Island Origins Magazine - Summer 2021

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Beach Ready


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CONTENTS Summer | 2021












PUBLISHER Calibe Thompson



BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Tamara Phlippeaux EDITORS Monique McIntosh Erica Young Jordan Unger ASSOCIATE EDITOR Hannah Gulics ART DIRECTOR Vladan Dojcinovic

Beach Ready



Calibe’s Prelude

STYLE & DESIGN 6 The List: Summer Lovin’ 10 Endless Summer 32 Beach Ready, Body Positive HEALTH & BEAUTY 8 The Other Things Weighing You Down 48 Body & Mind TRAVEL 16 Crystal Blue Vacations 38 Visit Lauderdale CULTURE 26 Recovering the Past: Cervecería La Tropical 52 Brick by Brick INSPIRATION 22 A Sea Change 42 Olympic Dreams 56 Gang Alternative TASTE THE ISLANDS 58 Steelpan Restaurant Review 60 Poolside Rum Cocktails Coming Right Up 62 Restaurant Listing ENTERTAINMENT 64 Events

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Calibe Thompson Dr. Naima Stennett Rebecca Hugh Hannah Gulics Stephen Bennett Monique Davis Lyndon Nicholas Fabian Lyon Ghenete ‘G’ Wright Muir David I. Muir CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS David I. Muir Kelly O’Brian Don Hebert Stephen Bennet (Uncommon Caribbean) Ishack Wilmot Vaughn Davis Kayla Wheeler Dionysius Burton Rosalie Richards Daniela Rettore George Horton Jamile Reid ON THE COVER: The Energy Issue In this issue of Island Origins Magazine, it’s #hotgirlsummer. Our cover models are sporting the Kingston Mesh High Waist Two Piece swimsuit by designer Keva J. Check out these and more in our Beach Ready, Body Positive fashion spread on page 32. Copyright © 2021 by Island Syndicate. All rights reserved. Island Origins Magazine is published by Island Syndicate. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a review. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at Island Syndicate, 1310 SW 2nd Ct #207, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Printed in the United States of America.

Island Origins Magazine ℅ Island Syndicate 1310 SW 2nd Ct #207 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 417-812-5663 |




Bathing suits, surfer girls and marine travel? Sounds like summer to me!


ust before travel restrictions hit last year, I was in The Bahamas for a tourism event and became chilly inside the air-conditioned event hall. As I’m occasionally known to do, I went outside and stood with my face to the sun — like an iguana. I was only slightly surprised to find that the other person who was out there sunning herself was also Jamaican. For me, and perhaps for us, it’s not just about the warmth. There’s a rejuvenating energy that comes from sunshine. As an island girl, even if I choose to remain cooped up inside, I need to be near a window for that sunlight energy — so I don’t wither. Like many of you, I’ve spent most of the past year indoors. Now that America is opening up, folks are back to ball games and beaches, almost like nothing had ever happened to disturb our lives. We’re getting back to normal, and there’s a level of comfort in that. But as an immigrant and a Black woman, the thought of going back to the way it was before is bittersweet. Derek Chauvin has been convicted, but me and the people closest to me are still Black while not much about policing has changed. The virus that has taken so much from so many is still out there, but as much as we put manmade pills, genetically engineered food and iridescent drinks into our bodies daily without a thought, there are still folks convinced that the lifesaving vaccine is the thing they should stay away from. And America has seen a recent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and a resurgence of anti-minority


rhetoric that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. There was a wave of energy that brought protestors to the streets to call for justice, but also an opposite wave that pushed some Americans to storm the Capitol in a bid to overthrow democracy. With all the challenges we still face, I felt a little guilty thinking about sunshine, snowcones and spandex... but we did it anyway. ☺ In this energy-themed issue of Island Origins, three amazing swimsuit designers share their approach to body-positive swimwear with Hannah for our cover story. G and Dr. Naima explore ways we take care of our bodies and minds. We take an “uncommon” underwater tour through the Caribbean region with Steve. Fabian gets into the minds of some of our Olympic hopefuls after a year deferred. We explore a beautifully designed home in the Virgin Islands and enjoy tropical eats on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. And Lyndon takes us on a thoughtful journey with some of the Afro-Caribbean activists of our time, and on a visit to a Cuban beer garden in Miami’s Wynwood district. As you stand outside with your face to the morning sky, I encourage you to savor the warmth that nature has provided. While the world around us remains unpredictable, I’m grateful that, if nothing else, we can always count on the healing energy of the summer sun. #islandorigins



