Anguilla
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

Take Us Back: Going To Anguilla For Moonsplash Festival Will Have You Coming Back For More

An inaugural trip to Anguilla for Bankie Banx Moonsplash Festival caused a deep longing for a return trip ASAP.

"You musta think I dumb, diddy diddy dumb dumb/You can run around and then when ya wan’ done/Just give me a call expecting to run come.” The sweet, lilted words breezed past my balcony at CuisinArt Resort, where the day’s balminess and dwindling bits of sunshine traded places with crisp air brought on by the full moon and Rendezvous Bay waves. The refrain continued, this time with the oohs and aahs of background singers filling in the honeyed undertones of "Dumb," Anguillian artist Natty AXA's single, one of the first songs Moonsplash Festival attendees would hear over the three-day period. Sound check, aka a free concert, was almost over and the beginning of the sprinkle of gems Anguilla had to offer was just beginning.

I came to the British territory—a 35-mile landmass sharing nautical space with cruise stop Saint-Martin and celeb getaway St. Baarth’s—to take in the sounds of Bankie Banx Moonsplash, a two and a half day celebration of the more relaxed offerings of Caribbean music. But I left with not only a Serene piece of mind, full belly, a golden glow and a new roster of artists to put in my SoundCloud rotation, but a yearning to come back before I even stepped foot on the plane back to New York.

Moonsplash was unlike any other fest I've been to before. Hosted at Anguillian legend Bankie Banx’s Dune Preserve property, it's the farthest thing from extravagant in the best way possible. For 26 years, Banx & Co. have been curating lineups of Caribbean artists both native and from just across the clear cerulean waters. This year brought out the likes of Iba Mahr, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, British Dependency, Natty AXA, Mighty Mystic, Connis, Charlie B, True Intentions and Banks' own offspring Omari and Tahirah Banks. In addition to himself, that is. Banx is the primary headliner, but only by so much.

Last year, Justin Bieber happened to be staying close to the Dune and popped up on stage for a jam session. A few years before that, John Mayer blessed the mic in the same spontaneous, easygoing fashion. At Moonsplash, when the artists finished their sets, each of which would include anywhere from 5-10 full songs (lengthy for non-headliners by U.S. festival standards), they'd grab a drink, spliff or snack and roam around the crowd, chilling. No fan swarms followed. Just communal exchanges, hugs and a few cell phone snapshots.

This easygoing atmosphere is applicable to nearly all the goings on of Anguilla. Noel Mignott, President of Portfolio Marketing Group and Anguilla frequenter, said it best: “Anguilla is not for the tourist. It is for the traveler.” The seasoned traveler at that. There aren't any all-inclusive hotels or evidence of mass-marketing tourism. This is not where you come for noise and street curb belligerence or for jet skis, parasailing and other obnoxious water sports. You do not come here clutching purses and looking over your shoulders or expecting get your hair braided on the beach. This is not the place for anything remotely close to fast food or other signifiers of constantly living in a hurry (Subway sandwiches was the only American chain restaurant on the island, and according to a notable chef on the island, it won't be there too long). Here, tucked at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, is where luxury, comfort and culture meet.

The island's residents and those curious to escape their own lives to slip away into the Anguillian scenery mix in a refreshing way when it comes to upscale getaway spots. Resorts are like CuisinArt Resort and Spa and The Viceroy are top notch with immaculate grounds, but the people manning the grounds feel more like family than employees. Beggars and hustlers are as uncommon as any sort of attitudes or sass from those offering the hospitality. The same places outsiders go to get away from it all—Sandy Island and Little Bay are absolute must-sees—are the same places everybody else on the island frequent. Natives aren't shut out; visitors don't stay boxed in.

For my five days traipsing from Sandy Ground to The Valley to Scilly Cay, everything felt like a dream. Although I’m grateful for all that I have back in the States, I can’t say that I’m accustomed to “the finer things in life.” Anguilla gave me just the taste I needed. Here’s a breakdown of all the things that made the country demand a second trip out of me.

 

Moonsplash provided a new knowledge and prompted a deeper appreciation for local Caribbean artists.

