ATLANTA — As the world continues to shrink not in actual size, but by the advancement of technology that continues to facilitate seamless and immediate visual communication, Caribbean people will get the opportunity to watch the Caribbean disaspora living in the United States — more specifically Atlanta, Georgia — recreate the heart of Caribbean culture — carnival — on the mainland during the Memorial Day Weekend.
The Virgin Islands Consortium will be carrying live this year’s Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival — including j’ouvert morning, the parade and events organized by Virgin Islanders such as “VI All De Way” and “Cooler Jam”.
Four VI Consortium team members are on their way to Atlanta to facilitate the company’s live stream of the event, which will be broadcast on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
On Tuesday, The Consortium interviewed Virgin Islander and major Atlanta promoter Levi Macheen, who owns Startime Promotions, for his thoughts on the upcoming festivities.
“This year is going to be a phenomenal year,” Mr. Macheen said of the Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival, which is celebrating its 30th year. “We have the only j’ouvert in the United States of America; we’re actually on the road in the United States, that is not happening nowhere right now in the U.S.”
The j’ouvert morning event will feature a host of Caribbean diaspora — including Trinidad, Barbados and the Virgin Islands, just to name a few, — reveling from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Friday. The j’ouvert also comes with a variety of sections, including “Critical Damage”, “Wear White” and “Paradise”, among others, Mr. Macheen said. Also part of the j’ouvert morning will be the Jab Jab from Grenada, a well recognized group of revelers who oil themselves in black (read Jab Jab history here).
The parade happens on Saturday, and it too is expected to be grand, with a colorful and diverse mix of Caribbean people transforming Atlanta for the day with Caribbean culture. Both the j’ouvert morning and parade events take place at Mall Parkway in Stonecrest, Georgia.
Another major event for the Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival is “VI All De Way”. It includes a host of Virgin Islands bands and entertainers, including “Big Band” and ubiquitous disc jokey DJ Avalanche, among others. The Department of Tourism will have ambassadors on site during this event to promote the territory as being “Still Nice”, and will be giving away 500 VI Tourism t-shirts during the affair. VI All De Way, historically grand, is expected to bring out a high number of Virgin Islanders living in Georgia, according to Mr. Macheen.
“You can expect the numbers,” Mr. Macheen assured. “That’s the time that VI people come out and really unite. Everybody has been bottled up from the hurricanes, and especially those who moved following the storms and never got a chance to go home for carnival, so this will be the time that they come out and enjoy themselves.”
VI Consortium events host, Sacha Alexander, will be present. Photographer Kareem Alexander will also be on site for all the events, along with other VIC employees and founder, Ernice Gilbert.
Our journalists Wyndi Ambrose and Amaziah George will be covering local events.