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.

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Beyonce Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Beyoncè Shells Out Ivy Park Goodies To Janelle Monae, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Rowland And More

We're less than 24 hours away from the full release of Beyoncè's Ivy Park collaboration with Adidas and fans are beyond ready, thanks to her brilliant orange box preview.

The entertainer and businesswoman gifted her family and celebrity pals with treasure trunks of goodies. From Solange to Yara Shahidi, celebs shared pieces from the collection on social media this week. Adidas announced its multi-year partnership with the mogul last April, making history in the process. The singer is the first black woman to be the sole owner of an athleisure brand. Bey took the steps to own the brand entirely after her initial collab with Topshop in 2016 by purchasing the shares of Phillip Green after sexual harassment claims were filed against him.

“It’s a dream come true to re-launch IVY PARK as the sole owner,” Beyonce said in a statement. It’s her first collaboration with adidas but not her first time building buzz for a product. The legend cleverly shared the mysterious orange boxes in all shapes in sized to her friends, thus creating quite the conversation on social media.

Ivy Park is also creating bigger conversations in the corporate world. According to a November research note by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ivy Park's sales can slowly surpass Kanye West's Yeezy line.

“In-line with adidas approach on other franchises, we would expect there to be a low volume, high priced launch ... to create brand heat and in the following years the brand will likely become more democratized,” the note says.“Initially, Ivy Park will be smaller than Yeezy, but Ivy Park has the potential to be larger, if managed properly,” says Matt Powell, a senior footwear analyst at NPD Group.

We love to see it.

See the celebs bask in their Ivy Park glory below.

Tina Lawson

 

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I love this couture beautiful Orange IVY PARK Adidas dress thanks @beyonce. @ivyparkadidas @ivypark. @beyonce. @dougspearman

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on Jan 12, 2020 at 1:27pm PST

Reese Witherspoon

 

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Thank you, @Beyonce for the #IvyPark swag!

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on Jan 15, 2020 at 2:28pm PST

Janelle Monae

 

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Thank you Bey for these @weareivypark pieces ! And a special thank you for my new hide out where I’ll bey escaping my duties . S O proud of you ! Luhhhhh uuuuu @beyonce swiiiipe ☄️

A post shared by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:35pm PST

Hailey Bieber

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/Y3rcxIDhCe

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 15, 2020

Kelly Rowland

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/vGqwwnZrnl

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 16, 2020

Yara Shahidi

 

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ADDIDASXIVYPARK PEEK

A post shared by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:41pm PST

Scottie Beam

 

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Check my instastories to see what Beyonce SELECTED for me. Lmfao! Thank you so so much @weareivypark @beyonce ✨ THE INFEED PHOTO IS COMING!

A post shared by scottiebeam (@scottiebeam) on Jan 17, 2020 at 6:48am PST

Ellen DeGeneres

Thank you, @Beyonce. I love my big orange box. Your new clothes are really cool too. #adidasxIVYPARK @adidas pic.twitter.com/ecTxZ5o0CG

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 15, 2020

Missy Elliott

Thank you so much @Beyonce I am soooooooo humbly grateful you are a GEM! Lol the box was so big I was scared to open I thought a whole human was gonna jump out but this FYE sis #IVYPARK I LOVE IT! pic.twitter.com/hJbrfDWvXL

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) January 16, 2020

Diplo

[email protected] unboxing his #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/D2BKKVzLBw

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 14, 2020

Zendaya

Zendaya has gotten her Ivy Park box....#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/fLYdYAVyWn

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 15, 2020

Kim Kimble

 

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Thank you @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas for this drip and I’m going to buy some as well

A post shared by Kim Kimble (@kimblehaircare) on Jan 15, 2020 at 4:07pm PST

Rita Ora

Rita Ora out and about in her Ivy Park x Adidas wear. pic.twitter.com/hFt4OQjE4v

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 16, 2020

Quincy

Diddy’s son, Quincy, also got a box of the upcoming Ivy Park/Adidas collection, officially dropping on the 18th of January, 2020 pic.twitter.com/rUJOWgy2l4

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 12, 2020

Cardi B

 

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That new @weareivypark bomb

A post shared by Cardib (@iamcardib) on Jan 13, 2020 at 10:15pm PST

Laverne Cox

https://twitter.com/BeyLegion/status/1216405687862988806

 

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#mood4eva in my Adidas X IVY Park ... #mood #TransIsBeautiful @adidas @weareivypark @beyonce #DisclosureDoc

A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on Jan 16, 2020 at 12:00pm PST

Michelle Williams

 

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Looks coming soooooooooon!!! “I GOT IT” by @rickydillard is appropriate! @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas!! Ok bye for now!!

