Sunday, February 9, 2014

From Calypso Aerobics to Zumba Gold, the Energy is Carnival

While the weather was still cold and wintery on the outside, the large indoor basketball court on the inside was steamy hot and sweaty. Seniors were dancing and exercising to the rhythms of hip hop, salsa, and the latest radio hits. Within the hour, there were beads of happy sweat dripping from their foreheads, and through their clothing. And their expressions were brimming with joy.
Tony Bryan Vicky & Caroline
Tony Bryan, the Zumba dance instructor, holds court and provides cautiously monitored dance exercises to the lively audience of young 60+ year olds. The Zumba Gold sessions are the most well attended events at the recreation facility. For Montgomery County Senior residents, it is a daytime party with the benefits of exercise. There are energetic dance movements with enthusiastic warmth and excitement. Just like Carnival, but without the costumes, everyone revels in the energy of the music and the dancing is both spontaneous and choreographed. 
Every Thursday, from 10:30 - 11:30 am seniors and everyone young at heart gather at the newly builtMid County Recreation Center, for a lively, energetic and exhilarating Zumba workout. Tony Bryan, a Trinidad and Tobago native, brings sunshine from the islands and some Carnival fever to participants with his personal style and artistic presence.
Tony migrated first to Canada in the early nineties to complete his Masters in Business Management. After a coup attempt in Trinidad, and the prospect of civil unrest at home, Tony decided to come to the United States to explore further advancement opportunities. 
Luckily Tony landed in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, where there was a robustly active community of Caribbean nationals. He first met Brian Walker and Fred Davis, leading champions of dance exercise at a Calypso aerobics event. Before Zumba became the highly popular form of dancercise raging through the world exercise circuits, there was a bustling dance exercise therapy of calypso, steelband, reggae, jazz, soul, with Brazilian, African, Latin, Caribbean influences known as calypso aerobics.
The Washington DC Caribbean communities were first to launch the calypso aerobic dancersize. Brian Walker the innovator and creator of calypso aerobics and soquatics - soca in de water, was a masterful and theatrical Trinidad and Tobago born dance, art, and culture enthusiast. He took Tony under his wings and nurtured him in the field of dance theatre. Brian taught Tony the new style of aerobics workouts themed in Carnival dance, and fondly name Calypso aerobics.
Soon thereafter, Tony and Brian and Fred partnered in spreading the joy of dance to many. Where Brian was the energy, the spirit force that exploded with infectious and combustible joy with his audiences, Tony structured, studied, refined and enhanced his teaching, dance, and exercise instructor skills. In affiliation with other professional dance/exercise enthusiasts, Tony perfected and honed his crafts to become one of the most prolific health and body fitness gurus in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
The Mid County Recreation Center at Silver Spring Maryland gained a highly accomplished and versatile fitness instructor for their Zumba Gold classes.
With popular music on the cd player, seniors were treated with cautious courtesy and concerned directives for their hour long Zumba session. More so, Tony repeatedly sent out shout outs of encouragement: "Great Job! You Got it! You Got it!" to his group of elders. He forbade them to undertake any exercises that would be too stressful, and he made everyone feel as if he were their personal dance partner.
For the Zumba Gold hour, there was glee, there was laughter, and there was revelry among all. Caroline, a 66yr old, was more than happy to be there, she was happy to be alive. In July 2013, Caroline underwent major brain surgery. With a look of beautiful gratitude, silver grey hair cropped short, and a palpable smile, she comes to Zumba Gold as part of her exercise therapy. Vicky, 77 yr old, has had knee replacement surgery on both knees and was overwhelmed with emotion. It was something to do and it was delightful to be with others of her age.
Tony Bryan & Grace
What a recipe for life! There is great music, dance/exercise, and good fellowship. There is more so, the joy of having a great time. Seniors at the Mid County Recreation center in Maryland experience Zumba Gold, with a taste of Carnival revelry, and gain an hour of sheer excitement with their dance instructor, Tony Bryan.
In an extraordinary legacy of friendship, from Calypso Aerobics to Zumba Gold, the Carnival dance plays on.
Watch the video: From Calypso Aerobics to Zumba Gold dedicated to Brian Walker and Fred Davis


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Should marijuana be legalized?