Jamaican celebrity stylist and fashion e-tailer Kristia Franklin clearly loves shade, creating this wavy beach hat with a nine-inch brim. Handmade in Jamaica, this piece will add a little drama to your next beach day. $45

SHADY CLEAR BUTTERFLY SUNGLASSES Add some personality to your summer wardrobe with Shady Island’s Shady Clear Butterfly Sunglasses, featuring a pinkhued crystal frame and yellow-tinted lens straight from the 1970s. Based in Jamaica, Shady Island has mastered the island-cool vibe. $29.99

MOLLY SANDALS Based in Trinidad and Tobago, Joli Design Co. proudly crafts handmade sandals made from 100% full grain leather. Their Molly sandal comes in summer-ready colors like this fiery tangerine. $84.99

FIMI CHARTREUSE JUMPSUIT Few things feel more like summer than this citrusy chartreuse jumpsuit by Jamaican designer Janel Jolly. Made to order, the airy look is constructed from lightweight chiffon fabric and is completely sheer with a super wide-leg cut. $170



HIBISCUS ROSE BODY OIL Incorporating a blend of natural oils, the Barbados-based Handmade by Kae brand is known for its luxuriously scented products. This fragrant hibiscus rose body oil delivers, with hints of orange peel, jasmine, and vanilla. 2 oz $10 4 oz $15

REEF SAFE ORGANIC SUNSCREEN BUTTER This organic sunscreen from Arubalife Organics provides protection for all skin types, with broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage. Safe for ocean coral reefs, this natural alternative also has skin-loving ingredients like jojoba oil and organic shea butter. $14.58

CHE LIGHTWEIGHT SHIRT AND SHORTS Look effortlessly put together with this matching shirt and shorts set from Tribe Nine Studios. Made with a super-soft cotton blend, the look features the brand’s signature black-and-white pattern with painterly, linear black strokes. Shorts: $50 Shirt: $75



Shady Island designer Nick Chin wants you to carry a piece of the West Indies wherever you go, like these aviator-style sunglasses with a tropical twist. The reflective, sunrise-tinted lens offers a Caribbean take on a classic. $29.99

Brooklyn-based Trini designer Joshua Joseph merged island and city cultures into his clothing collection of luxury leisurewear. This streetstyle tote bag is fashioned with neutral tones in an enlarged basket weave pattern. $150





egardless of whether you have just started trying to lose weight or if it has been a continuous theme in your life, I would like to change how you view weight loss. As a primary care physician, most of my patients view weight loss as a two-part equation involving both food deprivation and excessive exercise. However, there may be other factors at play that reveal why your attempts to shed weight might not be as successful as you had hoped. This article will highlight five areas that may be weighing you down and will share a more holistic approach to adopting a new lifestyle, increasing your chances of accomplishing your weight loss goal this year.




Several medications can cause weight gain and impact the number on your scale. These medication categories can include birth control (e.g., Depo-Provera), diabetes medications (e.g., insulin) and psychiatric medications/antidepressants (e.g., Citalopram, Escitalopram). Steroids, also known as corticosteroids, are also on this list. They are used to treat a variety of conditions like asthma and arthritis, but the long-term use of these medications may increase appetite, leading to weight gain. It is important to review your medications with your primary care physician and discuss which medications may result in weight gain.



It is easy to overload on calories when drinking juices, specialty coffees, sodas, sports drinks and alcohol. These items have a high amount of added sugar and little to no nutritional value. Consider increasing your water intake instead. You can even add flavor to your water by adding fruits, flavored powders, herbs or trying sparkling water. For some people, it can be difficult to remember to drink water. To help increase your water intake, keep a bottle with you, drink throughout the day and use your smartphone to set sipping reminders.



Underlying medical conditions can also promote weight gain, especially if they are undiagnosed or your medication is not optimal. This can include polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, heart failure, kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea or Cushing’s syndrome. At your next medical exam, ask your physician to determine whether you may be suffering from an underlying medical condition that is negatively affecting your weight.