A post shared by Michelle Williams (@michellewilliams) on Jan 16, 2020 at 2:03pm PST

Solange

Solange getting the Ivy Park x Adidas from her sis pic.twitter.com/G2bRO2lTYc

— | IVY PARK X ADIDAS ON JAN 18th (@beysarayonce) January 15, 2020

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner got a Ivy Park box...#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/79LGysUZBp

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 17, 2020

Keke Palmer

 

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why do i feel like the whole planet earth is going to wear ivy park? — #beyonce #beyoncé #queen #queenb #yoncé #rumiandsir #rumiandsircarter #rumicarter #sircarter #blueivy #blueivycarter #jayz #jayonce #beyonceandjayz #thecarters #sashafierce #beyhives #beyhive #beckywiththegoodhair #ivypark #ivyparkbeyonce #weareivypark #ivypark2020 #2020 #beyonce2020 #beyoncephotoshoot #beyonceoutfit #flawless

A post shared by (@bivyslife) on Jan 17, 2020 at 4:36am PST

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Dutch Lingerie Designer Accused Of Stealing Rihanna's 'Savage x Fenty' Show Concept

They say nothing is new under the sun and while fashion has reminded us of this over time, some inspirations are hard to ignore.

On Monday (Jan 13), Dutch designer Marlies Dekkers revealed her new 2020 collection with a gathering of dancers, a viral rapper and a very familiar stage step up that has fans of Rihanna's Savage x Fenty collection outraged.

The show bears a striking similarity to Rihanna's Savage x Fenty show which took place in Brooklyn, New York in September 2019. The presentation took a lot of creative risks as dancers, models, actors, and rappers walked throughout a Romanesque stage set with plenty of stairs to include moments for elaborate dance numbers and performances by Halsey, Normani, Big Sean and Migos.

As visuals from the Marlies Dekkers show made their way to social media, fans quickly pointed out the similarities. For one, the stage set up is slightly familiar as white stairs and antique rounded Roman door openings were presented on the stage. The similarities in creative concepts continue with groups of dancers wearing Marlies Dekkers lingerie as artist Famke Louise took the stage. Colors that divided segments also seem to be featured in the show. To make things more awkward, a mix of Rihanna's "Rude Boy" was heard during the show.

Savage x Fenty 2019: 

Marlies Dekkers 2020: 

DID THEY JUST LITERALLY STEAL THE SAVAGEX CONCEPT? pic.twitter.com/VuObKhINHO

— ✨ (@marleyaq) January 14, 2020

Every one is a suspect @marliesdekkers #ss20 #fw20 pic.twitter.com/YZ8RIP5zkC

— tanja neckebroeck (@TanjaNecke) January 13, 2020

Dekkers has yet to comment on the comparisons. Dekkers launched her collection Undressed in 1993. Sold in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Paris, Bangkok, Berlin and Moscow, Dekkers brought the brand to the US with a show in New York in 2008. Guests included a young Solange, Kelly Rowland and Usher.

Meanwhile, Fenty x Savage has released new looks featuring Joan Smalls and Paloma Elsesser. The collection is a sweet ode to Valentine's Day with Rihanna participating in the fun as well.

 

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A post shared by SAVAGE X FENTY BY RIHANNA (@savagexfenty) on Jan 6, 2020 at 2:38pm PST

 

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A post shared by SAVAGE X FENTY BY RIHANNA (@savagexfenty) on Jan 14, 2020 at 11:33am PST

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Greg Alders

Jay-Z Rings In 50th Birthday With Limited Edition D'USSÉ Cognac

It's Jay-Z Day and that can only mean one thing–an endless streaming party for the music mogul. While you're jamming to Reasonable Doubt on Tidal or enjoying the re-release of his discography on Spotify, you can also be on the lookout for D'USSÉ's latest release.

D’USSÉ 1969 Anniversaire is a cognac produced from a single barrel in France where the brand's other popular expressions like D’USSÉ  XO ($199) and VSOP ($50) are made. The difference, however, is the resulting cognac was aged in a single oak cask with a single eau de vie. This is a treat for spirit enthusiasts since most barrels are blended. Jay had a chance to sample the rare batch with Maître de Chai (Cellar Master) Michel Casavecchia a few years ago, making this release one to remember.

Jay has given out 50 bottles of the batch to his closest friends and family but fans will be able to score the batch during the 2020 holiday season. Since there was only one barrel made of D’USSÉ 1969 Anniversaire, this will make it a pretty hot commodity next year.

Jay-Z became a partial owner of the spirits brand over six years ago as well as the full owner of premium Champagne brand Armand de Brignac. The Distilled Spirits Council by way of Fortune reports the brandy/cognac market is the place to be with the spirit selling 6.4 million nine-liter cases last year–a 12% increase from 2018's sales.

“The inimitable liquid of D’USSÉ 1969 Anniversaire showcases how the centuries-old traditions of the house continue to stand the test of time,” Global Brand Ambassador Sullivan Doh tells VIBE. “Once the barrel is emptied and bottled, there is no way to ever make this exact liquid again - and that is something we felt was worthy of honoring such a cultural icon.” 

If that wasn't enough, the flavors of the special batch are rich in walnut, hazelnut and candied apple. “Its aromas have now developed into an exquisite eaux-de-vie from the Château de Cognac, with characteristics unique to this exceptional batch,” Casavecchia adds. “Upon the first sip, it reveals a distinct potency with powerful, woody notes and a long stewed fruit finish, with a touch of leather and cigar box.” 

Be sure to scoop up the limited edition batch when it hits a store near you.

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