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.

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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*

 

 

 

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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)*

Baje International Launch 2017: This Is The Life

Baje are veterans in the Bajan costume game and as always their launch is highly anticipated by Crop Over lovers.

Parking

The parking was haphazard and people were parking as close as they could get to the venue. Unlike last year, I didn’t notice any extra security lighting or parking attendants.

Venue

George Washington House, I’m sure, is a great place to have a small intimate function, maybe a wedding reception, but, not for a venue with this many people.

Drinks

Looka! I dunno if they had gin but free rum punch was handed out at the door. I drank vodka most of the night because I was hoeing out myself for drinks. Not really, but the drinks were on the weak side but from what I saw there was a wide variety on hand.

Vibes

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Presentation of costumes

The theme of the band is This Is Life. I had no clue what the theme was prior to the launch so I didn’t have any expectations for the costumes.

A little birdie whispered to me that the costume presentation would start at 10:30, but we know that’s 11 or 11:30 Bajan time. True to form, the costumes came out at 11.

Y’all *audible sigh* I just felt underwhelmed.

Please don’t get me wrong most of the costumes were pretty…but they were just that… pretty…not the standout type that would make you start doing complex math to move your account from overdraft to purchase a costume.

The only section which stood out was the Firebird Section.

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Firebird Individual designed by Jin Forde and modelled by Leah Marville.  Giving us rich Middle Eastern trophy wife realness.

The male costumes, as with most bands, were the same remix of board shorts and nods to head and chest pieces. I didn’t think the male opening number could get any cheesier than last year but somehow they managed with a military boot camp style chant. Then they showcased the costumes to dancehall.

I still have not made the connection between the costumes and the theme.

You can see all of the costumes here.

Models

Again, gorgeous people with mostly little to no vibe.

There were, however a few bright sparks!

Megghan Michael is a stunner and brought an uptempo vibe to the stage.

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Raven modelled by fierce ass Megghan Michael.

The other bright spark was Gerston Blenman. Again, vibes grandfadda.

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At the end of the day, Baje costumes will look pretty on the road and I’m sure revellers will have a wonderful time but the launch just left me wanting more because I know they are capable of more.

*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)*

Xhosa Barbados Launch 2017: Pure

 

*struts in*

*drops down in right side lunge*

*shakes boxy*

Xhosa was lit. 

Go home, folks. This is all you need to know.

 

– Parking.

Parking was adequate and the area seemed really secure.

– Venue.

St. Anns Fort seems to be a favourite for Xhosa and I can understand why. It’s relatively secluded, easy to secure and it is breezy enough that patrons won’t be uncomfortable. The stage was a lot longer than last year and allowed for better viewing from all sided by interested patrons who wanted to capture the costumes for themselves.

-Vibes.

Listen.

Listen *clap* to *clap* me *clap*

Yuh see this ” We don’t pose. We party” slogan Xhosa has? They live by it. They get it right with each event. The DJs kept the hype going from beginning to end. The sets were sweet and each tune just seemed to build the hype more. After the costumes launched and Barry Hype and Patrick came on they threw some hip hop and dancehall in the mix. I would have preferred soca all night but after a certain amount of drinks have been drunk you will dance to anything as long as the beat is hype. I don’t think I was alone in wanting this but we took it on the chin and partied on.

-Drinks.

There was no gin. I dunno why y’all stay trying me. Yes, I know it was a cooler party but my personal level of petty demands that gin is at any event I go to even if I could have brought some from home.

(I ran out of Hendricks and was too busy with work to get more. Sue me)

-Presentation of costumes.

Sooo…

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Pure is Xhosa’s theme.

I don’t understand it. I didn’t see anything in the sections presented that makes any reference to purity. Pure vibes? Pure Bajans? Pure what?

I dunno.

Anyway… I like pretty things so I just let it slide.

The opening dance routine was on point and I wish to Versace that one day I, too, can have a boxy like any one of those dancers.

There were 4  sections out of the 10 presented that really caught my eye.

 

Scorch Bim always bring fyah costumes and this combo of white and gold was really gorgeous. I have to check out the situation for big busted women like myself when I see the costume in person but I loved all three versions of the costume.