The law in Colorado has given license for marijuana to be sold legally.  As someone who has tried to smoke marijuana for recreation, I unquestionably know I am not the same human normal when under the influence.  As I look at it from a much uniformed perspective, I think it is a hysterical travesty of the government to entertain the potential for unexpected casualties.   

We were around 13 and I was fitting in with my peers at High School.  The scholarship to transfer to a more prestigious school was not an enticement.  Luckily, my family, would have been too distressed financially to afford all the vestiges of the Convent life.  So the friendship bonds were more influential and engaging.    We agreed to tell our parents that we were going to a social occasion in a socially comfortable area.  But, what we really did, was go to the adult friend’s home, where weed was the cocktails, the entre and dessert.

After the first couple hits, as a novice, it’s the first time, and I have not acquired the necessary finesse to inhale with small breadths, so my pulls were with great relish and intensity, I was delirious.  There was a Curtis Mayfield song playing, I'm Your Pusherman  and whatever organic property there was,  it was extremely potent. I was only hearing the Bassline beat for the whole song.  And the thumping grew louder, and I was not feeling anything else.

Thanks for the friendships of caring, I was the first person that had to be taken home.  I must have been so badly out of shape that my more accustomed user friends, were pissed that they would have to explain this to my family, or that I ruined their party time.  They got me to my home.  I think I was shoved out of the car hastily and reprimanded to walk straight up the steps and go to bed.

My younger brother saw my distress state and since he was one of them *wink, wink* with a smirk of insider intelligence, he escorted me to my room.  I knew then and there, I did not have a tolerance for further out of body getting high experiences.

When my son hit his adolescence “alien invasion” getting high moments, it was chaotic, sometimes neurotic, psychotic and an emotional rollercoaster of long term issues into manhood.  I have actually taken pictures of the “high” moments.  One is of him slumped at the bedside, the cap covering his face, mouth open and drooling and looking totally dotish.   The other is a picture of him sitting on the roof of the house smoking to avoid being seen.

The next phase of my marijuana intake is as an adult with more adult sense and responsibility.  It’s a party and folks get high.  They happen to be the functional partiers.  I quickly knew that unlike my girl days, none of these people would be looking out for me if I go into a dope induced stupor.  So I was coherent enough to know my choice of substance, was still a mild rum and coke drink.  I later graduated to apple martinis.

Perhaps, I am one of the lucky ones.  I over analyze even if and while under the influence.  I had a couple martinis too many at a party and I got my dance on with such dexterity, that I was working the chairs to Alicia Keys…If I ain’t got you.    I got such rave reviews from my pole dancing, I was asked by a partier, to dance for her father’s 70th birthday.  I knew then that my professional calling was in question. 

With marijuana, I experienced euphoric pleasure.  My appetite for ravenous and insatiable pleasure became toxic.  To be in the zone,   I had to feed the high.  

Should Marijuana be legalized?  This is the trending topic on media.  In a Huffington Post article, This is Why Marijuana should be legalized, it states that over 58% of Americans are now in favor of legalized marijuana use.  The article presents all of the strongest arguments why this is a drug that is not harmful.  The words drug and not harmful are themselves in contradiction. 

I am in no position to defend or provide legal, social or moral judgment.  I have not been a cancer patient and need the soothing relief to quell my pains.  I have not been a schizophrenic that need to still the voices.  I have not been the case or circumstance, that requires some of the medicinal properties marijuana is said to possess.

From my non expert position, the effect that marijuana has on me is not the same as a cigarette or an aspirin.

Maybe the political side of legalizing marijuana is to encourage more levies of taxes.   Instead of the drug being sold on the streets, it is a legal product with revenue generating streams for the patrolling bodies.   Just like pharmaceutical companies have become the cornerstone for the chemicals that are traded around the world with billions of dollars in profit, maybe the marijuana industry has the potential of creating a global pharmaceutical market for the 1%. 