It's not always about snatching up the biggest names you can get for a festival; it's about getting the best ones for the appropriate vibe. As a Caribbean-American, I can't say that I was too familiar with Natty AXA, Mighty Mystic, Omari Banks or even Bankie Banx prior to Moonsplash, but when I saw them all hit the stage, the groove I fell into was instant. The energy was palpable. The people swaying their bodies around Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve—high off life and tree, alike—genuinely feel connected to these artists, not stanning out and screaming like attendees at American fests do.

Whether Omari Banks was performing singles like "Me & You" and "No Point to Prove," or paying tribute to the newly fallen Prince via his iconic "Purple Rain," the front of the stage was always occupied by attendees with outstretched arms, bobbing heads and full spirits. Jamaica-born Mystic literally braved a downpour like a rockstar, keeping people from retreating with "Cali Green" and "Revolution." Anguillan duo British Dependancy's reggae/rock fusion gave the crowd a taste of something different, while Queen Ifrica kept the dedicated dancing in the dark all night long.

 

Anguillian food is something to brag far and wide about.

On the day I arrived to Sandy Ground on the west end of the island, I was on day 21 of a self-assigned 30 day vegan challenge (doing quite well at that). That all came to a halt the second I sat down for my first real meal. Sure, 10 percent of that was due to slim vegan pickings on menus, but really it was because the food was entirely too good to stare at while others indulged across the dinner table. Anguillan food is the stuff of pure delight.

I decided to respect my stomach and stick with mostly seafood, which just so happens to be the isle's specialty. From Veya's sautéed red snapper and Blanchards' delectable Mahi-Mahi to a roll out of family-style dishes at Tasty's and grilled lobster on Sandy Island, Anguillian chefs truly have a gift when it comes to their culinary offerings. Even the lobster rolls and cassava chips paired with bottomless mimosas on-board Tradition Sailing's boat was top-notch.

 

The water's so good you have to explore it up close and personal, not just admire it from the beach.

You can't go to an island and not properly explore the waters that surround it on all sides. In Anguilla, the soft white sand beaches are as heavenly as one could imagine, but it's imperative that you step away from the beach towel and out further into the sea. One of the most magnificent experiences was my venture to Sandy Island, a small offshore cay right off the coast of  Sandy Ground. After a quick 10 minute catamaran ride—there's no "dock," so you must slip off your shoes and hop into shallow waters to make your way onto the island from the boat—pristine azure waters, strong rum-punches, beach beds and delicious seafood are yours for the afternoon.

If you'd like to venture out a little further and up your adventure meter, Tradition Sailing is the way to go. Leaving from the same dock as the boat to Sandy Island, passengers are transferred to an authentic sailboat, where the captains man the vessel and give guests a view of Anguilla from out the water.

The next stop is Little Bay—a small, secluded beach accessed only by boat or by climbing down a rope—where the boat anchors and all who wish to can get off and snorkel around the area. If not, the unlimited mimosas and other beverages (both non- and alcoholic) will continue to flow before returning back to Sandy Ground.

 

The shops from local artisans are worth more than a passing glance.

The souvenir shopping experience gets a major upgrade when moseying around some of the local craft shops. At Devonish Art Gallery, the work of Courtney Devonish lines The Valley locale from wall-to-wall and counter-to-counter. From wooden hearts and mahogany sculptures, to antique maps to paintings, there are plenty originals to take back as decor for your home. The man behind the craft is always on-hand to chat up about his goods and about the place he calls home.

Directly across the street, Cheddie Richardson's Carving Studio is another treasure trove of talent. Richardson turns jagged driftwood into remarkable works of art, fusing them with paints, patience and precision. The self-taught artist keeps his originals, but makes replicas in bronze for admirers to take home.

 

On off days from sand and sea, Anguilla's Heritage Trail offers schooling on the island's history.

There's something for everyone in Anguilla, including the history buffs. Enter the Heritage Trail snaking from tip to tip of the island via George Hill Road. After driving from the Sandy Ground Outlook to the discontinued salt ponds in East End, a remarkable sight to see along the way is St. Gerard's Roman Catholic Church. It's Anguilla's only Roman Catholic church and one of the oldest on the island. The photograph below is of the new St. Gerard's building actually used to hold service, directly beside the much smaller original.

