April 21, 2021

Whopping $700 media fee creates controversy

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west indianBy Vinette K. Pryce From Caribbean Life

After 46 years of coverage of the annual West Indian American Day Associations annual festivities in Brooklyn, in an un-precedented action, the organizers required media individuals to pay a whopping $700 in order to report on the activities.

The fee demanded reporters to pay $700 for a five-day media accreditation to report on all the activities and also allowed a Labor Day pass for $300. Any reporter or photographer wanting to report on Saturday’s junior carnival would have had to dole out a $200 fee and for all concerts held at the Brooklyn Museum, a $100 money order would have to be made out to the organizers by August 20 in order to be approved.

Imposition of a fee caused dissent and may have hampered support from minority media unable to honor the steep cost imposed by the organizers.

Allegedly, the fee was imposed in order to “control” negative press reports which “tarnish the intent and reputation” of the carnival.

Although some of the board members refuse to talk on the record about the 2014 demand, many claim they were “totally against” the idea of charging press to cover the event. Blame has been fully positioned on the new leader William Howard who is allegedly not rooted in Caribbean culture but has a record of aligning himself with politicians and maintains that the new ruling will enhance the profile of the 47th annual celebration of Caribbean heritage.

0Historically, predominantly covered by independent and minority media, the four days of concerts and activities preceding the holiday are virtually ignored by traditional media. They include – Junior Carnival, Brass Fest, Steel Band Panorama and Dimanche Gras. In latter years commercial television, radio and print have spotlighted the Labor Day spectacle, which allegedly attracts upwards of two million spectators to the Crown Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. However, coverage has either been limited to the one Labor Day parade and historically alleged to highlight negative behavior, crime and at times unrelated felonious activity throughout the area and at times in remote areas from the Eastern Parkway area. Hakim Mutlaq, a freelance photographer wrote: “I would be remiss if I did not speak to what I see as a grave mistake” He said when he was sent the accreditation form he thought it was an “an internet hoax. It made no sense and it seemed like somebody was playing bad jokes.” After learning that the fee demand was in place, he was still in disbelief that “in the media capital of the world, in the year 2014, that we would find an organization attempting to charge press people for doing their jobs/covering an event.”

“Now, the workings of the Fourth Estate may be mysterious to some but one does not have to go googleing to acknowledge the importance of it in many ways,” Mutlaq wrote. He said “freedom of the press in a democratic society” was being violated.

Herman Hall, a former WIADCA board member, and publisher of Everybody’s Magazine, A Caribbean monthly called the decision antiquated. In an article he titled “Dinosaur Leadership” Hall wrote:

“The West Indian-American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), organizer of Brooklyn’s Carnival on Labor Day Weekend in New York City, has a new chief. He is William Howard who was an aide to Carlos Lezama in the early 1970s when Lezama brought carnival-parade to Eastern Parkway.

Carnival was brought to Brooklyn from Harlem in the late 1960s by the late Rufus Gorin.

“We are almost in 2015 when the yuppie and millennial generations are energized to govern and administer. So why is the carnival association going back to the age of the dinosaur to get a leader,” one carnival bandleader quipped.

Howard is the first African-American with allegedly no Caribbean roots to head the carnival organization. He replaced Thomas Bailey who abruptly resigned.”

Inquiries to the WIADCA president were not addressed at press time.

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2014/9/2014-09-02-vkp-media_fee-cl_2014_9.html


Related stories:

New York: Large crowd celebrates Caribbean Culture at West Indian Day Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Colorful floats, elaborate costumes, politicians and merrymakers filled Brooklyn’s streets Monday for the annual West Indian Day Parade, a massive Caribbean celebration that was marred by a fatal shooting nearby before the official festivities got underway.

The annual parade — which draws about 1 million people — features loud music and louder costumes. Many revelers dance their way through much of the 2-mile-long route, which winds through some of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods and draws scores of politicians eager for a big statement just a week before the Sept. 9 primary.

For more and video: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/09/01/large-crowds-begin-gathering-for-west-indian-day-parade-in-brooklyn/

For more video go to: http://rt.com/in-motion/184388-caribbean-carnaval-usa-parade/


‘Yardies’ revel on The Parkway as united Jamaica

iNews briefs Parade specsBy Vinette K. Pryce From Caribbean Life

Jamaicans joined legions from the English, Dutch, Spanish and French Caribbean who annually parade pride and culture on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on Labor Day to distinguish themselves by waving the black, green and gold flag of their nation. They turned out in large numbers to represent the English-speaking island located in the Greater Antilles and the one nation outside of the Eastern Caribbean whose history and tradition apprehensively embraced carnival.