It is ironic that with the new laws in Colorado the demand has spiked the price for cannabis.  The user populations that have flocked to the area to purchase legal weed are paying premium dollar for their sought after drug commodity.   In the article High Demand: Price Of Legal Marijuana Soars In Colorado
Rachel Gillette, executive director of the Colorado chapter of NORML, a national nonprofit seeking to make marijuana use legal nationwide said she found retailers selling top-shelf marijuana to recreational users at prices close to $400 per ounce, not including taxes.

But again, my mind analyzes.  With marijuana becoming a legal substance, I envision the normalcy of being high as another health psychosis of the next millennium.

“Would you pass me that Blunt, it’s my marijuana” and now I am legally about to get high.







  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Bubbling "Callaloo" Reading warms with nostalgia for Washington DC Caribbean audience

We were introduced online by Maud Arnold, whom I have known since her preteen years. She is the taller half of the Chloe and Maud Arnold Tap Dance Productions. I got the hail out on facebook from Maudie; " Ms. Grace! meet Marjuan Canady, she is one of your people'', which means, that 'she' and I are Trini. To the unacquainted, we share Trinidad & Tobago born bloodlines. Maud mentioned that Marjuan just wrote a book and was looking to do a launch in DC. Maud asked me to share Marjuan's work with fellow Trinbagonians and our community. 
photos courtesy of Carl Gray III
After virtual hellos, and shared information, I had the pleasure of attending the special reading of the book Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale authored by Marjuan Canady and illustrated by Nabeeh Bilal at the Crown Bakery, on Georgia Avenue, Washington DC, on Saturday, December 21 2013. I attended with my son, Daryean and grand daughters Deana Grace and Raylynn Maxine. 
As the kids and grownups sat around, some of the little ones were up close and personal. Others who were too grown to bend too low, remained seated on the chairs as Marjaun read from the book and Nabeeh turned the pages. 
For the enjoyment of the group in attendance, Marjuan read each page with inflection and intonation and vivid coloration. In voice sounds, she embellished the narration with the animated accents of the West Indian grandma from Tobago, to the New York vendor icee lady, shouting "Delicioso! Compra Una Icee!" Marjuan assumed each character with effortless acting transition. 
The kids were filled with excitement and anticipation. They listened attentively as Marjuan assumed character.  She mimicked the haunting sounds of the Caribbean folklore characters.   

"Aooooh!" resonated the shrill sounds of the Lagahoo.    When Papa Bois bellowed "Little Boy! Why are you stealing from my forest ?!" she sounded deep and guttural.    In a lilting Caribbean accent, the words, "Your greed troubles me." were spoken to Winston by Mama D'Lo, wife of Papa Bois and protector of all the sea animals. 
The illustrations on each page of the book are bold and engaging. They capture artistic drawings of the characters and their activities. The video link Callaloo A Jazz Folktale ... The Reading at Crown Bakery DC with Marjuan Canady is a picture collage of the evening's activities. 
Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale, is a short story filled with vivid depiction and Caribbean colloquialisms. It takes its audience on a journey to a Tobago island to meet some fabled characters. It is charming, it is frivolous and, just looking at the expression from the kids in the Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale picture collage video , it is great storytelling. 
Ten year old attendee, Deana Grace shared this compelling review: 
"Callaloo is a very Awesome book I think kids around the globe would love!" 
Go to www.callaloothebook.com to purchase your copy and find out more details about Callaloo.
"Something magical lay within that Callaloo"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My 2013 Year in Review. Moments of Reflection through Quest and Challenge and Humor

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Grace Walker 2013 Year in Review Timeline Event is a Facebook synopsis of  best selected moments on my individual timeline.  Facebook timeline highlights are subjective as they portray random moments from an outsider's virtual perspective. On the contrary, my defining moments are extraordinary,  and immense,  and very profound.  