Wallblake House is said to be the oldest structure on the island and is rooted in history. The rustic building, which dates back to 1787, was the site of an old plantation run by sugar planter Valentin Blake. Walking through the old quarters elicits immediate nostalgia (maybe not in the best way) and visitors get an opportunity to peer deep into cooling chambers for the sugar.

 

Above all else, Anguilla's biggest charm is it's people.

No matter where I visited on the island and in whatever setting, I never felt less than extended family. Over at The Sunshine Shack, the owner and resident bartender, Garvey,  juggled mixed drinks and hearty conversation. He never seemed overwhelmed by the multitasking because the overall vibe of the afternoon was easygoing.

As Garvey and his assistant manned the libation station, Mighty Mystic, who took the Moonsplash Stage the night before, entertained the crowd with the chill sounds of his catalogue.

The people you meet at events like this or in passing don't feel like strangers. On the ride back to shore from Sandy Island, I met Mitchelle Lake and some of his mentees over at the Anguilla Tennis Academy. The non-profit organization is dedicated to furthering knowledge of the sport and providing academic opportunities to youth in Anguilla and surrounding Caribbean countries. You could see not only his passion, but the love he had for his former students and friends sitting on either side of him.

That very moment—enhanced by the gleeful bumps and splashes of the catamaran—encapsulated to spirit of Anguilla. The familial mixed with the cultural, luxury mixed with the local. Every bit of a reason for me to come right back.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Stephen Curry Inspired By 9-Year-Old To Provide Curry 6 Shoes For Girls

Proving to be more than just an expert shooter from the free-throw line, Stephen Curry has managed to do right by the majority of the people in his life, including a young girl he's never met.

After receiving a handwritten letter from 9-year-old Riley Morrison, the precocious kid pointed out one minor issue with the Golden State Warrior's latest Curry 5 shoes — the sneakers were not manufactured in girls' shoe sizes.

hey @stephencurry30 can u help? pic.twitter.com/3jwuEc776B

— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) November 26, 2018

"My dad and I visited the Under Armour website and were disappointed to see that there were no Curry 5s for sale under the girl's section," the aspiring basketball player wrote.

Quickly swooping in for the save, the 30-year-old athlete responded with a written note, saying, "I appreciate your concern and have spent the last 2 days talking to Under Armour about how we can fix the issue." Continuing the letter, the father-of-three went on to say, "I am going to send you the Curry 5's now and you will be the first kid to get the Curry 6."

pic.twitter.com/2Yhz69rysE

— gu-c (@guchawney) November 29, 2018

In a statement to VIBE, Dean Stoyer, VP, Global Brand Communications for Under Armour explained the shoes were intended to be worn by girls and boys.

"Thanks to Riley and Stephen, we’re correcting a simple yet critical error. We’ve actually offered Curry signature footwear in youth sizing for boys and girls since the initial Curry 1; however, labeling that youth sizing for “Boys” and not designating for boys and girls, was simply wrong," he said. "Beginning now and moving forward our youth sizes will be properly labeled on UA.com to reflect co-gender “Grade School” sizing, and on boxes beginning with the first youth sizes of the Curry 6 delivering this spring."

Working diligently to correct the mistake, Curry proceeded to invite the young fan to an event for International Women's Day in March.

Looks like everyone wins, including Riley and girls all over the nation.

READ MORE: Stephen Curry And Viola Davis To Executive Produce 'Emanuel' Doc On Church Shooting

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Wu-Tang Clan Taps Teyana Taylor To Model New Lipstick Collab

On Thursday (Nov. 1), the iconic hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan announced to Billboard that they teamed up with Milk Makeup to launch their first-ever cosmetics line with Teyana Taylor as the star of the campaign.

Wu-Tang, who is heavily inspired by Chinese culture, are no strangers when it comes to extending their brand beyond music. In the past, the Staten Island group has had a line of sneakers via a partnership with Nike and spent this year launching an apparel collection of streetwear for different seasons.

