“Ferguson is a quintessential example of social inequality in the States, but also an example of what is taking place in other nations across the planet.”
The killing of 18 year-old Michael Brown on August 9th and consequent rioting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri has become one of the biggest racial profiling murder case in the United States since the shooting of Trayvon Martin. So far, there has been a lot of inconsistent news surrounding this case coming in from the police and eyewitness accounts. To this day, it is still unclear what happened in the final moments of Brown’s life. What we know is that there was some altercation between Brown, who was unarmed and the police officer who shot him, Darren Wilson (28).
According to the police department, Wilson feared for his life when he shot Brown six times. The police department has stated many contradictory statements regarding how the altercation started. At first, they claimed that it was related to a robbery that took place earlier that day, the next day that statement got retracted, only for the police to re-claim its veracity later on. Witness accounts on the other hand, vary a great deal with some witnesses claiming that officer Wilson was taunting and threatening Brown. According to the autopsy report, Brown’s hands were up in the air and he was on his knees surrendering when the fatal shot hit him in the head.
There is a lot of criticism in the media regarding the situation in Ferguson. According to critics, police shootings automatically become a race issue if the victim is black. Same thing happened in the Trayvon Martin case, although not a police incident. What we are seeing here is a shift in narrative. African Americans, who are customarily demonized in the media are for once, shown as victims and the viewers are connecting to their stories. Also, now that we have so much access to information, we are actually seeing what police brutality looks like. Less than a week ago, 25 year-old Kajieme Powell was shot death by the police just 4 miles away from where Michael Brown was killed. A bystander filmed the incident and the footage is chilling. We see Powell on the video holding a knife and screaming erratically at the police: “shoot me, shoot me.” It is clear that he was not in the right state of mind. As a matter of fact, from what we can see, he was moving away from the police when he was gunned down.
What about the streets of Ferguson? Journalists are out there reporting the protests and are threatened, attacked and arrested by the police with no charge. There is zero respect for the media, so we can’t even begin to imagine how residents are treated. We have read stories of people have been arrested for just standing on the sidelines. The scariest thing is that the police have armed themselves with state of the art military equipment. To top things off tear gas and rubber bullets are used everyday on unarmed protesters.
Ferguson is a small county of 21.000 people with a long history of racial tensions and police brutality. Over two-thirds of its residents are black, but its mayor and four out of its five City Council Members are white. Public schools are predominantly white and less than 5% of the town’s police officers are black. Economic conditions for the Ferguson community have been worsening for years. Between 2000 and 2010, Ferguson’s poor doubled with one in four residents living below the federal poverty line. So even though Ferguson’s blacks are living in a community where they are the majority group, they are powerless and have no voice what so ever. There is no government representation and no one to look after the black community’s interest. Whites on the other hand, are clueless about the unemployment rate of black Americans, which is twice as high than for white Americans. Studies have shown that an average white household has 22 times as much wealth as an average black one. So people are pretty much forced to organize protests. What other outlet do they have? How else will their voices be heard?
Activists Deliver Petition Calling On Justice Dept Investigation Into Mike Brown Killing Caption:WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 28: Demonstrators shout slogans as they gather in front of the White House to deliver nearly 950,000 signatures August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. The demonstrators called on the Justice Department to fully investigate, prosecute, and fire all police officers involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Solidarity With Ferguson Protesters Demonstration Caption:LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 27: A small protest is held outside the US Embassy in a show of solidarity with Ferguson protesters in the USA, on August 27, 2014 in London, England. Michael Brown, an 18 year-old unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the nearby town of Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. His death caused several days of violent protests along with rioting and looting in Ferguson (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The Bigger picture
Because of the racism narrative, a petition is going around for congress to introduce the Mike Brown Law. The law binds the police force by law to wear lapel cameras at all times. This will help police the police and it would be interesting to see police arrests and shootings of African American males statistics within the next decade. People tend to behave differently if they know that they are being watched. It would be very interesting to conclude once and for all if social dominance and authoritarianism is at play here (disposition) rather than each situation treated unbiased.
“A Parallel With Brazil”
One thing is for sure, without some sort of civil action and organization change is not going to come. Blacks in Brazil, for instance, may be even worse off than in the States. Contrary to African Americans, Afro-Brazilians never had a national Civil Rights Movement. Killings in Favelas, by the police far exceed those in the U.S. It is common knowledge that most shootings are premeditated executions with rarely any repercussions for the police. For decades, Brazil has proudly presented itself as a racial democracy; a term coined by Gilberto Freyre in his 1933 magnum opus Casa-Grande e Senzala (The Masters and the Slaves).