In the beginning of 2013, I was drowning in the emotional tsunami of economic loss.  I was victim to the housing crisis.   From the wealth of a full-time financially sustaining consulting career,  to the poverty of a part-time,  barely above minimum wage,  temp staffer assignment, I was mentally and financially imploding.

picture credits to
YourEventToGo
I challenged social media to acknowledge my state of  loss.  I sought crowd funding through a GoFundMe account with tragic and disappointing results.

In humored retrospect, I have learned that desperation is not a plausible enticement for soliciting public funding. More interestingly I learned, that my intuitive instincts for survival and independence are formidable and unshakable.

I learned that generosity is a virtue that cannot be extorted.  Many individuals and family members extended their kindness in gestures of both monetary and charitable gifts.  Through genuine acts of kindness, I received welcome donations with earnest and humble gratitude.

But I also realized, my professionally photographed  glamshot picture for my GoFundMe appeal was an ideological contradiction. Lol!..If I were in a state of poverty,  why did my posing picture seem to look so rich?  I was my own funding saboteur. HaHaHa!

In the months of my 2013 seasons of question and introspection,  I exercised my mental muscles in the fields of social media.  In Blogger, I wrote about my bliss, my agony, my intrigue and my curiosity.  As of December, my 33 blogs  have garnered over 6800 views. Through writing I have stretched my public outreach and have opened windows of promising opportunities.

In Yahoo Contributor Networks, several of my article submissions have been published.    I am tweaking and streamlining the authority, authenticity and tone of my writer voice.   OMG! I Am 60 Years, Well Almost was my first published Yahoo article . My enthusiasm is noted in the opening paragraph with these words:
When life throws you a lemon, you got to add some sugar and make it lemonade. Looking at the coming of age, as adventure. Humor in life is healthy. Be thankful for the opportunities. Often they come disguised as disappointments.
In the adventure of social media, there are numerous platforms to navigate.  In the Google domain, I have expanded my circles of engagement.   I have reached an allocated 5000 count to my circles and now there are new niche inroads to map out. There is  creative stimulus for artistic demonstration in the Youtube landscape. In addition to the written scripts, my stories also include picture presentations displayed in photography and video productions.

The event of my class Reunion in Trinidad and Tobago in October 2013,  was both real and cosmic.  The months leading to the reunion date were filled with expectation and anticipation.  In spite of every wall of denial, impossibility, financial detour, and emotional roadblock,  I became the accidental tourist.

With a gift from my son, the bounty of kindness of family and the generosity of lifetime friends, I experienced abundance during my holiday visit.  In social media, I celebrated moments in pictures and videos.  My field of exploration in video app development technology widened and blossomed.

A most celebrated moment of the Reunion was a tribute to our teacher Jovita Lee.  The privilege of being in this moment is shared in this blog So How Do You Thank Someone who has taken You from Crayons to Perfume.  The revelry and  joy of being with classmates after 41 years are shared in this Youtube video 60s are the new 40s.

Disappointments and trials have been exhaustive,  but!.. another year begins every year on December 31.


In commemoration and tribute to Nelson Mandela and to his life contribution, I have themed the following message of victories won.

One gains success by conviction, not by trial.

These words in the last refrain of the poem Invictus,  champion resilience:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,                        
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul
 (This is a Poem 'Invictus' (Unconquered,Undefeated) by William Henley. Great South African Leader Nelson Mandela(Madiba)  was inspired by the poem, and had it written on a scrap of paperon his prison cell while he was incarcerated for 27 years on Robben Island )
With the recital of these words, it ignites my resolve to remain steadfast in conviction and to be inspired in  optimism.

As I captain my approach to new territories of consciousness in the coming years, I will continue to practice optimism rather than defeat.

My task is not to design new resolutions for the coming years.  I can look over the past year and find hidden treasures of discovery, new accomplishments, recognition by acknowledgements, and fulfillment in worthy achievements.

I can now prospect my capabilities and competencies on the merits of my work, my experience and my talents. My video blog is the latest career tool that I will use to promote and enlist the consideration of prospective employers.  