However, this is the first time the group hopes to reach to the hearts of ladies everywhere with the new lipstick collection. Wu-Tang's RZA told Billboard that his wife is a fan of Milk Makeup products. "My wife has a cool perspective about makeup [because] in her youth, she was in the modeling circles," RZA said.

"She is a fan of Milk Makeup's products, and when [Rassi and I] talked about forming a collaboration that reflected our NYC sensibility, and philosophy makeup became the unique and unpredictable choice," he added. "The Milk Makeup collaboration was spearheaded by my wife."

The 46-second commercial for the limited-edition product features Teyana Taylor performing karate moves on a roof with the NYC skyline in the background. Dressed in an all-black battle suit with long sleek black hair, Taylor is focused on her kung-fu styled moves as the video goes into slow-motion.

Taylor, who featured Wu-Tang on a remix to her 2018 single "Gonna Love Me" spoke with Milk about the new venture. "[Working with Milk and Wu-Tang] was a no-brainer. I have been a huge fan of Wu-Tang forever and I love the modern energy of Milk Makeup. When I saw the quality of the lipstick with the custom-sculpted dragon on the bullet, I was impressed—it's like a work of art."

The limited-edition collection is currently available exclusively on MilkMakeup.com. Each of the lipsticks can be bought separately for $55 each or all together for $440. Along with the collection comes a 24 karat gold compact mirror ($75) and a makeup pin set ($18) that can also be bought separately.

Will you be buying one for the holiday season?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

WU-TANG X MILK MAKEUP 美 AVAILABLE NOW - We are unleashing a ❗️limited-edition❗️collection of 8 luxe Lip Colors in collaboration with Wu-Tang that balances sacred Chinese ingredients with high-payoff colors. - The longwear Lip Colors, each named after the eight earthly elements of the I Ching Trigrams ☯️ are housed in a specially-made component, revealing a custom-sculpted dragon upon opening. 🐲CHI (high shine red) 🐲SACRED (rose gold glitter) 🐲FIRE (matte orange red) 🐲FLOW (high shine rosy beige) 🐲FREQUENCY (purple glitter) 🐲SOURCE (high shine burgundy) 🐲CYPHER (high shine brown) 🐲RUCKUS (high shine hot pink) - Our #wutangxmilkmakeup Lip Colors available NOW exclusively on milkmakeup.com - Video features ME! Original beat produced by @RZA Campaign video produced by @whoodencollective

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Nov 1, 2018 at 10:39am PDT

READ MORE: Teyana Taylor Enlists Wu-Tang Clan For “Gonna Love Me” Remix

Continue Reading
Vince DeSantiago

Virgil Abloh's Moët Collaboration Goes The Cool Kid Route With Free Tape Dispensaries

Virgil Abloh's collaboration with Moët & Chandon is pivoting towards an interactive leg thanks to an unveiling of custom-wrapped bus shelters (stops) with the Abloh's signature "DO NOT DROP" tape.

From Friday (Nov. 2) to Nov. 20, those in the Chicago area can stop by a bus stop and find them decked out with Abloh's design. Bus shelters wrapped with Abloh's signature design include the Art Institute of Chicago with two additional placements in the Chicago neighborhoods of Printer's Row and near Greektown. Abloh previously announced the limited-release of the brand's first-ever liquor brand collaboration in September.

The free tape dispensaries will be available from 9AM-5PM today. Abloh previously spoke with Harper's Bazar about the idea behind the design. In addition to staying true to Moët's timeless legacy, the designer wanted to make the design as treasurable as possible.

"I was inspired by the idea of what champagne means. How it can be symbolic of an achievement, a celebration, it has a sort of upper-echelon emotion attached to it," he explained. "So the design I applied to it, as a figure of speech in a way, in my voice, using Helvetica and quotes, to say... treasure the moment, "do not drop," it's fragile. That was a way to, in contemporary speak, merge these two ideas together."

The 750ml “ready-to-wear” design can be purchased for $60 at retailers nationwide, as well as online at Clos19.com. The 38-year old happily celebrated the new partnership last month at New York City’s New Museum.

Check out the sleek design below.

READ MORE: Virgil Abloh’s Moët & Chandon Collaboration Is Too Cool To Sip

Continue Reading

Top Stories