Activists And Community Members Demonstrate Against Police Killings Caption:RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 22: Demonstrators march through the Manguinhos favela to protest against police killings of blacks on August 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Every year, Brazil’s police are responsible for around 2,000 deaths, one of the highest rates in the world. Many of the deaths in Rio involve blacks killed in favelas, also known as slums. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The idea behind this concept is that Brazil is a society without color barriers. People from all races live in harmony with one another and have equal access to wealth and power. In other words, racism does not exist. However, the reality is that blacks in Brazil have very little representation in politics, media or in white-collar jobs. Furthermore, they blindly believe that they are victim to classism, not racism, thus they remain clueless at the injustices being done to them on a daily basis. Small groups do undertake action and once in a while something like affirmative action is accomplished, but very little progress has been made in the last century. It is clear that black Brazilians have accepted their inferior position in society and live for carnival where their dreams come to life.
BRAZIL-BLACK-MARCH Caption:A protester wearing earings with the map of Africa takes part in the International March Against the Genocide of Black People in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
“The Dutch Problem”
The black communities in the Netherlands have a similar issue. Granted, compared to the States and Brazil, black men in The Netherlands have a much higher survival rate. Also, pretty much everyone has equal access to education, but that’s where it pretty much ends. Statistics show that there is a lot of workplace discrimination and the employment rate for educated non-white Dutch nationals is relatively low. Also, to complicate things even further, racism also “doesn’t exist” in the Netherlands. In Dutch rhetoric there is Allochtoon (originating from another country, even if you are second generation) and Autochtoon (Dutch nationals). It is a clever way to remain ominous about what we are actually talking about here, racial classification. Only in this situation everyone who is not white is pushed in one group. So by steering clear of official racial classifications, we in fact erase racism as an issue, it simply does not “exist” in the Netherlands.
Caption:Demonstrators hold placards as they sit inside the City Hall of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on August 28, 2014, to protest against the appeal of Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan against a court ruling in July that he must reassess the granting of a licence for the Sint Nicolaas procession last December. That ruling said he must look again at whether he should have given the go-ahead for the procession because he had not taken the European Human Rights Convention into account with regard to the figure of Zwarte Piet. AFP PHOTO / ANP / KOEN VAN WEEL **netherlands out** (Photo credit should read Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images)
The Netherlands has another variable. Blacks in the Netherlands are as disintegrated as in the Caribbean, but in this case there is an extra dose of hatred to go along with it. Surinamese and Antilleans’ generally dislike and mistrust one another, a convenient fact that halts the fight for racial equality. In this respect they are far more behind that the African Americans. Dutch Blacks could have the power to affect change, something that does happen in the U.S. In the Netherlands, members of the Caribbean Diaspora have to yet, unanimously, address the beast (racism) by its name. They still need their own Civil Rights Movement and to understand the role of blackness in the Netherlands.
Looking back at another edition of Paradise World, where EDM met Caribbean rhythms, the budding festival with its ambitious organizers, who one day hope to rival the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, can look back with satisfaction. Paradise World was launched in 2012, as an intimate yet energetic event that is slowly evolving into a reputable and characteristic destination festival, with renowned headliners like Diplo from Major Lazer and enfant terrible Skrillex.
This year, Paradise World expanded its wings by partnering with the renowned Winter Music Festival based in Miami, and added a two-day music conference to the mix. The execution of the latter definitely left some room for improvement. The laid-back vibe that Paradise World is known for was taken to another level and raised quite a few eyebrows during the conference. The Q&A of Day 1 was exceptionally delayed due to the hectic partying schedule of certain participants. After distinguished guests like Bill Kelly, founder and director of WMC, and Esteban Mendez of Paradise World, finally graced us with their presence, the attendants fired off their burning questions to the panel.
An array of subjects was discussed, like Kelly’s views about ranking lists of international DJs, “not a fan due to the politics involved”, and finally what the panel’s advice was for local DJs who want to expand their wings internationally. Kelly gracefully replied that “the local DJ should work on its popularity on the home front first and establish its brand, to then find proper booking and representation abroad”. Additionally he was asked about the role of females in the male dominated world of EDM music and what effect the oversexed model-turned-DJ persona had on the industry. “With DJing, true talent quickly weeds out the wannabes from the pros, however I recognize that sex has always sold and some women choose to use that to their advantage”, Kelly concluded. “But the over-sexualisation can hurt the female DJ in the long run, so the focus should always be on the music”, both Kelly and Mendez agreed.