In the United States, mental health issues skyrocketed as our physical health, jobs, schooling and ability to socialize became significantly impacted. Though stress can cause weight loss for some, it can cause weight gain for others. It is important that you develop management tools for the stressors in your life. For many, increased food consumption is one of those tools. But weight gain from stress can actually make you more depressed, which can lead to further weight gain. Increasing physical activity by going out for a walk can help with your mood and your weight. If you can’t manage the effects of stressors on your own, it may be helpful to seek the guidance of a therapist.



Studies show that an average of seven to nine hours of sleep can help to improve weight loss. However, I believe it is more important to understand how many hours of sleep you personally require to feel rested rather than pick an arbitrary number of hours. When you are tired from sleep deprivation, you are more likely to reach for high-calorie foods to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Also, if you are too tired, you will most likely avoid physical activity. This ultimately means that you burn fewer calories. In addition, it is theorized that sleepdeprived individuals have lower levels of leptin — the chemical that makes you feel full — and higher levels of ghrelin — the hunger-stimulating hormone. Consequently, the less you sleep, the more you will eat.


A balanced diet using the USDA’s “MyPlate” method and a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly is a recommended place to start when working toward your weight loss goal. Choose an exercise that you enjoy. Personally, I have enjoyed cycling as it gets me outside and has a low impact on my joints. But again, don’t forget these other five factors that may impact your weight, and don’t “weight” another minute!




Endless Summer

Reimaging coastal living for a large family, designer Tiffany Cassidy adds life to a white-box condo in the U.S. Virgin Islands. WRITER HANNAH GULICS PHOTOGRAPHY DON HEBERT


early 20 years ago, Tiffany Cassidy began to crave more creativity in her life. The 9 to 5 office grind was taking its toll on the California native, and she “just wasn’t doing very well under all the fluorescent lights.” She laughs now, looking back. Her solution: start fresh, with a new life in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Cassidy found her calling here as an interior designer, creating homes that celebrated the place she loved. Thus was born Lagnappe Custom Interiors, her design firm blending luxurious style with laid-back island living. Cassidy brought her keen eye to this two-story condo renovation project in East End, St. Thomas. The property was a total rebuild after suffering major damage from both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria – two Category 5 hurricanes that swept across the U.S. Virgin Islands with-


in two weeks of each other in 2017. Yet starting from scratch gave Cassidy the opportunity to deliver exactly what the client needed, as the condo had to function as a home for their multi-generational family and as a vacation retreat for friends and associates. With a fresh canvas, Cassidy and her design team intertwined neutral hues with bolder pops of color throughout the home. “To convey energy, you need colors on opposite sides of the color wheel,” she explains. “So we have the base layer of white to neutrals, and then we layer in turquoise and watercolors.” Creating a bright, open-concept flow in the main gathering space of this condo was no easy task. With only one source of natural light and limited space to work with, Cassidy had to be exceptionally creative to accommodate the client’s large

family. This meant lots of adaptable, custom-made pieces like the living room sectional, which conveniently pulls out into a full-sized bed. Materials were also carefully considered for both style and practicality. “In a place where it’s summer all year round, we like functional pieces that are easy to care for,” says Cassidy. For example, the porcelain tile floors used throughout had the look of weathered wood but could better withstand wet, sandy feet from the beach. More organic textures like bamboo and seagrass also proved durable while still conveying coastal style. The result was a stylish home that’s never too precious. “It’s the mix that makes the space feel more comfortable,” says the designer. “We have three generations of family, and we’ve got to have something that suits them.”

Entry Here, the designer went bold with coral and turquoise Thibaut Jelly Fish Bloom wallpaper, which pops against the seagrass and bamboo console. Mimicking the look of underwater coral, the Agave Americana Silver Chandelier from Currey & Company reinforces the coastal theme. “That really sets the theme as soon as you open the door that this is going to be colorful and whimsical,” says Cassidy.



Living Room Creating an upbeat sense of energy in the living room, the designer added vibrant accent pieces in shades of turquoise, magenta and green with Laura Park throw pillows and ocean art photography. Embellished with motherof-pearl and capiz shells, the mosaic media console curated from Bernhardt conveys more coastal touches.

Dining Room To accommodate big family dinners, Cassidy chose a generous dining room table designed to include up to 10 chairs. Featuring seagrass backing, the dining chairs also bring more organic texture into the space.


