Xhosa Barbados Launch 2018: Circle of Life

 

*stares in wine hangover*

*stares in sore quads and glutes*

*stares in bashment*

Once again Xhosa Barbados’ launch was lit. 

At this point, I could just copy and paste last year’s review but what fun would that be?

– Parking.

Lol the parking attendant by the Stadium has to be the most nonchalant being I have ever met and that’s saying something considering I spent two hours by myself with cats that didn’t know me in my friend’s house.

That aside, the parking area was definitely secured and close to the venue.

– Venue.

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Love the stage set up

This is my first time going to the NCC Botanical Gardens. Honestly, didn’t even know it existed. The walk to the venue was super dark and since it was in a natural setting the ground undulated (check me using all my Common Entrance words) so patrons had to take care where they were stepping. I loved the set up of the stage which enabled more patrons to see the costumes up close and to get decent photos.

-Vibes.

White girl bend over

Actual photo of me doing a 6:15. I’m 35…I am not throwing out my back to contort myself in a 6:30

The above is all you need to know.

-Drinks.

Didn’t bother to check the bar because I had a bottle of Apothic Red.

-Presentation of costumes.

Circle of Life and Xhosa came through with the goddesses (Ceres), death (Reaper) and aspects of the natural world (Lignum Vitae). I really enjoyed the sections and making the connection to the theme.

The presentation started with some West African dance and then came the costumes which were really beautiful, there was even some thought behind the men’s costumes, but definitely, there were some crowd faves.

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Love this mesh get up. Phoenix Option B, led by Punchy Punch and designed by Keisha Als.

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I would probably fight someone to be in any of the options for this section, Aja. Designed by Humzee and led by Richard Rollocks

View the all of the costumes here.

-Models.

Xhosa does the right thing by using dancers as models because the hype is always there on stage.

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Aisha Commisiong wearing the shit out of Christian Boucaud designed Ari.

COLOUR AND BODY DIVERSITY.

There was a good mix of skin tones and body types on the stage. Xhosa set the trend with this years ago and I’m pleased to see it was not a one-off situation.

I had a great time and I hope Xhosa continues in this vein for their road experience this year.

* Do Dixie is affiliated with no band or business for Crop Over. I do run Juck Down, a 12- week women-only training program designed to make women Crop Over sexy and do dixie on the road during the season (and yes this is a completely shameless plug)*

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Zulu Int’l 2018: Hidden In the Stars

Wunna.

Wunna!

Um is me.

I’m back to review your fave bands and some of the ones you love to hate as well. After a lacklustre Trini Carnival experience due to illness, I’m dying for some diamantes, feathers and aspirational bodies back in my life.

So here we are with Zulu leading the pack once again by launching early as France. I’ve been busy with work so the launch almost caught me unawares but wunna know there is no stopping the dibby.

PARKING

My buddy, Paula, and I arrived around 5 pm to the venue which enabled us to get a decent parking spot (or so I thought because when I left my car was covered in bird shit ugh). Even though there is limited parking available it worked because Zulu management capped the number of launch patrons this year so there wasn’t any double parking or anything to make yuh fling up yuh skirts and carry on.  The parking attendants were super polite and even parked some people’s cars for them.

VENUE

Queen’s Park.

I have not been to the park since I gave up going on Christmas morning with my grandmother (God rest her calypso loving soul). I think this venue was boss because there is a lot of Barbadiana attached to it. If you haven’t been to fairs, primary school sports, Agrofest or parading your Xmas outfit there then you’re either not Bajan or were very sheltered. There was a cool breeze the entire time and it was just plain old nice to be somewhere different for a change.

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DRINKS

No gin.

But I’ve accepted my fate as an alcohol pariah and I’ve learned to lower my expectations and there will never be any gin when I go to fetes.

After being searched at the door, which I was glad for cuz there are just too many mad ass people out there, we were given a chit for a complimentary drink. I thought that was great especially since the launch was free.

I can’t comment on the prices of the drinks because I’m cutting back on my alcohol consumption and just had the one drink.