After the Q&A, the party continued around the Renaissance pool with its scenic ocean view, where Aruba’s DJ extraordinaire Nutzbeatz launched his most recent remix of the club banger ‘Bon Vibe’ and entertained the cool collective of enthusiasts with his captivated selections.
Day 2 of the conference kicked off with an animated Q&A with Kuenta i Tambú or KIT, who launched their much talked about production called ‘Santa Electra’ featuring famed tambú singer Doña Elia Isenia.
The video clip was directed by Selwyn de Windt and the song was produced by talented Clifford Goilo, both present to discuss their roles in the production. The panel was also attended by KIT group members Diamanta and Roël Calister, who discussed the idea behind the captivating clip and let an animated discussion about its meaning. “Santa Electra is the perfect blend between traditional and modern music, fiction and reality, and can mean a variety of things to many people”, they concluded. Again the party continued around the pool, where KIT gave an impromptu performance that jump started the festivities, which continued in Club Bermuda until the early hours.
The conference concluded with an interesting Q&A with several local EDM festival organizers, amongst others the Martel brothers of Su’legria and the organizers of the Amnesia Music Festival, who shared their thoughts on how to grow their respective events into destination festivals by adding to and improving the Curaçao entertainment export product.
Finally on Saturday it was the turn for Diplo, who surprised the audience by returning to the stage with Major Lazer, in addition to the much anticipated performance of Skrillex. The gentlemen didn’t disappoint and put on an animated 90-minute show, yet failed to blow away the audience with the theatrics like Major Lazer did the previous year. Maybe Diplo and Skrillex were a bit weary of all the traveling or the Curaçao audience failed to impress altogether, yet whatever the reason was for the somewhat lackluster performance, it was gut-wrenching to observe the animo deflate after a while for such skilled performers. This could have been attributed to the fact that the audience was significantly smaller and younger, however the ambiance was relaxed and the people seemed like they were having a good time.
The preshow started early with forgettable performances of a few up-and-coming American DJ’s. An unquestionable exception of the night was the performance of DJ Alex Sargo, who was clearly having a good time and kept the audience on its feet with his pulsating beats and impressive showmanship. Poor Alex Sargo was clearly the savior of the preshow as he was instructed to replace a DJ who was unceremoniously taken off stage, because he clearly wasn’t in synch with the Paradise World vibe.
Despite these minor hiccups, the 2014 edition of Paradise World proved to be an overall success. Nevertheless, if the organizers want to give the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival a run for their money, they should take their conference participants more seriously and add more content to the encounters. This edition tried to be too many things to too many people and it appeared that the attention was more on partying and having fun, than growing the brand. If Paradise World is here to stay, they need to set themselves apart from the rest and carefully refine the complicated yet unique formula between EDM and Caribbean rhythms.
Almost there fellas, just a little bit more tweaking…
Selwyn De Wind interviews DJ Diplo who will be featured together with DJ Skrillex at the Paradiseworld Music festival/conference<—(link to event )style event in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.
For more information check out Selwyn’s page he is known and admired for his radio and TV personality who has made his mark with his music, video film and production projects. Check out his blog : selwyndewind.wordpress.com
“POPiamentu”is a project we started a few years ago on the island of Curacao, translating well-known pop songs into (my native language) “Papiamentu”. By doing this we try to encourage local artist to write in our own language and contribute to our own culture & legacy.
Our aim is to show that it IS POSSIBLE to write songs in a foreign language (in this case “Papiamentu”) and still reach international hit charts.
A few examples are Reggae/ Dance Hall songs in Jamaican Creole or Afrobeats in Nigerian and Ghanaian languages.In this cover “Bed of Lies” I’ve teamed up with Curacaoan rapper Qd El Mago from the group Area 51 who has several number-one hits on the island. If Nicki Minaj was born in Curacao, her part in this song would sound like this…
Special thanks to THE team Stanley Alejandro Clementina (piano/arrangement/mixing) and Thareyck Martina (videoshoot/editing/artwork).Let’s keep up the movement! ♥
Woody Ft. QD ‘s first official single reaches over 3700 views in 3 days!