Master Bedroom In this calming master bedroom, Cassidy once again included neutral hues of whitewashed wood on the tongue-andgroove ceiling and dresser to complement the vibrant throw pillows and accent rug. Working within the limited space of a condo, a streamlined sliding barn door also helped save space. In the master bedroom, the designer also carved out a cozy reading nook with an oversized chair and ottoman which complement the room’s decor while creating a separate space for relaxation.



Master Bath In the glossy white, en suite bath, the coastal aesthetic continues with meticulously thought-out details. The turquoise fish scale tile in the shower — which is available through Lagnappe Custom Interiors — “really connects with the [home’s] ocean reference,” says the designer. In the shower, a fun accent table also features a coral pattern in a similar turquoise hue.

Guest Bedroom For the guest bedroom, Cassidy chose twin beds that could be used separately or pushed together to become king-sized. “This is one of our favorite things to do for vacation homes that need some flexibility,” she explains. A customupholstered, mounted headboard helps visually connect both beds. The daybed in the bay window area also pulls out into a trundle bed.



1 IN TRANSPLANTS. Again. AMERICA’S #1 TRANSPLANT CENTER. For the second year in a row, the Miami Transplant Institute is the top transplant center in the U.S., with no other center performing more transplants in 2020.* A joint program between Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System, the Miami Transplant Institute is the perfect match for patients. We take on the most complex cases – cases that most institutions will not – and we continue to perform successful transplants through the COVID pandemic. We apply a multidisciplinary approach and use the latest life-sustaining technology. With skill, care, and compassion, we give more adults and children a second chance at life. In this, we are second to none. GERARD DAPHNIS | Living kidney transplant recipient

To learn more, visit *Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS), January 2021.



Our best shot


BSP Job #: JHSA-21-C044_Gerard_No1_IslandOrigins_affinity_MAY Client: JHS-UrgentCare Description: HalfPage Bleed: 8.75" x 5.625" Non-Bleed: 8" x 5.125" Color: 4c Date: April 5, 2021 1:18 PM Mech Person: GU Issue: FEB - NO CROPS FOR A STRONG,


Building defenses against COVID-19 in your community is a team effort, and you are a key part of that defense. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop the spread:

Get vaccinated

Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth

Practice social distancing

Avoid poorly ventilated spaces

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in the health, safety and economic recovery of our community.

Wash your hands often

Get tested periodically

To pre-register for your vaccine, visit


Crystal Blue Vacations While essential everywhere in the world, water, in many ways, is even more important in the Caribbean. WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHY: STEVE BENNETT (UNCOMMON CARIBBEAN)


ur region is a collection of more than 7,000 islands, each with its own separate and delicate ecosystem. Separating all the individual islands is more than one million square miles of open seas. For centuries, this mass expanse of water has been counted upon by the people of the Caribbean to provide everything from food and nourishment to transportation and commerce. Annually, millions of visitors from all over the world are lured to our shores, in large part, to marvel at and frolic in our seas. In the Caribbean, clean and healthy seas


are truly everything. Unfortunately, few bodies of water are under more environmental stress. Climate change, invasive species, litter and pollution all pose an increasing threat to the overall health of Caribbean marine ecosystems. Thankfully, a growing number of scientists, artists and local volunteers across the West Indies are finding innovative new ways to fight back and safeguard our seas. Visitors to the region can help too. Here are a few opportunities to consider for your next Caribbean escape:

Replant Coral Reefs in Grenada The Caribbean and coral reefs go hand-in-hand. However, if we don’t take action quickly, one of those hands will be waving bye-bye to the other. It is estimated that more than 50% of the Caribbean’s coral reefs have died since 1970. While this statistic by itself is hard to believe, the future forecast is even bleaker. As seas grow warmer due to climate change and more plastics and other forms of litter invade our oceans, the world’s coral reefs disappear more rapidly. Some studies even suggest that all coral reefs may be nearly extinct within 20 years. Today, several different organizations are actively attacking this issue across the Caribbean. One of them, Caribbean Reef Buddy in Grenada, invites volunteers to join in the fight. Caribbean Reef Buddy offers several volunteer programs all based upon marine environment sustainability. The organization offers shark monitoring, lionfish containment, dive training and coral restoration at their innovative undersea coral nursery.