VIBES

So Zulu tried something different this year and I think it worked. They opted for a smaller crowd with a more intimate setting. They experimented with limited patrons, in a more intimate setting at the legendary Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre.  Despite the very late start, the vibe was appropriate for the setting.m I didn’t come expecting to pooch back and fling my braids around but I did expect to be entertained and they delivered on that.

COSTUMES

Hidden In The Stars  is this year’s theme. I came in expecting costumes depicting the signs of the zodiac but what we got was just as interesting. Most of the costumes were named after celestial bodies, space expeditions and solar systems. Each section was preceded by an explanation/ skit by Simon Alleyne. The nerd in me really appreciated that.

The costumes were…nice. Just nice. Kind of like having a vegan brownie when you really wanted to have a ridiculous one covered in fudge and cheesecake. I didn’t have that “Oh gawdddd I must have that” moment once during the presentation. The main designer was David Dewer, with other designs by Natalie Fonrose of Fonrose The Brand, Kat Gittens and Janiece Springer.

The male costumes…lmao…night sky board shorts in different colours but the guys who jump with Zulu are usually into the juck downs and not the aesthetic anyway so I guess it’s ok.

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Aurora- Northern Lights would definitely be an option for me if I decide to jump with Zulu. Love this cut out monokini style.

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Milky Way Frontline by Fonrose. I knew this was her work without being told. Definitely her aesthetic and my first choice for Zulu.

 

You can view all of the costumes on Zulu’s Facebook page

MODELS

As usual, Zulu gets high ratings for their models.

I got my entire life from the models. First of all, they don’t take themselves too seriously and aren’t strutting on stage like they are the next Jourdan Dunn (not shitting on anyone’s dreams btw.

The male models were very entertaing and showed us what the bar was for Zulu revellers i.e ripped bodies and stiff jucks.

 

Nandi Yard was, again one, of my faves this year.

 

You ever heard of winning the genetic lottery? Well, the mother-daughter team of Rose Hategekimana and Mutamuliza Cutting won it like 4 times. Flawless.

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Rose’s melanin popping so damn severely *insert longest yass ever*

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Mutamuliza wearing her costume flawlessly.

I do have one caveat though…it would have been great to have plus-sized models as well.

*Disclaimer (cuz people love to run dem mout): Do Dixie is affiliated with no band or business for Crop Over. I do run Juck Down, a 12- week women-only training program designed to make women Crop Over sexy and do dixie on the road during the season (and yes this is a completely shameless plug)*

 

Erup Band Launch 2017: Beyond Borders

Erup is a newbie to the Crop Over game but definitely not a band to be slighted.

Parking

The parking wasn’t organised and patrons slotted in where they could as close to the venue as they could get. There wasn’t any additional security lighting.

Venue

The Barbados Museum is always a nice venue for a party, with its picturesque buildings and intimate feel, however, the stage took up most of the available space and it was quite hot for patrons after a while.

Drinks

Y’all dem ain’t had no gin but I used to this now and drank some good rum and Cokes instead. The bar was a little slow but the bartenders were pleasant so I didn’t mind too much.

Vibes

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There was plenty of vibes at the launch. From the line to enter the venue patrons were bouncing to the music and clearly just ready to have a good time. When I arrived, Scott Le Rock and Mali Fresh were playing and several patrons were wukkin up and just generally moving to the music.

After the presentation of the costumes Stiffy (hey boo if you’re reading this… I LAV YOUUUUUU).

*ahem*

Stiffy performed and hyped the crowd up even further.

Presentation of costumes

Erup’s theme is Beyond Borders. I expected your typical countries of India, China…you know… all the go-to exotic countries but nah! They brought some interesting portrayals of festivals in Nepal, Morroco and Ghana.

Bay *clap* beeeee *clap* did they commit to their theme.

Each section was introduced by a dance which included moves and elements from each culture they were portraying. It really felt like they did their research and put thought into developing the theme.

 

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Production Coordinators Shari Pollard- Payne and Justin Poleon setting the vibe for the launch with their opening dance.

 

Erup’s costumes were Fan-tas-tic! FANTASTIC you hear me. There were no run of the mill costumes! There was definitely thought put into the design of the male costumes, which is definitely a breath of fresh air for me. All of the costumes had a unique element and I can’t say that I have an overwhelming favourite.

