OLIVIA RICHMAN — General Assignment Reporter
Trinidad. Jamaica. Puerto Rico. These, among others, were represented by various performances in the Caribbean Showcase last week, hosted by the West Indian Society. The Caribbean Showcase had 21 acts, all of different talents and cultures, who all came together for one night to celebrate the culture of the Caribbean.
“The WIS organization’s motto is ‘Divided By Water, United By Culture,’” said Latish Whyte, the president of the West Indian Society. “We wanted to bring to light the different cultures of the Caribbean. It’s a way to show the true potential and talents of others and embrace our culture and show it to other cultures and nations as well. We want to enlighten them.”
The Caribbean Showcase, which took place in the Adanti Student Center’s Ballroom, had chairs set up on either side facing each other, so both sides could look up the aisles and see the performances center stage.
The performances ranged from singing, poetry and rapping to fashion scenes and dance groups. Most of the performances represented the Caribbean in some way. They rapped along with reggaetone beats and recited poetry about being Puerto Rican. They danced to Jamaican dancehall music. They modeled clothes inspired by the island’s couture.
Dennis “Fly Booga” Ward took part in the showcase. He danced to some dancehall music that the DJ, Akeem Elliot, and him thought up.
“I’m going to mix it up a little,” he said before his performance.
Ward, whose mother was born in Kingston, Jamaica, had been dancing “all [his] life, for 23 years.”
“Ever since I could walk,” he said, “I’ve been dancing.”
Ward was just one of the many participants who made the Caribbean Showcase a success. Whyte said she believed the showcase was a success because of the help from all the different groups that took part in putting together the event (F.L.O.W., Steppin’ Up Drill Team, Multicultural Organizations, Men About Business, the sororities and fraternities that participated) and all of the positive feedback from the supporters.
“We got a lot of positive feedback,” said Whyte, a mathematics major at SCSU. “Not only from Southern students, but from the supporters from UConn as well, who came to the event on their free time on Wednesday night to support the showcase.”
The Caribbean Showcase has been a tradition since 2009 and Whyte wanted to bring it back to life this year. She had a vision of cultures embracing each other and getting across the culture, beauty and other aspects of the Caribbean culture.
“My favorite part was definitely the finale,” said Whyte. “It was so live and welcoming. Both of my E-board members worked together and used their creativity to create the pieces, whether it be fashion or actual artwork.”
Whyte said the finale mirrored that of the celebrations in the Caribbean countries.
“All the Caribbean countries have carnivals,” she said, “where you dress up and show your true culture. Everyone dances and becomes lively. They embrace their culture and show unity, fun and life. It’s amazing to see it through art pieces. So colorful and vivid!”
The WIS Organization is already planning to have another Caribbean Showcase next year.