Curacao Lionfish Safari The King Kong of invasive marine species in the Caribbean, the lionfish has been devastating marine ecosystems throughout the West Indies in recent years. How bad is this venomous, invasive beauty? According to Molly Buckley, owner of SCUBA Dive Shop in St. Croix, lionfish “can decimate a Caribbean reef in just weeks. They eat non-stop and can lay up to 30,000 eggs. They are a huge threat to the Caribbean.” In an effort to fight them, many dive shops across the Caribbean offer Lionfish Safari experiences where divers are invited to spear the troublesome species. LionfishCuracao not only offers packages instructing divers in the best hunting techniques, but they also sell jewelry made from your lionfish catch!


SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY Buses are disinfected nightly with additional cleaning daily. Face coverings are required and remember to keep a safe social distance. For schedules: • Wi-Fi available Call Customer Service at 954-357-8400

TTY 954-357-8302, Florida Relay: 711


Coastal Cleanup in Aruba It’s staggering to even consider but according to Ocean Conservancy, eight million metric tons of plastics end up in our oceans every year. To make matters worse, that immense figure is added to the already overwhelming 150 million metric tons of plastics already in our waterways. The easiest thing we can all do to fight this, of course, is to clean up after ourselves and ensure that our waste is disposed of properly. In the Caribbean, the Aruba Reef Care Project helps to promote both good habits while also keeping Aruba and its surrounding waters litter-free. The Happy Island’s largest volunteer initiative, Aruba Reef Care brings together more than 800 participants from overseas and across the island to clean up the island’s most popular beaches and dive sites. The annual event, which celebrates its 27th year in 2021, also helps raise awareness of the growing problem of plastics and other forms of litter in our seas.

The fight to safeguard our seas calls to action those who truly care about the Caribbean. However, the work doesn’t always have to be strenuous. Sometimes, as in the case of the Caribbean’s undersea sculpture gardens, the simple act of admiring art can have a positive impact on the environment. Art pieces anchored to the seafloor, like those found at the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada and Amphitrite in Grand Cayman, have created an uncommon new style of undersea attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers to enjoy. Attractions like these give natural reefs and Mother Nature a break from heavy human traffic, allowing some added time and space to rejuvenate. Among the more culturally moving and significant of these Caribbean undersea museums is the Martinique New Underwater Sculpture Park. Nestled beneath the waves off Saint-Pierre, the Martinique New Underwater Sculpture Park is the brainchild of Laurent Valere. One of the Caribbean’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Valere is also the master talent behind the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial — a powerful and poignant remembrance of the slave era. Pivoting away from the past, Valere’s undersea installations speak more to the future and encourage respect for and preservation of our oceans. The installation is composed of two huge figures. Each represents a legendary character pulled from old Martinican myths. The first, Manman Dlo, is a mermaid who sailors have always been cautioned to avoid as she likes to overturn ships, thereby drowning all the passengers aboard. The second, Yemaya, is a sultry siren meant to symbolize the “Woman of the Sea.” Together, the message the pair conveys is simple: respect the sea and appreciate her beauty lest we all perish. It is a lesson well-learned and enjoyed with a side of Creole culture.



Marvel at Underwater Art in Martinique



As a pioneer for surfing in Jamaica, Imani Wilmot is determined to nurture the island’s next wave of women in her sport.



Surf Girls Jamaica founder Imani Wilmot.


long the gray, rocky shoreline of Bull Bay in Jamaica, the sea is rarely quiet. Churned by eastern trade winds, the water breaks against the reef, creating reliable, steady waves. This combination of natural forces has made the area a cradle for Jamaican surfing – a spot where riders can cut their teeth in the sport. For professional surfer and coach Imani Wilmot, these waters also nurture her future legacy: getting more Jamaican girls to ride the waves. That’s the goal of Surf Girls Jamaica, the island’s first and only all-girl surfing club. Founded by Wilmot, the club provides a safe and nurturing environment for girls of all ages to learn the sport, advance their skills and build


confidence in the water. The task is deeply personal for Wilmot, who grew up riding Bull Bay’s waves on the heels of her father Billy “Mystic” Wilmot – the founder of the Jamaican Surfing Association. His local club, Jamnesia Surf Camp, is credited with starting the movement in the country. As part of this surfing dynasty, Imani went on to compete alongside her brothers, Inilek, Icah and Ishack. Now the current Jamaican female champion, she was just a child when she premiered on the international circuit at the ISA World Surfing Games. But many times, she was the only girl carrying her nation’s colors. “I competed and represented Jamaica in the sport

since I was 14, but there were so few of us girls,” says Wilmot, looking out to the familiar horizon from the Jamnesia Surf Camp. In a nation known for its female athletes in other sports like track, netball, soccer and swimming, this absence feels even more profound. Surf Girls Jamaica is steadily working to change that, by building the same targeted organizational support young women enjoy in other fields. “Just like we have the Reggae Girlz and the Sunshine Girls, we have to increase the development of the surfers,” she explains. “The point of starting Surf Girls Jamaica is to increase the female surfing population, so we could have a team representing us.”

