BRIAN LARA INDUCTED INTO ICC’s CRICKET HALL OF FAME
One of the world’s greatest batsmen, the now retired West Indian batsman Brian Charles Lara was yesterday inducted into the ICC’s (International Cricket Council) Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Colombo, India.
He now joins 16 other West Indian cricketers in the the Hall of Fame, including Sir Garfield Sobers (pictured above with Brian Lara and our Editor-in-Chief).
We say CONGRATULATIONS!
Read more on the story HERE
CARIBBEAN FILM CORNER 2012 - Opening Night
So last night in lil ole London town, I was steeply immersed in cultural and political history as ‘The Caribbean Film Corner’ opened the 4th year of their annual 3-day film festival as part of the renowned Portobello Film Festival.
Caribbean Film Corner is the creative concept of Neigeme Glasgow-Maeda and Marc Woods to promote the vastly rich and diverse Caribbean culture/ creative talent through film. This year’s theme of “Celebrating 50 Years of Independence” marks the Golden Anniversary for Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica’s independence.
Last night’s opening night at The Tabernacle venue in the heart of West London’s Notting Hill did not disappoint. I expected intellectual and well-researched insight on the featured 2-part documentary ‘Inward Hunger’ - The story of Dr. Eric Williams (T&T’s first Prime Minister); and that I got.
Directed by Mariel Brown for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Williams on 25th September 2011, the film chronicles the political life of Dr. Williams. From the advent of the People’s National Movement (PNM) spear-headed by Williams, the set up and subsequent failure of the Caribbean Federation; through to independence, Black Power protests and the oil-boom years, we see the enigma in battle, warts and all.
Although I was 11 years old and living in Tobago at the time, I remember the death and public funeral of Dr. Williams - a day of national mourning for the “Father of a Nation”. Brown brings to life the mystery surrounding a powerfully intellectual yet private figure who was either loved, loathed or feared. Dr. Williams was endeared by his family, especially his daughter Erica who was an on-screen contributor to the film; alongside other relatives, historians, political allies and foes.
I thought I knew what was needed to be known about Dr. Williams from my own local historical knowledge and schooling. However, I learnt so much more regarding how race played a heavy part within politics at that time and also the controversial mystery surrounding his death. Something which struck the empathy cords were the apparent in-actions of the police/ political circle to immediately notify his family.
Dr. Williams, an Oxford graduate, was defintely portrayed as a controversially enigmatic visionary. I gleaned further knowledge on Trinbago and the wider Caribbean’s political history. An impressive documentary! Though a post screening talk-back discussion via skype with the director sadly was cut short due to technical difficulties.
The evening also revealed two further shorts. ‘50 in Fifteen’ by Keith Musaman Mortent was a 15 minute short about Trinidad & Tobago’s accomplishments on a world stage in the last 50 years; from calypso and steel-pan to beauty queens and sporting greats. The audience responded with cheers and claps at one point when our recent Olympic Gold medalist Kershorn Walcott was mentioned.
The final short, ‘What the Times Cover Girl did Next’ by Chantal Miller (and also the evening’s host) was a feature-film teaser which stems around her story after making The Times newspaper’s front page last year in full costume at Notting Hill carnival.
So what did she do?! Went to Trinidad & Tobago of course for her 1st experience of it’s carnival this year, particularly J’ouvert - the 1st day of carnival. Her on-screen engagement was delightfully endearing as she released her spirit to the carnival traditions.
Plus I hear the full-length feature explores so much more of T&T’s cultural landscape.The short teased us nicely with Miller’s unique story-telling technique infused with well-researched snippets of information. Let’s hope we see the full product soon!
Caribbean Film Corner continues tonight and tomorrow Friday with many more shorts from across the Diaspora including Haiti, Guyana, Martinique, Suriname, Holland, USA, UK, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Canada, Antigua, Jamaica, France, Barbados and Guadeloupe. I’ve also heard the other screenings have been fully booked. Great job being a free event to demonstrate the gifted talent the Diaspora has to offer. Well done CFC!
If you wish to find out more about the Caribbean Film Corner, please check out their website www.caribbeanfilmcorner.com
Posted by: Steph Hernandez, EXIST MEDIA Editor-in-Chief
The Merikans go from Tangier Island to Trinidad 197 years ago
Subject: Paul Clancy is doing some amazing narratives on untold American black history
see www.paulclancystories.com for other heretofore untold stories
We’ve had our big party, our celebration of the second time we obtained our independence from Great Britain.
But another party, this time at the farthest corner of the Caribbean, will take place in the not-too-distant future to mark the first time black Americans obtained their independence from us.
A descendant of the Merikins, refugees from the Chesapeake region,
celebrates almost 200 years of freedom in Trinidad.The Trinidad Express.
It’s a little-known but dramatic story about slaves who, during the War of 1812, stole away from plantations all up and down the Chesapeake Bay. Many of them fought for the British against their former masters, and then, with their families, were relocated to distant British territories.
A history-minded reader after last week’s story about the so-called Corps of Colonial Marines, wondered how they could have fared in places where brutal slave conditions still existed. After all, Britain didn’t abolish slavery for two more decades.
Well, they fared quite well, apparently, despite the odds.
The escapees were trained at the south end of Tangier Island and proved themselves in numerous engagements, including the sacking of Washington.
After the war, the British refused to let them fall back into slave-owner hands. They transported the men and their families to Bermuda and then to Nova Scotia, where the climate, as well as the local reception, was more than a bit chilly.