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By Carlori’s costume. I just love how damn extra this costume is. Everything about it is over the top and wonderful.

 

 

-Models.

The Xhosa models, as usual, brought the hype to the stage. Again I seem to have a fave in Cassie-Marie St. John. Something about this woman brings a certain energy to the costume. Like I wanna be in her section just to do bad and juck down with her.

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Miss Hype (Cassie) dey so in de middle.

COLOR AND BODY DIVERSITY.
There was an effort.  I was totally wowed by the plus size section last year and was pleased to see Ashley Thornton reprising her role as Xhosa’s Plus Sized Hottie. I was really hoping to have seen a different design for the plus sized ladies but I still like that, again, a major Kadooment band included them.

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In short, which I never am, Xhosa launch and cooler party was bashy as <insert your curse word of choice>. I’m looking forward to seeing the costumes at the band house and the price points for the costumes. You can obviously keep up to date on Xhosa’s website.

 

*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)*

Zulu International Band Launch : Wanderlust

Hello?…inside?

Inside?

*uses Foghorn Leghorn voice*

INSIDE!!

Yes. I’m back. With slightly more manners than last year but I’m back. I’ve finally gotten over the Carnival flu I picked up in Trinidad this year and nursing a serious tabanca. When I tell you this tabanca bad I am not even kidding. There were a couple of days I was considering just giving up everything and using Gofundme to take me to the next carnival (but I have shame sometimes so no).

Despite the tabanca, I was shocked when I heard bands would be launching in March and fete tickets being sold already for the last week of Crop Over. Bajan promoters not making sport this year. They’re like “Yeah I see the economy in shambles so I giving y’all two extra months to get your coin together for Crop”. I’m not mad at them at all.

Zulu International tout themselves as the “fun band” so I was curious to see if the launch would live up to the slogan.

 

Parking

We parked on what we discovered to be the outskirts of the venue, mainly because there was no one to direct patrons to the more than adequate parking closer to the venue. No big thing though because as long as I’m not robbed I really don’t mind walking a bit to the fete.

Venue

Belleview Plantation. This was my first time at this location and I really like it. It was spacious and there was a cool breeze the entire night.

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Drinks

No gin.

Qu’est-ce que le fuck? I mean why? Why do y’all continue to oppress me like this? You don’t have gin but you have Passoa, like it’s 1998, and Ponche Kuba.

Yes, you read that right. Ponche Kuba was on sale by the bottle. I didn’t see any great-aunts in attendance so who was that Ponche Kuba for? I guess that’s what your sponsors gave you but… bruh no.

A friend and I ended up buying a bottle of vodka (regretting this currently)  because the bar was only selling by the bottle and the other friend drank Guinness.

Vibes

The vibe was ok. I mean just ok. You could tell the DJs were working hard to hype the crowd. It’s too far outside of Crop Over for a full hype fete.

Costumes

Zulu’s theme this year is Wanderlust. I went to the launch expecting to see the usual suspects for a wanderlust theme, China, India and Africa. I was kind of surprised at the depictions presented because they kept it mostly regional and didn’t do an African theme despite being named after an African ethnic group.

Each section, except the last, was preceded by a dance or martial art from the country being depicted.

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Barbados (Queen of the Band)

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Coachella Frontline

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Holi Frontline

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Chinese New Year Backline

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Jab Jab Frontline

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Rio Frontline Option B (Female Only Section)

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Passa Passa Backline

 

The overall production of the show was well done and the costumes are definitely a cut above last year but I didn’t see anything that made me gasp and immediately want to sign up. I’ll be going to the band house to look at them more closely, though. Most of the costumes were designed by Trinidadian duo Richard and Anthony who are fresh off the heels off Trinidad Carnival and a bacchanal with their section in Fantasy Carnival (maybe I’ll write about that in the near future).

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

 

 

Models

This is where I give Zulu full ratings. They models represented a wide spectrum of complexions, a variety of sizes and were mostly homegrown beauties.

The models sold the costumes and I find this to be sadly lacking at band launches. The Zulu models as soon as they touched the stage brought vibes and danced and carried on like it was Kadooment Day already.  When “Do It Fuh Daddy” comes on a model gives you a full juck down to the song then, yes, your models have sold your “fun band” slogan.

 

*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)*