From the Caribbean Circle’s annual pageant to Love of the Diaspora, Black organizations at AU are infamous for putting on grand events in the spring that celebrate a variety of cultures and customs on campus. First up: Caribbean Circle’s Roots and Rhythms pageant.
Roots and Rhythms is an annual pageant that aims to celebrate the diversity of the Caribbean region through food, music, dance, and talent. By the end of the event, Caribbean Circle will have crowned a new King and Queen of the Carnival: a student at American University representing a country in the West Indies. Roots and Rhythms is not only a way to emphasize the cultural influence the Caribbean region has, but it is also a way to connect students across diasporas and continue to maintain a West Indian presence at AU.
This year, the pageant will be hosted by Aaron Flemming and Festicia Bovell, two Caribbean students at American University. The pageant will be directed by Caribbean Circle co-presidents Makenna Lindsay and Chovanne Moulton; the show will be accompanied by entertainment from DMV’s own DJ Aakil, Richard’s Carnival, and the Young Picassos Steelband. The pageant team (entertainment, the executive board of Caribbean Circle, and the hosts) are representatives of the following West Indian nations: Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana, St. Croix, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean countries being represented by the contestants are Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti, Grenada, and Antigua.
To get familiar with the rich culture that will be presented at the pageant, here are some key facts to know regarding these West Indian countries:
Jamaica is one of the most influential countries in the world, especially when it comes to music and dance. The musical genres that are most popular in Jamaica include reggae and dancehall. — Represented by contestants Ashanti Webley and TreVaughn Ellis (Class of 2024), secretary Kacia Flynn, student liaison Andrew Hall (Class of 2024), and pageant directors Makenna Lindsay and Chovanne Moulton (Class of 2023).
Haiti was the first country to gain its independence in the Caribbean in 1804. This small but mighty island paved the way for Black independence in the Northern hemisphere and beyond. Represented by contestant Adelina Decius (Class of 2023) and Events Coordinator Nick Gourgues (Class of 2022).
Guyana is a country in South America, but is a cultural extension of the Caribbean region! Guyana is home to one of the most culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse populations. — Represented by contestant Arielle Moore(Class of 2022), host Festicia Bovell (both Class of 2022), and Treasurer Anjali Singh (Class of 2023.)
St. Croix is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands and offers incredible biodiversity and gorgeous views. —Represented by host Aaron Flemming (Class of 2022).
Trinidad and Tobago, sister islands, are popular destinations for traditional Caribbean Carnival. Trinidadian Carnival is known for its colorful, vibrant costumes, endless dancing, and good vibes. —Represented by DJ Aakil.
Grenada is known as the “Island of Spice” due to its large spice industry. Fun fact: there is a little nutmeg on the Grenadian flag! —Represented by contestant Karissa Frederick (Class of 2023.)
Antigua and Barbuda is a country in the West Indies with a deep cultural heritage, especially given its connection to indigenous Taino culture. Represented by contestant Ehren Layne (Class of 2023.)
Roots and Rhythms is an event that extends the mission of AU Caribbean Circle: “to serve as an active educational vehicle for the American University by promoting the social, cultural, and political aspects of Caribbean life while also presenting issues from a Caribbean perspective.” Join us as we celebrate the beauty of the Caribbean with the AU community on March 19, 2022, at 7 p.m. in MGC Tavern!