Each weekend, Wilmot’s proteges take over the shores of Bull Bay, including her own five-year-old daughter, NyaTafari. Among the 25 members, nine girls are part of the intensive advanced group, training hard with tournament competition as their endgame. “From that core group, I saw that these girls were consistent, they spoke to me about their desire to become professional,” says Wilmot. “We do not have any girls under the age of 18 representing Jamaica on a global scale, so we have to increase those numbers.” Though small, this mighty band of girls represents the sport’s changing face. The advanced group is part of Black Girls Surf (BGS), an international organization dedicated to uplifting and encouraging black girls specifically to pursue their dreams of becoming professional surfers. Wilmot is the director of development at BGS, founded by U.S.-based Rhonda Harper.


On The Horizon

Surf Girls Jamaica participants Makena and Jahzara.

Imani Wilmot

Surf Girls Jamaica trainee Giselle Bain.



Conquering the waves is also about helping the girls feel more in control of their own lives.


In addition to Jamaica, the BGS network has camps in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and the United States. There are also plans to open more in the Caribbean. The international collective helps attract support from major surfing brand Hurley, which sponsors BGS advanced programs — meaning full-time coaching, training, equipment, clothing and entry fees for those already in competitions across the world. Success for Wilmot, however, isn’t just about winning trophies. Conquering the waves is also about helping the girls feel more in control of their lives. “We want holistic development, [supporting] their emotional, physical and spiritual needs,” she explains. This rings true for soft-spoken teenager Zoe-Anais Bain. As part of the advanced training program, she has seen the benefits of surfing beyond the sea. “Surfing helped me to be more persevering,” she confesses, smiling. “When I am not catching waves, I may feel weighed down and wanting to give up, but then I just say ‘keep going.’ When I do catch it, I feel so good.” The 14-year-old Convent of Mercy Academy student (who loves going fast on the waves) also finds a deeper strength from the relationships she’s built with the other girls. “I get to spend time with my friends,” shares Bain. “We are always encouraging each other.”



Budding surfer NyaTafari is ready to conquer the waves with her mother, Imani Wilmot.

In the Moment

Out there, you become very present in the moment, and it makes everything else around you almost disappear. 24

Views from Bull Bay, the cradle of Jamaican surfing.


For Wilmot, coaching has only deepened her love of the sport. Surfing is still the place where she centers herself. Out there, “you become very present in the moment, and it makes everything else around you almost disappear,” she said wistfully. “That is a thing I take into life. If you deal with things in the moment as they come to you, it gets a bit easier. You won’t get


Trainee Gabby Chung is all confidence out in the water.

overwhelmed by everything happening in your life. So when you clear up one thing, then you are on to the next.” This focus was with her as she trained for the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games Olympic Qualification in El Salvador this past May. She and a contingent of five others, including her brother Icah, represented Jamaica. Though Jamaica did not qualify for this year’s summer games in Tokyo, Imani was proud to continue to showcase the island as a competitive force in the sport. With this in mind, she plans to shift from her own career to developing this next generation. “I am at a stage where I don’t need to be competing anymore. I will focus more on the training aspect and getting younger girls into competitive surfing.” Then and beyond, choppy or calm, Imani will always be on the rocky shores of Bull Bay, watching her girls.






Tucked away among the bustling bars and art galleries of Wynwood lies a piece of pre-revolutionary Cuba rescued from history. Welcome to Cervecería La Tropical – a revival of Cuba’s oldest brewery, now reborn in Miami.


