. “Our theme for 2020 is ENERGY,” said Augustine when speaking to the Caribbean Camera yesterday. “Energy is one of the pillars of what EPIC Carnival stands for.  E.P.I.C or Energy. Passion. Imagination and Culture. We want our masqueraders to release their energy on the road with us this year!”
Epic is one of the first competing bands to hold a costume launch in 2020.  They will have ten sections on stage presenting costumes under the Energy theme. With still a month to go before the fete, the Mas Band may add a few more sect…

No Hurdles For Perdita

All-Round Champion Soon To Be All Round The Dial
All-Round Champion. The title of Perdita Felicien’s new TVO television series nails it oh so well.
The 11-episode, 60-minute series stars the Canadian athlete and ten of North America’s most decorated young athletes who compete in the sort of sports young people love; wakeboarding, gymnastics and skateboarding to name just three. This is not your average sporting saw-off.  The ten athletes – five American and five Canadian – don’t compete in their own sports, they will be competing in each other’s specialties!  By the end of the Season One – there will be a single athlete crowned the All-Round Champion. Perdita Felicien is a two time Olympian and a two time World Champion in the 100m hurdles. One of Canada’s most decorated track and field athletes, she has won two World Championship silver medals, was named Canada’s Athlete of the Year, and was given the keys to the city of Pickering, her hometown. Since retiring from competition seven years…

Time to change the name of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (again)?

Brampton’s getting ready to show Toronto how to Reggae down the road
By Stephen Weir
Maybe it is time the annual carnival changed its name again.  How about the Toronto and Brampton Caribbean Carnival?  Johanna Grant, a long time Carnival reveller, is starting her own band  - The Freedom Mas Band - and has already organized her camp in Brampton. She has taken a space in the Dixie and Steeles area and has a booked a hall for her early April 5th costume launch.   “ As far as I know we are the first Mas Band from Brampton to participate in the Toronto parade,” she told the Caribbean Camera this week. “ You know Scarborough is getting a little crowded (with camps). Everyone in Brampton and Mississauga loves the idea it saves a lot of driving. And for out-of-towners we are are only 10-minutes from the airport, if they want to pick-up a costume after landing.” For its inaugural year, Freedom Mas, will be a non-competitive band.  That means that Grant is limited to signing up a maximum of 500 cos…