 

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Vanessa Gilkes modelling the showstopper costume, designed by Rawle Permanand.

 

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Male offering by Rawle Permanand.

 

 

If I did have a favourite it would be the section designed by Akin of Stronjeh International.

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Stronjeh International section

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*heart eyes*

 

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So here for how extra those boots are.

 

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Stronjeh’s designer Akin

 

This launch was so well produced. Kudos to the production coordinators, Shari Pollard-Payne and Justin Poleon (I want to come back as him in my next incarnation. He is everything. Lawd). Their dance choreography, choice of diversely shaped dancers was refreshing. It was truly a beautiful display of Bajan talent.

 

You can keep up to date on their website here.

Models

If I wanted models for a band launch I would hire every last one of Erup’s models. They all did the job of showcasing the costume and still bringing a vibe to each section. It’s obvious they were well trained. The models were so good that my friends and I asked each other if they had to attend a wukkup and vibe audition to be in the launch.

There was a wide variety of skin tones and body shapes and sizes, which is so refreshing because honestly, it becomes frustrating to have to guess how a costume would look on your colour or shape.

Erup’s second year showing was fabulous and I had a fantastic time. If they are able to replicate the launch for the road they will easily take their place as one of the Kadooment Day titans.

*Disclaimer (cuz people love to run dem mout): Do Dixie is affiliated with no band or business for Crop Over. I do run Juck Down, a 12- week women only training program designed to make women Crop Over sexy and do dixie on the road during the season (and yes this is a completely shameless plug)*

Krave The Band Launch 2018

I’ve been busy this past weekend attending all these launches for your (and mostly my) gratification so let’s get straight into it.

Venue

Fiddlewood Park was so cold.Yes, yes I know spring is taking for ever to come and there’s a snowstorm and blah, blah, blah! It’s relative and it was cold for Bim.Other than that it was quite spacious and there was room for patrons to dance and socialize.

KFC Pop Down Bucket

Most pop down bucket of chicken I’ve ever seen

Parking

It was well lit and there were really helpful parking attendants who made sure there was no double parking etc.

Drinks

I’ll spare y’all my usual diatribe about my fave liquor. There was free rum, vodka and beer and if left up to their own devices the Heineken girls would have built a fortress of canned Heineken around you the way they were giving out those beers.

Vibes

This was a fete where the vibe built as the night went on. There was a mix of dancehall and soca and at this point I just not gonna fight that particular battle anymore.Motto from St. Lucia performed but I think at that point people were more interested in the costumes to come so he didn’t get too much of a response. I left before Lil Natty and Thunda and Iwer performed because…a girl is old.

Presentation of costumes

Beating their previous record of unveiling costumes at 1:06 a.m. Krave blessed us with this year’s presentation at 2:31 a.m.

Their theme was “Year of the Savage”. I was really interested to see how they would portray this as this could easily be seen as referencing indigenous peoples negatively. Nomenclature aside it was a brilliant and innovative depiction of the clothing used by indigenous peoples all over the world. Each costume incorporated elements of the cultures, mostly through prints and accessories, while giving you the Krave extraness and bling.

I’m here for it. All of the costumes were effing beautiful.

Mesoa

If I had to pick a fave, Mesoa which paid homage to Mesoamerican (Central American) cultures, would be it. Here we have all variations of the costume (Low key sound like I on National Geographic nuh)

Iskaba

Iskaba section.Yass come through and honour West African cultures Krave come through. I love this so much.

Tracy Boyce and company slayed the designs again this year.

Models

Flawless as usual.

Mix of nationalities as usual.

Vibes as usual.

C’est tout.

Krave launched their 5th-anniversary band in grand style and can’t wait to see them on the road.

* I am affiliated with no band or business for Crop Over. I’m just a complete Crop Over lover who runs  Juck Down Bootcamp, which helps people to improve their fitness to do dixie on the road during the season (and yes that is a complete and shameless plug)*

Erup Band Launch 2018: Hidden Treasures

I missed Khepri Kulture’s launch cuz I old and pop down but somehow I managed to stay awake long enough to attend Erup’s Launch at George Washington House.

Parking

When I arrived there weren’t many patrons so parking was easy. As usual with this particular venue, people park along the Garrison Savannah whilst trying their best not to impede the customers of the business women and men who work there.

