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Caribbean Student Association Hosts “The Main Event”


Members of the Krosfyah Dance Team taking a group picture after the Finale of “The Main Event”. (Source: Kaylah Yearwood)

On Friday, April 22,The Caribbean Student Association (CSA) held “ The Main Event '' in the WRAC here at LIU Brooklyn to showcase the various music and dance styles of the Caribbean while also having performances from Roc Nation students as well.

CSA was started at LIU this past Fall by two Caribbean students who were new to living in New York, these being Jael Nelson who is from Jamaica and Chevelle Joseph who is from Trinidad and Tobago.

The CSA’s E board consists of Jael Nelson, Chevelle Joseph, Kaylah Yearwood, Eden Mcgee, Amani Nation, and Leonard Pierre-Paul.

Their goal for CSA is to foster their community and to provide a voice to Caribbean students at LIU Brooklyn. They also aim to provide an outlet for students to enjoy and celebrate their culture while also allowing other students to join and learn about the Caribbeans dynamic culture. Everything the organization does is inspired from the Caribbean diaspora and they are committed to collecting and integrating all of the island's culture to LIU Brooklyn.

When asked what was the cultural significance of this event to her Reynolds answered “The event was a way to celebrate our Caribbean Culture through dance. It also allowed other people to experience that culture even if they aren't Caribbean.”

Music is one of the most unique aspects of Caribbean culture that distinguishes them from other nations around the world. Caribbean music genres include Soca , Calypso, Reggae, Dancehall, Zouk, Parang, Chetney, Dennery, Bachata, Merengue, and Salsa.

Vice President Chevelle Joseph stated members of the Eboard grew up listening and dancing to these different styles of music and now have a deep passion for them.

They feel it's important to share this aspect of their culture with the space and platform that LIU Brooklyn's campus has provided them with.

Vice President Joseph also stated “We think it’s time our culture is shared with the world in a space that is safe and open where those who are related to the culture are able to shape the narrative in terms of how our culture is received”.

Additionally, while mentioning the importance of building a welcoming community to Caribbean students at LIU Joseph added, “Not only do we want to build a community where all are welcome to come out and learn about and celebrate the Caribbean culture…we especially found it very important to create a space where those of the Caribbean diaspora can commune and interact with those that share similarities.”

To start the event, Joseph described the lack of representation for Caribbean students at LIU before the inauguration of the CSA and how that impacted the CSA’s motive of building a platform for Caribbean culture here at LIU Brooklyn.

“When I arrived at LIU, being that it’s situated in Brooklyn I found it very surprising that there was not already an organization of this type and from speaking to other Caribbean students such as my president Jael Nelson I found that Caribbean students felt underrepresented and overlooked.What makes this event significant and where the idea of CSA stemmed from is the notion that to be heard in a space of this magnitude needs to be seen and must have representation, so that’s what we’re doing with this event.”

The event itself was filled with several performances and dances by students and members of the CSA, representing the various styles of Carribean music and displaying their appreciation for the culture.

There were solo and duet performances choreographed by the performers themselves. The Krosfyah team dances were choreographed by the founder and captain of the Krosfyah dance team, eBoard member Kaylah Yearwood.

Yearwood founded the Krosfyah dance team in honor of her father Edwin Yearwood who is a well known Caribbean Soca artist who started a band named Krosfyah when he was 19 years old. Yearwood always admired her father and felt naming the dance team after his band was a great way of paying homage to him.

She also expressed how dancing has always been a big part of her life “I personally always loved dancing and music, and I wanted to make a statement in every school I went to, the dances are part of a long history of spreading Caribbean Culture”.

Preparation for this event hasn’t been easy as Yearwood said the team's practice schedule intensified as the event got closer, “Practice from the start of the semester was Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm. A month closer to the show it became Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8:30…Three weeks before the show Tuesday through Thursday 6-9 pm and Saturdays 11am-2pm”.

Yearwood said creating the dances were “pretty simple” and she felt that it “made the dancers super excited to learn them because they were fun to do.”

Dancing brought another side out of the dancers and pushed some of them out of their comfort zone. She said although this came along with challenges, nothing was too difficult as this allowed her to learn how to be a better teacher and play to her dancers strengths.

However, there were some last minute cancellations and other difficulties that Yearwood faced, but she emphasized the importance of the team around her and how her co captain Jaiden Bailey, her human resources representative Rayanna Huggins, and the rest of the eBoard came together to make sure the show still went on to its best abilities.

“We sat down the night before the show till 12 (am) planning and organizing to the best of our ability. We kept our calm, thought rationally, and overall it was a success,” Yearwood stated.

The event had many great dance performances including duets and even a solo from Krosfyah team member Imani Reynolds titled “Need a Fete.” Imani claimed this was her favorite dance that she performed as she also choreographed her solo performance.

When asked what was the cultural significance of this event to her Reynolds answered “The event was a way to celebrate our Caribbean Culture through dance. It also allowed other people to experience that culture even if they aren't Caribbean.”

The performers themselves felt the importance of this event and acknowledged how this event will impact the lack of Caribbean representation on campus.

Along with the wonderful dance performances, there were great music performances by artists Destiny, Msemaji, Mjay Brown, Fari Wopavelli, and Krosfyah team member, Aj Smoove.

Overall “The Main Event” was a great showcase of Caribbean culture and the many talented artists from the Roc Nation program.

When asked if there will be more events like “The Main Event” Vice President Joseph answered “We certainly want to have more events of this magnitude and currently have some stuff in the works; once everything falls into place and we have all the necessary resources available to us , a pageant or perhaps a mini- carnival (which is our cultural festival at home ) is in the future. We’re also considering making our showcase a recurring event. So stay tuned.”

There is much more to come from The Caribbean Student Association.

To join the CSA, you can find more information on their Instagram page @liubk_csa.

They are not having any more meetings, as it is near the end of the semester, but for the Fall 2022 semester they will release more information on their Instagram page as the semester draws near.

The official Caribbean Student Association Logo. (Source: The CSA’s Instagram page @liubk_CSA)

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