Congrats on your first single man. I am loving the images of Colombia I won’t knock the hustle when it comes to that not so hidden Insel air commercial either.
If you don’t know who they are yet. Follow them on Twitter because the Caribbean and Latin America are Massive and it looks like Gudda Getamilli is starting to move mountains to share their craft.
Curacao + Colombia represent.
Produced by: Gudda Getamilli
Mix and mastered by Mosty
Directed and Edited by Don Vinci
( Insel Air you still owe me for that broken tablet, still mad)
I have to say I am stoked by the analysis and the conversation that can spiral out of their journey in to the hearts and minds of a Curacaoan. I am sure this discussion on race will resonate to many of the different Islands. CONGRATS @Angela Warwaru Roe for this tremendous accomplishment.
Sombra di Koló — The Shadow Of Color
In five neighbourhoods, each distinct in their racial and class make-up, a total of thirty Curaçaoans of all ages and all walks of life share what “race” and “skin color” mean to them today.
Sombra di Koló / the Shadow of Color is a documentary project by Warwarú Productions and De Wind Imaging.
Curaçaoan/Surinamese/Dutch anthropologist Angela Roe teamed up with Curaçaoan filmmakers Selwyn de Wind and Hester Jonkhout to examine the meanings and consequences of race and skin color in contemporary Curaçao.
Curaçao, a small Caribbean island off the Venezuelan coast, was once an important Dutch colony. It has a population of approximately 140.000 people that is racially and especially ethnically diverse, yet predominantly of African descent.
In this post-colonial society, what do people think about skin color? How is color connected to class? Does race still matter?
The goal of the documentary Sombra di Koló is to break open the taboo on color and race relations, and to start a constructive national dialogue on a topic that affects us all, because everyone has a color.
We know what it is like to live inside our own skin, but we don’t really know what life is like for others who don’t look like us. We speculate, we have stereotypical ideas about others, but this film invites you to listen to stories that sound like your own, and stories that you never thought about.
With music by Datapanik
Producer, Director, Researcher: Angela E. Roe. Director of Photography: Selwyn de Wind, Hester Jonkhout, Kirk Claes, Octavio Curiel. Editor: Hester Jonkhout. Coloring: Selwyn de Wind. Graphics & Animation: Kirk Claes. Audio Post Production: Ralph Durgaram. Creative Advisor: Felix de Rooy. Production Assistance: Jeritsa Ignecia, Pito Polo, Giany Martis, Marieke Linders, Anja Steffens, Eugenique Wilkins, Nneka Tielman, Rebecca Steffens, Ryanne Van Der Linde, and Vanessa Abad.
Sombra di Koló is made possible with the support of our funds and sponsors:
Refineria Isla Curaçao B.V., Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied, Samenwerkende Fondsen Nederlands Gebiedsdeel, Maduro Curiels’ Bank, Kooyman, Act II, Medical Laboratory Services, Curacao Tourism Board, Korpodeko, Burgers & Fung A Loi Notaries, Banco di Caribe, Ennia, Mau Asam Travel, Curacao Ports Authority, Europe West Indies Trading, and KDZ Accountanting Support B.V.
“…Support means providing information, workshops and lectures so that everyone may have access to all the tools and opportunities I used to reach my goal. This is a very hands-on type of support. I believe it is also important to have an educational system kids can turn to, to develop their talents. This is the only way to keep local music alive, interesting and developing. It needs to grow, develop and be injected with new blood and ideas.”
Name: Izaline Francisca Juanita Calister Date of Birth: 9th of March but the year is a big big secret Place of Birth: The beautiful sunny island of Curacao
Your connection to the Caribbean: I was born there and lived there most of my life, the most important formative part of my live there. I love the vibe, the sounds, the colours, the music, the people……need I go on??? Highschool attended: Radulphus College. Willemstad, Curaçao Current Studies /Occupation: Well I finished studying a few years ago. I studied Business Administration in Groningen and when I finished this I studied Music in Groningen as well and graduated in 1998.
What is or are the accomplishments you are most proud of up to now?
Bringing the music that I write and sing in my own language papiamentu, to all parts of the world. There is no greater feeling than noticing that it works everywhere and people leave the concert with a happy smile on their face even if they don’t understand a word I am singing.
Who has been your inspiration? Oswin ‘chin’ Behilia, Richard Bona, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Sara Tavares. Artists from different parts of the world who create by mixing and matching different influences in a unique way.