Representing on floats, trucks, as spectators, a great majority comprised a generation born in the United States to at least one parent rooted from the island/nation.

Jamaican filmmaker Selena Blake whose documentary “Taboo Yardies” expose the plight of homosexuals in a feature film walked the path for the first time to “publicly let everyone know” that human rights issues affect a certain segment of Jamaicans.

Walking along the thoroughfare she handed out tee shirts decorated by the island’s colors, a map of the island and bearing the motto “Out Of Many One People.” Brandishing a contact connection www.unite‌djama‌ica.com, the shirt seemed to explain the purpose of her participation in the public display of heritage and culture.

Charley Simpson who introduced a Jamaican presence on the Parkway in 1991 with a section in Borokeetes Band walked this year with Sharon Clarke who wants to be a judge on the Civil Court. Running from district 6, Clarke was surrounded by a diverse Caribbean following. Simpson reportedly introduced a Jamaica Carnival to Jamaica in 1986 when he promoted Soca Madness at Albion Farms. According to the JAmerican, he presented his idea to Byron Lee who disproved the concept but offered a similar fete he wanted to name Jamaica Tangerine. Simpson said he took his carnival revelry downtown Kingston in 1990 and later with endorsement from the Jamaica government Lee launched what is now the popular annual known as Jamaica Carnival.

Richard Hoyen, a Chinese Jamaican brandished Jamaica’s colors and joined members of the Jamaica Progressive League to tout membership with New York State Nurses’ Association.

And Tessanne Chin, winner of NBC-TV’s “The Voice,” found celebrity status with spectators who cheered her presence.

Perhaps most vocal were revelers who waved banners to signal the arrival of VP records. With the music of deejays Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man and prominent Jamaican reggae artists signed to the U.S.-based record distribution label, Jamaicans were not only seen but heard.

Jamaicans were prominent with a float representing “The Diggers of Panama,” “Caribbeans for Cuomo,” the Tivoli Gardens Marching Band and in virtually every band displaying heritage and culture.

Although forms of the revelry existed on the island with jonkanno, parades featuring effigies, — ceremonial jourvert, steel pan, masqueraders, road march and other aspects of the eastern Caribbean phenomenon eluded the island.

In the 20th century Jamaica became a prominent tourist destination for its original ska and reggae music. Devoting marathon concerts series to celebrate the music form borne to the island, calypso and soca never really rooted as a national treasure.

Late converts to the annual festivities here Jamaicans were apprehensive about joining the parade of masqueraders that walked west along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway each Labor Day. Steel Pulse, Aswad, Lieutenant Stitchie, and a young talent named Little Vicious were booked to entice nationals. They performed at the Brooklyn Museum pre-Labor Day festivities but crowds were sparse and the WIADCA organizers disbanded a night devoted to the Jamaica-honed music.

Late entrants to the fray in earlier years, Jamaicans countered the Eastern Caribbean tradition by placing huge sound systems on the sidewalks to blast reggae music.

Some who lived along the Brooklyn thoroughfare watched from windows and fire escapes waving their black, green and gold flags.

At one juncture an alternative reggae line-up steered Jamaicans unwilling to join the soca party in Brooklyn. Held in Queens, a marathon lineup featured and attracted a multitude of Jamaicans for a competing event that distinguished Jamaicans from the rest of the region’s celebrants.

However, with flag vendors capitalizing on the diversity of nations by selling a variety of banners, groups and individuals disregarded borders by purchasing flags from nations without discrimination.

Gradually Jamaican colors were as dominant as those carried by red, black and white flag-bearing Trinidad & Tobago nationals or any of the predominant carnival celebrants.

Jamaican beauty pageant queens and the Tivoli Marching Band along with record labels that signed reggae dancehall recorders introduced the genre to the Crown Heights fete and when Ranks, Damian Marley, Sean Paul and others paraded the route Jamaicans followed waving their colors the way fluttering butterflies cluster.

On Monday, Senator Charles Schumer used his bull-horn to shout-out “Hello Jamaica” to flag wavers along the route. He seemed to identify the colors of virtually every CARICOM nation present.

Commenting on the united Caribbean crowd, Jamaican Simpson said: “We lickle but we tallawah.”

And “If ah egg we inna di red.”

Catch You On The Inside!

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2014/9/2014-09-02-vkp-inside_life-cl_2014_9.html

IMAGES: www.risingstarstv.net and http://www.palmbeachpost.com



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