'Roots and Rhythms' Pageant Celebrates Caribbean Culture

BY: YESENIA JONES AND ALEXIS ARNOLD

The Caribbean Circle hosted the Roots and Rhythms pageant last Friday in the Tavern. The pageant was the final event of Caribbean Week, a series of talks and forums that explored the experiences of  folks with Caribbean heritage. 

Contestants for the pageant represented various islands throughout the Caribbean: 

  • Sidi Traore – Haiti

  • Jeffrey Guzmán – Dominican Republic

  • Logan Cole – Jamaica

  • Khalese Porter – U.S. Virgin Islands 

  • Whitney Chantél – Barbados

  • Jennifer Thelus – Haiti

Each contestant performed a talent; the winners were determined by how loud the audience cheered for each participant. The competition was close, but the final winners of the pageant we Jeffrey Guzmán and Carnival Queen Whitney Chantél. The night ended with an after-party DJed by Fif who played old-school dancehall and Soca beats. 

“I almost cried,” said Chantél after winning her crown. “ I feel very proud at this moment. I feel very appreciative of everyone who voted for me, because I know it took a lot of strength in their lungs to do that.” She added, “Thank you so so much to everyone. If I could hug everyone who voted for me I would.” 

“I’m Dominican and, most Dominicans, racially they’re black,” said Guzmán, a public relations and sociology major. “And so growing up for me that always was very confusing...a lot of my family and a lot of Dominicans overall did not want to embrace that part of their heritage. I often find myself stuck between the black kids and the Latino kids and not knowing where to go. So having an organization like the Caribbean Circle where everyone identifies with that is very special.” 

All photos taken by Alexis Arnold

Jenna CaldwellComment