What are the choices you made that you believe have brought you to where you are today? Early on in my career I decided to be a true professional; to always be on time, always well prepared, always fair and straight, always friendly….and artistically always follow my gut feeling and my heart.
What do you feel about the state of Antillean music in General? There is a lot happening and brewing underground. I can’t wait to hear and see what is going to come up in a few years.
How do you feel you are contributing to the evolution of Antillean music? That is one of the things I am most proud of. I know that even if it is for a small part, my music and my success abroad, a lot of young musicians on my island are now daring to dream bigger dreams. People are now more aware of the richness of our music and culture even though we are a small island. They are finding more and more ways to express their pride.
What do you prefer to do on one of those “I have nothing else to do, no obligation,chill out type of days” in Holland?Those days are very rare for me. But when I have them I love to go see a concert by artists I admire, catch a movie or just curl up on the couch and watch a nice series on DVD. Nowadays I have two addictions: Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes.
How do you feel about the state of contemporary music on the islands/or Holland?Well, sometimes I miss some originality I guess. I think people are too obsessed about being succesful instead of being original. Thank Goodness you always have special quircky individuals that will try something new and make it hip to be special for a while. I love real musicians, real singers, and real songwriters. I hope they are the ones who will keep on prevailing in this world filled with plastic, computer enhanced artists.
How do you think we can improve music education on the islands? I hope the government realizes how important music education is for it’s people. We need a proper way of teaching so children can get a good basic music education. We need a way to detect kids that have a special inclination or talent early on. We need ways to make sure gifted children fully develop their talents.
For this we need a methodology that fits our culture and people. This has to be designed and thoroughly thought over. This requires money, determination, tools and knowledge. We also need to realize that this should be an ongoing process with a long breath. The government is the first who can help in this process. Then we need rolemodels who are willing to teach, talk, advise, listen and form. Here is where I see a big role for me and my fellow musicians.
Why do you believe it is important to support local music, and what does Support mean to you?
Support means providing information, workshops and lectures so that everyone may have access to all the tools and opportunities I used to reach my goal.
This is a very hands-on type of support. I believe it is also important to have an educational system kids can turn to, to develop their talents. This is the only way to keep local music alive, interesting and developing. It needs to grow, develop and be injected with new blood and ideas. What’s the top five on your Play List? - Eyala-Richard Bona - Lisboa Kuya- Sara Tavares - Be still my heart-Silje Nergaard - When morning comes-Dianne Reeves - James-Pat Metheny
What is your favorite song in Papiamentu? No bai by Oswin ‘Chin’ Behilia
Any new projects or new sounds? I am preparing a new CD. I want to try something new but don’t know what yet. I’m thinking, trying, experimenting, writing, tossing and turning…….so I guess it’s 2008 were watching out for.
Message to the Global Community: “ Keep supporting the music from lesser known parts of the world. You might never know what kind of gems you may encounter and be very pleasantly surprised by music from the smallest of islands.
Shout-out to the Caribflava (The UCC) community: Hi guys, I feel honored to be part of this community. With ears and eyes wide open to what is happening in the Caribbean region and beyond. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
( UPDATE: Watch her perform for the King and queen of the Netherlands in April of this year 2014)
Tell us a little about the Caribbean Lace blog.
Caribbean Lace is a platform that keeps up with all the current fashion trends in the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond. My experiences in fashion and lifestyle publishing in the Caribbean and The U.S. made me realize that many people do not have a access to the fashion scene in the West Indies and Latin America. Therefore, Caribbean Lace is on a mission to bring this region’s style revolution to the rest of the world.
What is your take on the Curacao Fashion Scene? I have seen that fashion scene evolving at a rapid speed these past 2 to 3 years. We have internet and in particular, social media to thank for this. People have so much access to see what others are wearing and they are following these blogs, that they can actually be very much up to date with the trends.
I sometimes sit at Starbucks and see that everyone is looking amazing, and wonder where do they find these fabulous things in the first place! If you want to compete here on the island, you’ll have to bring it, so to speak! I also see great revolutions, there is a trend to wear your hair natural, or let your curls loose. I see the braided style coming back. I even saw an Emo girl the other day with her hair dyed blue, with these purple plush leg warmers and no one looked at her twice, back in the day everyone would have laughed at her.