In a recent post to social media, I stated without reservation, that my practice of  social engagement is not about me.  I have been nourished, nurtured, schooled, and charmed by the many people including family, friends, loved ones and circles of associates, whose lives and stories continue to impact and impress me.

There are many other people whose life situations have made them soldier on against greater odds than my circumstantial occurrences. I am empowered because of  all who have shared their stories and have demonstrated success despite personal setbacks.

The journey of quest and challenge is our universal common road map.  Victories Won, Defeats Surrendered, but Resilience Triumphs and Optimism Prevails are my signature guidelines for yesterday, today, and with each new year.

Achieving Abundance is my ultimate goal of self expression and expectation. To this end my optimism prevails.

In all of this I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Driving in Trinidad and Tobago is barbaric and inhumane...

As a recent visitor "Trini" expat, to the beautiful isle of my birth, I relished and delighted in the utopia of tropical warmth, bounteous every greens in flora and fauna, the tempting warm soothing beaches, the varieties of cuisine so tasteful and succulent, the wonders of new enterprise, in the rich architecture in commercial buildings and new  residential  designs and the splendor of culture, colorful in peopling of every creed and race... and  I experienced the lunacy of driving in Trinidad and Tobago.

The body count of road fatalities and the incidents of mindless, savage, traffic accidents are horrific and shocking.  I quickly came to my senses as I weighed in on my options.   If choices were presented to reside in Trinidad or continue living as an American citizen, in Maryland, USA,  I would,  in the blink of an eye, choose the latter.

My conclusion .... No Way!!. could I live in a society, that allows drivers to rampantly kill, and there not be quick and responsive justice.. I have grown accustomed to a civilized society where rules are mandated and driver education and awareness are stringently enforced for the safety and security of all road travelers.

In the States, numerous motor vehicle incidents and accidents occur.  There are horrible deaths from vehicular tragedies.  There are unfortunate incidents  that rank under the titles "road rage" "over policing" "vehicular manslaughter".  But arbitrary and indiscriminate endangerment of the public on the roadways, highways, and city provenances are just not as out of control, as it seems to be on the roads of  Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad is 143 km (89 mi)  from North to South  and 61 km (38 mi)  from East to West. Tobago lies 31 km (19 mi) northeast of Trinidad and has a length of 42 km (26 mi)  Northeast to Southwest, and an average width of 12 km (7.5 mi)  Northwest to Southeast. Sixteen small islands are found off the coasts.
http://www.caribsurf.net/trinbago/factstrinbago.html.Facts about Trinidad and Tobago
By third world standards, Trinidad is among the smaller islands.  Travel between local towns by car is within an average of a 5 mile radius.  One could travel from North to South, barring traffic, at  45 miles per hour, in less than two hours.

The ordeal of a day in traffic between Diego Martin North to Aranguez, approximately 7 miles at 3p on a Friday afternoon, was both my traffic in Trinidad hell-baptism by fire, and my personal epiphany.  I knew that after almost 3 1/2 hours, of stop and go, around the Lady Young Road shortcut, with two lane driving becoming road tests in driver maneuvers at passing and swerving, creating four lanes using the  roads' outskirts and inside lanes as thoroughfare,   and dodging the disaster of an oncoming vehicle overtaking with the potential impact of a headon crash, before intercepting the regular traffic to regain control;  that the craft of driving in Trinidad was not a feat that I was capable of handling.

