Take Us Back: Antigua’s Carnival Culture Is More Than Wild Street Parties & Steel Pans
The bursts of ultra light sunbeams hitting my window remind me that autumn leaves and maroon sweaters are here. After a fairly warm winter, we slid into a humid and sometimes wet summer. It’s the same season we sang with Drake for revenge and took another well-needed interest in Caribbean culture.
The appreciation of sokah blends and dancehall beats found their place again on the Billboard charts through artists like Justin Bieber, Major Lazer and Drake, but it’s not just the sounds that leave us spellbound. For 60 years, Carnival celebrations around the world—Barbados’ Cropover, Canada’s Caribana, New York’s West Indian Day Parade and Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival are some the most frequented—have helped shape tradition and present a feeling like no other: pride. No, not the pride you have when you watch the Olympics on your couch. Think deeper. It’s the pride you have for your ancestors who fought through the fire for freedom and respect. This was felt at this year’s Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival celebrations, where love was the mission.
Over the past few years, the racially-inspired tragedies such as the Mother Emanuel Church Massacre and the Orlando Nightclub Shooting have left black people all over the world searching for justice and peace, but also pouring out gentle reminders of love and support in their respective communities. It’s only right that a culture that carries that notion daily is vied for.
During my journey on the beautiful isle of Antigua, I learned just how special our cultures and daily life are truly intersected.
Peep the gallery above to find out more.