Caribbean American Heritage Month took over South Florida for the month of June and there were so many events filled with great energy, good food, love, and fellowship within the Caribbean community. If you did not have the opportunity to take advantage of any events, I highly recommend you get more involved for the year of 2017.
For the month of June, the spotlight is on Caribbean Americans all over the U.S. and it is a great platform for us to show the world what we have to offer and why we are so awesome! The time and dedication it took to bring the events to bloom showed in the execution of how well all of the events turned out. Although the annual celebration has come to an end, here is my recap of the CaribStyleWeek.
CaribStyleWeek was the main event for CAHM with back-to-back days of our culture. The kick off reception was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale and was definitely a well-received event. Beautiful carnival costumes were on live display, accompanied by amazing hors d’oeuvres and sweet treats for those who have a magnified sweet tooth like myself. Our dear friend Nkosi Palmer, who was the MC for the whole weekend, entertained us with his sense of humor and charm. The positive and motivating speeches from sponsors were a great way to set the tone. Everyone spoke on a powerful subject and that is to support your own. During these trying times, the only way is unity and love. If we respect, support, and love one another, the movement will be impenetrable.
Carnival Rocks The Runway took place at Revolution Live! and not only were there live Miami Carnival costumes on display but one of the hottest Soca artistes from Trinidad, 5Star Akil, ended the show with a bang by performing his hit songs including my favorite: “Different Side of Me.” Nothing can beat the feeling of good Soca and whining up in a costume. Except…..food! Epicurean by Design is where food meets fashion. For my fellow foodies out there, it was heaven on earth. I could barely stand up straight by the time I left and no, it wasn’t because of the complimentary CockSpur that was circulating the room.
Chefs from Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad showcased their culinary skills for everyone in attendance and also for the judges to choose a winner at the end of the night. Hands down the best appetizer was the crobster cake, which was a mix between crab and lobster all mixed up into one goodness of a bite that makes your legs weak and body tingle. It was just the right amount of meat and breading, unlike most restaurants to pay $30 for one string of crab, bread crumbs, and fancy sauce, insert eye roll here.
Aside from choosing the winner of the culinary competition, Chef Khiah Cameron, who is Trinidadian American, there were beautiful models that ripped the runway in the elegant Frantz Christie collection and the fun and flirty Lily Deziles designs. For a few moments, I wished that I hadn’t indulged in that extra plate of griot and rice, but it was good still.
The grand finale of CSW was Bikinis and Brunch. Anyone who really knows me, knows this is my dream event. First of all, my middle name is brunch but then when you add a cute location such as the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale filled with beautiful Caribbean people? Automatic slayage. I was fashionably late, however there was no hesitation with the drinks flowing and the smorgasbord of food. Omelettes, pastries, chorizo sausage, and french toast with pineapple rum sauce is just a fraction of what they had to offer. I definitely had thirds and then some. That pineapple rum sauce? But how can you even put all three in a sentence. I think I over-saturated all my pastries with that sauce but this is a no judgment zone right?
B&B ended on high note with a fashion show of swimwear from Keisha Als, Chandra Maharaj, and Frantz Christie. I have a long list of all the bikinis I’m waiting to buy.
The opportunities to support Caribbean designers, chefs, and talent were endless and I wish we could have events like this, not only during Caribbean American Heritage Month, but year ‘round. It was an honour to be a part of Caribbean American Heritage Month and CaribStyle Week but the support is well over due for the Caribbean community nationwide. I am pleased to see that carnivals are flourishing all over North America but the talent doesn’t stop there. If it wasn’t for these events and social media, I wouldn’t have known about all these amazing brands that simply need our support to thrive.
Use social media and networking as a platform to get to know your local Caribbean resources. It is imperative that we continue to support our culture and continue to uplift everyone who is trying to make their dreams true.