The headline news on the daily newspapers have been plagued with fatalities as though this is the common norm.  "Road Carnage", the headline for 6 road deaths in less than 6 hours over the first week end of November 2013.
The carnage began at 1 a.m. yesterday with the death of 21-year-old Andrew Edwards in Guapo.According to reports, Edward was driving his vehicle, PBU 671, in an easterly direction along Southern Main Road, Guapo, when he was struck head-on by an oncoming vehicle near a sawmill.  Ten minutes later, the first of two double road fatalities was recorded.According to police reports, around 1.10 a.m., William was driving his Mazda, PBS 5694, west along Western Main Road when he was given a “bad drive” near International School in Westmoorings.William lost control of his car, which struck a Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) pipeline, flipped and plunged into the Diego Martin river.The car landed upside-down in the swollen river.The cousins were trapped inside. 
 Less than an hour after the death of the cousins, another road fatality was recorded, this time in Central Trinidad.According to reports, around 2 a.m., Sookhan, of Manahambre Road, Princes Town, was struck by a vehicle on the southbound carriage-way in the vicinity of Chaguanas.Sookhan was standing at the roadside after he exited his vehicle which was in the centre highway median after being involved in an accident.Anoop Gajadhar, who was a passenger in Sookhan’s car, said he (Sookhan) had just gotten off the phone with his mother.Sookhan called to tell his mother he was involved in an accident but was safe.He was standing at the roadside when he was struck by a black van, The van did not stop.Sookhan died at the scene.  
 The last of yesterday’s four fatal accidents occurred around 6.20 a.m.Dead are Amit Sooknanan, 24, and Jamie Stockin, 26.Alvin Rennie sustained two broken legs in the accident.The crash occurred along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway between the Maritime Roundabout overpass and the Suzuki showroom in Barataria.According to reports, Rennie parked his Toyota Hilux on the shoulder of the highway and was standing outside when tragedy struck.A gold-coloured Nissan Cefiro, belonging to Stockin but driven by Sooknanan, struck the rear of Rennie’s van.The van moved forward as a result of the impact and Rennie was struck. The Cefiro ended its collision course in a ditch.Sooknanan and Stockin died at the scene as a result of their injuries.Road Carnage
In a tragedy that could have been avoided, less than a  week  later on November 12 2013,   a mother is killed because improperly placed and  unsecured steel rods impales her as the rods roll off  a moving truck and crashes through the windshield into her  private vehicleFLYING-STEEL-KILLS-WOMAN-

Road fatalities on the roads of Trinidad and Tobago have been inexcusably too much, too often and too devastating to family, friends and loved ones.  The country's 'Arrive Alive' campaign needs aggressive and vigilant policing.  In a speech given by Sharon Inglefield, President of Arrive Alive, she presents these frightening statistics:
In Trinidad &Tobago (from 2007-2011) there were 173,000 reported road traffic collisions. This equates to 34,600 collisions per annum with as many as 200 fatalities.  Over 11,000 persons were reported injured.  Persons aged 15 yrs – 35 yrs accounted for 45% of the fatalities. 83% of which are young males!   And 43% pedestrians!  Every 16.8 minutes a collision occurs on our nation’s roads!  Every hour spent on our roads means there is a 25% chance of a collision and therefore a 25% chance of serious injury or fatality. For 2012 - 163 lives have been lost on our roadways – a 3% increase over last year (159 lives lost).  Young people you are most vulnerable! Campaign Slogan Arrive Alive Trinidad and Tobago
Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago Arrive Alive!!!  The death tolls are climbing and it requires urgency and immediacy to take the actions to Care and Respect our lives and those of all citizens of our cherished land
The government leaders, policy makers, shareholders of Trinidad and Tobago must  be accountable to society.   Revenue streams for our big dollar intake, Tourism,  will be further diminished and corroded if our nation does not actively and vigorously impose strict consequences  and enforce rigid law  policies.

A Driver's license is not a permit to kill.  It is a responsibility to uphold civic duty and respect for everyone we share our roadways, our highways, our byways and our pathways with.

Trinidad and Tobago..... is this the pride and joy we also want to celebrate for world acclaim ??... The nation where Road Kill has become a national sport..?

With all the newest model cars, with more multiple car families, with a growing population of under 30 year olds,  we continue to have too much to revel in and spread joy.  For every one who loses a family member due to these senseless barbaric and inhumane road tragedies, we owe them not just our sympathies and comforting words, we owe them a lifetime debt which we can never repay.  We could never bring their loved ones back:  Gone too soon...!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rejection..The ability to appreciate Opinions are like Asses and everybody has one!

