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Born in Brooklyn to Guyanese parents, I was surrounded by West Indian culture. The music, the food, and the annual Labor Day parade were a critical part of my childhood.
However, it was not until I went to Trinidad to study “Trinidad Carnival, Culture, and History” with Dr. Milla Riggio and playwright Tony Hall that I really understood my culture. Those five months were grueling: lectures by author Earl Lovelace, an internship at The Trinidad and Tobago Review with Lloyd Best, and a course on West Indian literature taught by activist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh. With all of the fetes and pan yard sessions, I barely had enough energy to play j’ouvert with rapso band 3 Canal and jump up in Peter Minshall’s mas band on Carnival Tuesday.
This experience sparked in me a love for carnival culture that burns to this day. My goal is to experience all of the Carnivals around the world at least once, but with Atlantic City and Los Angeles having their inaugural parades in 2011 and other cities looking to follow suit, this might take a while.
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