Some wanted to go home, despite the consequences. But more than 700 of these “Merikens,” as they called themselves, clambered on board six British ships and set sail for Trinidad, a journey of over 2,000 nautical miles. This flight of blacks 50 years before the Emancipation Proclamation is unparalleled in history – and all but ignored.
The reader was right. Trinidad was still in the depths of slavery. Of 17,000 people living on the island in 1797, 10,000 were African slaves, toiling, and surely dying, in unspeakable conditions on sugar plantations.
What I’ve gleaned from excellent histories published online by Trinidad Express was that British knew this, and knew there was no way these people, led by trained freedom fighters, were going to fit in with that culture.
“The last thing the planters wanted was for these proud African-Americans, with a military past, to be in close contact with the enslaved people on the plantations.,” one of the stories says.
They landed on Aug. 15, 1816 at the remote south end of the island in an area now know as Princes Town, and formed separately named Company Villages. Each family unit was granted 16 acres, and they immediately began planting and harvesting basic foods – corn, cassava, bananas, rice and other small crops – for survival.
Some worked as blacksmiths, carpenters and masons. They labored as woodmen, felling trees for the new settlements, and built access roads. And they stayed away from the slave plantations.
“The Company Villages developed as self-contained communities of families, who were very proud of their American origins, their army history, and the fact that they had come to Trinidad as free people,” the newspaper adds.
Today there are thousands of descendents of the Merikens on the island. They recently mounted a first-ever exhibit at the National Museum in Port of Spain. Last year they celebrated the 195thyear of their arrival.
Just think what the 200th will be like in August 2016.
Some of the Merikens have long since left the island. Tina Dunkley, director of the Clark Atlanta University Art Gallery, is a descendent of some who migrated back to America.
“We in America are most familiar with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad,” she wrote. “But to excavate yet another epic saga of people who chose to relieve their souls on fire by escaping during a war, and taking up arms against their oppressor is just a story that must be shared.”
It’s a long way from Tangier Island to Trinidad, but it seems to me that telling the story might shorten the distance somewhat.
ROCKSTEADY TEA PARTY - Brighton, UK
So the time is counting down to one of the biggest events on the Caribbean Diaspora’s calendar! No… not the Olympics and Bolt winning Gold (although he certainly will with a new world record)… But the 50th anniversary of Independence for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in August!
And we here at EXIST hope to keep you informed on a variety of activities and events happening to commemorate the auspicious occasion…
First on our Independence calendar is… The Rocksteady Tea Party (Brighton Fringe Festival), Brighton, UK. Sunday 20th May, 17.30 - 22.30.
It features live music from Prince Fatty Soundsystem with Hollie Cook & Horseman. A chance to see films and documentaries through Jamaican film footage. Live performance from Zena Edwards. You will be greeted by Dub Save The Queen. There will be a chance to sample and buy coffee from the House of Blue Mountain Coffee and taste special Coffee Indulgence chocolates by Paul Wayne Gregory. One of the guests for the evening will be the songstress Sylvia Tella.
All this and much more…
Tickets: £10/ £7 concs. Family £28. Box Office. 01273 917272
For more info:
Caribbean Collections Showcase ‘In honour of Fashion and musical icon Grace Jones’ LONDON FASHION WEEK 17th-18th February 2012
The Caribbean’s leading fashion names are to showcase exceptional collections at London Fashion Week starting today…
Nell Robinson wearing Gavin Douglas (campaign image)
This season will celebrate the London Fashion Week debut of the Caribbean Collections exhibition, showcasing a selection of exceptional handpicked designers from fifteen islands across the Caribbean. The exhibition will feature collections from designers who have been influenced by a mixture of African, British, French and Spanish cultures and will culminate in a private dinner with leading Caribbean Supermodels Jeneil Williams and Jaunel McKenzie.
The exhibition honours some of the Caribbean’s most exceptional designers who have made great contributions to the fashion world. The diverse range of designs includes the classic cuts of Drenna Luna and Julan (Jamaica) to the avant-garde style of Posh Punk (Barbados) and the resort appeal of KAJ (Trinidad and Tobago).
Caribbean Collections also highlights designers who paved the way during the evolution of a regional design aesthetic including Meiling (Trinidad and Tobago) and Jenny Polanco (Dominican Republic). Jewellery from Peace-Is of Bianca (Jamaica) and handbags from Veve (Haiti) complete the showrooms collection.
2012 marks a significant year in Caribbean history as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago celebrate their Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years of Independence. Caribbean Collections is proudly set against a rich backdrop of the region’s ancestry and culture.
Chairman of the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association,** Kingsley Cooper** said, “This exhibition is really about showing the fashion industry that we have design talent to compete in a global arena. The contribution which the islands can make to fashion has gone under the world’s fashion radar for too long. We are delighted to be a part of London Fashion Week and as organisers of Caribbean Fashion week, we see this as a big step for Caribbean fashion, as we continue to develop our industry and position our designers to take their place on the world stage – our time is now.”
The Caribbean Collections exhibition is endorsed by some of the world’s most beautiful women, all hailing from the islands. Jeneil Williams who followed Kate Moss on the cover of LOVE and I-D magazines, adorned the cover of Italian Vogue and has fronted campaigns for Vivienne Westwood, Lanvin and Louis Vuitton, will join former Victoria Secrets model Nell Robinson and her fellow Jamaican supermodel and American Vogue favourite Jaunel McKenzie in supporting the collection.
The fashion showcase will take place at the Cosmopolitan Charing Cross Hotel’s Regency suite on 17th-18th February 2012, from 10am to 5pm.
Posted by: Steph Hernandez - Exist Media Editor-in-Chief