Thank you for your submission, but this is better suited to a personal blog than to our platform. Commentary published through Yahoo Contributor Network should be thoughtful and measured, should make clear distinctions between opinion and fact, and should cite sources when appropriate
What is a learning experience in the field of article submissions?  It is the ability to understand that the value of one's thoughts should not be diminished by the opinion of a rejection.  So in the interest of a Rejection recommendation here is my opinion on What Blackface Conjures Up.

Bash Me! Blast Me! and Then Call Me a Racist..What Blackface Conjures Up
How the Sublime Becomes the Ridiculous...Depending On If You See it as Black or White
It seems every time someone idiotically sports blackface in the US of A, the clamor of racism is touted. The prudent and socially conscious voice their alarm and discontent. Inevitably, around Halloween every year, we get to repeat and repeal our disgust with people who arbitrarily find amusement in blackface painting. Strangely enough, most often, these people are white.
This year, celebrity Dancing with the Stars, Julianne Hough caused a major twitter and social media stir with her orange face. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/orange-new-black-star-offended-julianne-hough-blackface-article-1.1500580 There was also the pervasive obscenity of the individuals who decided to masquerade as the neighborhood watch and the hooded blackface individual with blood stained hoodie.. a sick joke on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.http://pix11.com/2013/10/30/trayvon-martin-blackface-halloween-costume-may-be-even-worse-than-these/.   And yet another blackface, and this one was arsenic. A black woman, choose to have a noose around her neck, while two white friends are play acting as her captors.http://obnoxioustv.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/obnoxious-extreme-ratchet-behavior-black-woman-dresses-as-a-slave-for-halloween/.   While the latter two characterizations are revolting and disgusting, and there is no apology for their obvious sickening displays, I thought about what blackface conjures up to me.
I am an unapologetically black, Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago female. We have a yearly celebration that we proudly boast as the world's greatest dance party, Carnival. Rivalled only by Brazil, the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago features the ghouls of J'ourvert, the dawning of the days of celebration, with black faces, blue faces, red, green and all colorations of mud indiscriminately plastered over the face and body. We also are costumed in the regalia of beads, glitz and glitter, sequins and feather in ornate and flaming opulence. It is called masquerade.
Back in my childhood days in Trinidad, I was a big fan of Al Jolson. Toot Toot Tootsie goodbye! Toot Toot Tootsie don't cry!.. I would tap and sing and pretend to tip my hat and cane just like I saw on TV. On our families black and white tv in the living room, we would all gather to enjoy, the Black and White Minstrels show and sing along to all the songs of the yesteryears.
Busted!! Paula Deen to the rescue! A good fit for the inside kitchen.. I surmise.
In the Caribbean, our education was steeped in academic excellence. Ingrained in our culture of pride and sophistication were the values of self worth and self esteem. Education above all else was our defining glory. Anyone, Negro as was the correct "Black" label in those days of the early sixties; West Indian style; Indian, Chinese, Syrian, Portuguese, Lebanese, the Whites were all party to academic achievements. Some were richer, we were poorer but we had all a fair chance to improve.
As a citizen of the USA since the early nineties, I have learnt the nuances of why prejudice is the rationale for even the absurdities of masquerade. In all its extremes, no one justifies the demeaning of the history of "black" people. Yet, were I to paint myself "white face" will I create the furor and uproar that "blackface" evokes? Are yellow, red, blue face sanctioned because it does not reek of racial profiling of other communities?
Many are using the "black" script to perjure society to be baited by the ridiculous. So a "black face" characterization by white America immediately conjures Racist. Even, as in Julian Houghs case, an apology is necessary for an orange face "caricature" "masquerade" because it is discriminating and "racist" .
Every year Trinidad and Tobagonians, and people who play "MAS" paint their faces black, blue, green and yellow… and it is, what it is "Masquerade"…
Pound the Alarm!!, http://youtu.be/0Zb7WO685Ko,  the title song on Nicki Minaj  hit record about Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago depicts all the fusions of colored faces with glamor and revelry.
There is nothing "Racist" among people who respect and treat everyone with respect