Venue

George Washington House is a hit or miss venue for me. It’s nice if you don’t have a large number of people because it gets hot very quickly.  The stage took up most of the space in the venue but that was a good thing, I think because we were able to see the details of the costumes easily from the crowd.

Drinks

Wunna tired of me and gin yet?

^^ Rhetorical question

The bar was pretty decent especially the Stoli cocktail bar which gave you gummy worms in your drink.The bartenders were awesome and even modified my cocktail to accommodate my allergies.

Vibes

Man, look, de ting was dead and I don’t even feel like it was for lack of trying.

Big Red-

*TURN AROUND FOR BIG REDDDDDD TOUCHHH YUH TOESS FUHHH BIG REDDDD*

I real sorry but my love for that dibby classic knows no bounds and I will stop anywhere I am to sing and dance to it.

But I digress.

Big Red and the other DJs were awesome and played some really good sets but the crowd just wasn’t into it. Level with me man. Elections got wunna? De economy got wunna? Wunna get horn?

Nick Young confused

But also I won a bottle of champagne because I knew the theme of last year’s band. I pulled up the blog on my phone and found the name. Y’all should probably bookmark this site if you want to win tings too.

Presentation of costumes

The theme this year was “Hidden Treasures”.

I want Erup to give a master class on theme portrayal because they always execute.This year they scaled back on the drama and theatrics of last year and said “huh! tekk dese  costumes. Like dem and guh home.”

The female costumes were beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I think they really took a step back from their male costume designs this year which is a big disappointment for me tbh.

I have two strong favourites (butmy pics sucked more than usual so I’m linking to their Instagram for you.)

White Diamonds had me gagging!!

HEL-LO Ametrine!!

You can keep up to date on their Instagram page here.

Models

To quote fellow blogger Luke Lascaris ” What I learned tonight is that a bad bitch turns 18 every day”. Lemme tell you the way I cackled. Lmao

He’s right though. There were so many fresh faces at the launch. They danced, they strutted and brought an energy to the stage. I thought it was smart to put the darker models in costumes that made their skin pop and it made the costume come alive.

* Do Dixie is affiliated with no band or business for Crop Over. I do run Juck Down, a 12- week women only training program designed to make women Crop Over sexy and do dixie on the road during the season (and yes this is a completely shameless plug)*

Xhosa Kadooment Day 2017

 

A not so short review of my experience with Xhosa Barbados this year.

Registration

The registration process was simple and easy to navigate. Go to website. Put in information.Wait for approval. Pay online or head into the band house and pay your 50% deposit with cash or cheque. I chose the latter for myself and my two friends who were coming from Trinidad.

I chose Scorch Oro Queen, the frontline option.

Distribution 

Let me start with the good.


Scorch Bim distribution was everything a costume distribution should be. Timely, staff was friendly and pleasant, shout out Shabier St. John, who contributed significantly to me having a wonderful experience. He chatted, explained how to put on the costume and made sure I had the true Queen experience. When I didn’t receive the thong bottom I ordered he immediately went to rectify the situation. I opted to just take the “mistake” bottom after I tried it on though.

I was under the impression that most other sections were experiencing the same smooth distribution but chileee nahhhhhh.

I first caught wind that there might be some distribution issues coming up on Wednesday evening. I was told that some sections hadn’t arrived due to customs issues.  I was expecting to see an announcement on social media or email keeping masqueraders abreast of the situation but saw nothing.

Ok so a few days passed and I keep hearing some of the costumes still hadn’t arrived. So yuh know people were cruel by now wondering what was happening. Still no announcement. Then on Saturday night an Instagram post (which has since been removed) informed masqueraders who hadn’t received their costumes to come down to the bandhouse to collect them.

What really made me do my best Maxine Walters impression is the fact that there was no kinda explanation given for the costumes arriving late.

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Please stop treating us, the customers, like we are dumb asses. We understand that there are some factors beyond your control.  What IS in your control is the narrative you present to your customers. It would have been so easy to say to those affected by the late arrival of costumes that they were held up in customs or whatever the specific problem was. Like just let people feel like they are part of the process.

