The 50th annual West Indian Parade in New York went off without a hitch, as it paid homage to island culture the best way possible.
The event, which has been overshadowed by instances of violence in the past, went down on Labor Day (Sept. 4), with hundreds of people from Antigua, U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Grenada and other islands enjoying themselves on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray helped lead the parade with Rev. Al Sharpton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo also taking part. J’Overt preceded the parade, but was filled with NYPD and a rescheduled time of 6 a.m. to prevent the chance of crime taking place in the late night hour.
Celebrities also took part in all the J’Overt fun, like Love & Hip Hop Hollywood’s Safaree, who stayed true to his Jamaican roots.
There was also an influx of colorful headdresses and costumes on the parkway from attendees.
And outfits that managed to include an interesting view of NY influence.
Pix11 reports there were a series of shootings that happened near the J’Overt route, but weren’t proven to be directly related to the event. One man died after he was shot in the head before 9 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 3). Three others were injured in separate shootings.
The increased police presence and new roadblocks did little to hurt the spirit of Caribbean pride. Revelers shared with DNA Info what they love about the parade and the importance of Caribbean culture in America.“This is the day when all nations come out and show off their lifestyles,” Donna Boston said. The 54-year-old has marched in the parade for 26 years. “There’s no difference to me now than there was in the beginning.”
Kaya McFarlane, another veteran of the event, says she’s enjoyed the parade for 17 years. “Security is trying to keep it more tame, but I still look forward to it every year,” she said. “I love the dancing, the music, the food — this is just a part of my culture.”
Check out some more moments from the event below.