There are more and more events being organized, we had the Curaçao Model search the other day. There have been food and fashion events. So, as far of that we see a lot of people trying to do more with fashion on the island. But I truly love the fact that we’ve had two NY based designers visiting Curacao, completely fallen in love with our tiny rock and have dedicated their collection to the island. One was during NYFW 2 years ago (Washington Roberts) and the other one will take place in Miami in July 2014 (Indashio).
What have you seen that is distinctly Curacao?
As fabulous as we are, and we are. I see some of these girls, who can give Kim K a run for her money, not Rihanna though (haha), we are still following trends. We are still looking at what celebrities are wearing, or looking at what other bloggers are doing. But we are discovering ourselves in that process as well. I don’t see many people wearing something self made or completely distinctive yet. There are a few who are bold enough to do so, but that lost is still short.
Curvy women are screaming for fashion. We have women here who know, what fashion is.
They know what they like and what they want. They know what looks good on them, but local retail still has to catch up.
Do you think the curvy style is something Caribbean women have embraced a long time already? Or no?
The amount of stores that can offer them something are limited, so they are resorted to go abroad or order clothes online. This curvy revolution is still relatively new and booming. In the US it’s a huge deal as well as in Brazil and Denmark. However, the Britts have been doing this for a while.
Honestly, I think I am in over my head, I want to show through this medium that working together and coming together to collaborate on something great, we can achieve so much. The fact that I can have a voice on Carib-Flava is proof of this. There is so much talent in Curacao, but somehow we can’t find it in us to trust one another or to share our piece of the pie. It’s a small island, so I do get it. We are hoping, through Caribbean Lace, to be that example. Especially by showing how other people do get things accomplished. Let it be an inspiration!
Name: Deva-dee Siliee
Date of Birth:01/05/86
Place of Birth: Curacao Netherlands Antilles
Where have you been living the past two years? New York City
Current occupation: Student/ Part-time model (UPDATE COMING SOON)
Who would you say is Deva-Dee?
I am extremely ambitious and optimistic person. I believe in dreaming and making your dreams come true. I believe the key to that is to work hard but also have a positive attitude about everything and I believe the key to success in that in is learning. A lot of people go through situations without getting the education they should in order to prosper. I believe in growth and achieving my full potentials in every aspect I am interested in.
Who has been your inspiration? My mother has been a big inspiration because I grew up in a single parent household. She s a very strong woman and has always stood behind me and beside me as a friend. She encouraged me to pursue the things I want to pursue. She inspired me with her own way of living. She is very caring, always ready to help everybody and believes in making a difference. So a lot of who I am is inspired by her teachings.
What is the experience / project you are most proud of?
I am most proud of myself. I am proud of the life I am living. I am proud I am someone that does not take life for granted. Everything I do I try to do as best as I can. So the two things I am most proud of I guess would be finishing school in Curacao and getting myself into an Ivy league College. – Columbia University. A lot of people would be surprised if I don’t mention modeling but at the time modeling was a stepping-stone for me. I connected with th right people but didn’t let it take over furthermore did not pursue it in a way in which I would “sell” my identity. Modeling is a very short-term industry and my real goals are in other areas.
What do you feel about the opportunities available to the local youth on the islands right now?
In need of improvement. We need a lot more activities and opportunities for the youth to be able to prosper according to their interests. I believe that the older generation including the government, companies and parents need to unite and work better together in order for the youth get access to new possibilities.
It has a lot to do with politics because the situation over the course of ten years has helped the island disintegrate. We lack unity, determination, and we lack discipline. We start and never follow through.
Everyone is just pursuing their own personal interests. There is no fight for a common goal. I am planning to come back to the island in about 10 -15 years. I would like to see more focus directed towards education, crime prevention and long term commitments instead of short term solutions.
What do you miss the most about being home? My lovely people. I admire how our Island is so culturally diverse yet we each seem to manage to embrace the same culture same music and language as our own. We have a lot to be proud of and we need to take better care of our heritage and our fascinating History.
What do you do on of those rare slow you don’t have ANYTHING else to do type of days In New York?
I’ll find a dance class somewhere in the city. There are soo many things going on in the dance scene here including Workshops with the best choreographers and festivals. There is something about walking around in the city, you never know who you’re going to see or meet, and where you may end up. There are always new places and sights you haven’t seen.
What’s the top five on your Play List?
– Erykah badhu
Shout-out to the Carib-Flava community
Keep doing what you do the fullest believe that you are able and you will be able.
Message to the Global Community:
Let’s stick together we all share the same fate in the end.