But nah, instead Xhosa seemed to be fine with people shelling in the band house and being irate.

I have a friend who had to hodge podge pieces of costumes from previous years to make a full costume because her sizes were off and the rest of the costume was poorly made.

Costume

I absolutely loved my costume and had zero issues with it. It was well made. Everything stayed intact all the way to Spring Garden. It was gorgeous and I felt superb in it. Thank you Scorch Bim.

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Road Experience

Breakfast

Xhosa offered breakfast to their masqueraders. I arrived at the stadium around 10:30 and breakfast was finished. I heard from other people who said the breakfast consisted of  baked beans and Vienna sausages.

White guy blinking meme

I wasn’t surprised because last year it was similar so I filled my belly from home with not Vienna sausages and baked beans. I, genuinely, want to know how hard or expensive it would be to organize boxed foods for masqueraders so that everyone receives said breakfast and you can get something other than bubble guts inducing food. Some  ham or fish cutters bwould have gone a long way to making that a pleasant experience.

Similarly, you KNOW, how long it takes to cross the stage and how damn brutal the sun can be Kadooment Day. I mean Kadooment Yeshua blessed us with a sun that ensured that our makeup and costumes would be visible yet somehow you found it necessary to spit in his face. I spent a good two hours waiting to go across the stage with nothing but some lukewarm water from a barrel. Bottle water was too hard fam?

Stupse.

Despite the breakfast hiccoughs, I was ready to get on the road and party hard.

My bad I guess.

Cuz sprinting behind a truck is not my idea of partying. Again, I know this may have been out of your control with the NCF and Crop Over being what it is but, while my conditioning is pretty decent it was tough to keep up with the truck and actually get a dance in.

Let’s talk about drinks on the road.

Man look, you cannot have runners and the runners not have water easily available when the sun is literally scorching.

I am so glad that Scorch provided a snow cone man for the masqueraders in their section. Large up Dexter The Snow Cone Man because without him I feel like I would have passed out on the road.

But what about other sections?  There were people behind the last truck who were just searching for water like they were in the Sahel desert. How is that cool? The drinks truck was sprinting down the road, the runners were rushing through the crowd and shoving you out the way like they had specific people they wanted to serve and had to get to them.

Security

This is by far my biggest grouse.

Why were the security ropes 2 inches long?

Why were stormers in the band from Station Hill?

Why am I smelling musty ass men with no Xhosa armbands before they accosted you for dances?

Do y’all care about your masqueraders?

Especially your women masqueraders?

Why did I have to threaten a stormer with violence because he was harassing my friend repeatedly?

Y’all seriously dropped the ball with this. I mean this is one of the main reasons many women choose to be in a band.

Safety *clap* on *clap* the *clap* road.

Music


Listen. To. Me.

I went to Carnival this year. I am so sick of RH Trini music. We had a fantastic season music wise this year. So why did it sound like some of the contenders for Road March were from Trinidad? Play de damn well Bajan 2017 music. Every time one of the songs from Crop this year played the crowd got so hype. And then it would go back to Trini music and it would be a dead chip. My bad, for expecting the DJs to keep us hype on the road.

Stupse

( I didn’t realize how annoyed I actually I am until I wrote this).

And can we stop with the dancehall and Wild Thoughts on the road. I mean good Christ man. We have the whole year to hear these genres. Just for one day can we bash out to some Bajan soca?!?!?!!?

I was ready to go home by Black Rock. I was going to take me and my juck out eye feathers on a ZR and go up the hill home. I didn’t because we lost one member of our crew and we had to find her, so we went down to Spring Garden.

We didn’t take any lunch because my mum, being the person she is, cooked food for us to have after the jump. I’m glad because the food line looked like Federation and I’m hearing reports of there not being enough food and scuffling in the line for food.

This was my worst jump ever. I’ve been doing this almost every year for the last 18 years and this is hands down the worst experience I have had. Y’all can do so much better. I know y’all can because I experienced it the last two years. Communicate with your masqueraders, be up front and honest and be aware that when people pay over a certain price point they expect a certain level of service.

*Up until 8:20 am, Wednesday, August 9th, 2017  there has been no public acknowledgement  on social media that patrons are upset and not pleased with their experience*