Manny Portuondo, enjoying a cold brew.


nder a lush canopy of palm trees, guests now taste the beer that birthed the whole industry on the island. The Blanco-Herrera family opened the first Cervecería La Tropical brewery in 1888 on the banks of the Almendares River in Havana. By 1904, the property grew into a true destination. There was live music and dancing amid romantic tropical gardens and baseball games in a stadium where the infield dirt was made of crushed beer bottles. Crowned as one of the prides of Cuba, the brewery, at its height, was reportedly responsible for over 60% of all beer production in the country. This changed following the Cuban Revolution when the brewery was seized and nationalized by the Cuban government. Eventually, the original brewery fell into a state of disrepair and was closed. And unlike other Cuban brands like Bacardi, the beer was not available outside the island. It was decades later, in 1998, that Manny Portuondo, a fifth-generation member of the Kohly family who sold the land to the BlancoHerreras for the original Cervecería La Tropical, embarked on the journey to restore this Cuban treasure in his hometown of Miami. With his partner Ramon Blanco-Herrera, a fourth generation grandchild of La Tropical’s founder, he fought to restore both their families’ legacies. Portuondo even mortgaged his house to pay for La Tropical’s label trademarks.

The stylishly appointed bar offers six specialty craft beers.

In all, restoring the brand became a two-decades-long process with extensive research into the brewery’s history. “I would spend months going through catalogs, books and magazines, looking for any book, article and piece ever written about La Tropical,” Portuondo recalls. “I became an expert in the Cuban beer industry, in La Tropical history, and the contribution that La Tropical gave to Cuban society.” The final piece came when he found the last head brewer at La Tropical, Julio Fernandez-Selles, who coincidentally lived only 10 blocks from Portuondo’s home. Selles has since passed away, but he was key in recovering the formula. “Not only did he validate the framework of the recipe that I had, but he showed me how to brew it,” says Portuondo. “The method of brewing is different, but the base of the original formula is basically the same.” Working with their brewmaster Matt Weintraub, this formula became the brand’s La Original Ámbar Lager – a refreshing, clean brew with notes of honey. They also developed a new pale ale called Nativo Key Suave IPA, charged with



The lush courtyard is ideal for beer and live music.

hints of mango, passion fruit, pineapple, lemon and lime. Now, both beers have a glamorous home in the newly opened Cervecería La Tropical compound, a joint venture with Heineken N.V. In many ways, the new brewery’s design pays homage to its historical predecessor in Cuba. Walking onto the grounds feels a little like stepping back in time. Standing at the entrance are two vast white pillars with flamingos and the words “Jardines La Tropical” embossed in gold, the design inspired by the original Havana brewery’s ornate grand gate. Beyond these pillars lies a 10,000-square-foot courtyard with a performance stage and a botanical garden with foliage, including rare orchids, curated by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The brewery’s interior also impresses. Visible to guests, the shining steel stills are equally beautiful and powerful, with an annual brewing capacity of 32,000 hectoliters per year. Covered in colorful decorative tiles and murals by artist Ernesto Maranje, the restaurant has ample seating options and the taproom offers six craft beers with plans to increase to 20. The stunning design makes the property feel right at home in trendy Wynwood. But Portuondo hopes the space also reflects the Cuban soul of the brand. It wouldn’t be sur-


The gleaming stills are visible from the main dining area.


The main dining area features a mural by Cuban-American artist, Ernesto Maranje.

prising on any given Sunday to find three generations of a Cuban family at La Tropical. As Portuondo explains, many Cuban-American families “are leveraging Cervecería La Tropical as a community space to tell the stories of the old country, and what it meant to them, and imparting that heritage to the generations that come after them.” For executive chef Cindy Hutson of famed Caribbean-inspired restaurant Ortanique on the Mile, it was Portuondo’s vision and passion that persuaded her to join the team. “I kind of go on gut feeling for projects that I do,” she says. “I have to share the passion with whoever is creating the project. And I felt it immediately with Manny.” She has channeled his passion for the brand’s cultural heritage through the menu with the flavors of guava, mango, and other tropical ingredients sourced from the neighboring garden grounds. Signature dishes offer contemporary

Many Cuban-American families are leveraging Cervecería La Tropical as a community space to tell the stories of the old country. 30

takes on Cuban classics, like customer-favorite Cuban-style empanadas. She has even taken inspiration from the brewery’s beers, serving up mussels with beerbraised Spanish chorizo and bacalao fritters beer-battered in La Original. The beer and the food are only small, albeit delicious, parts of a much larger story. “I’ve seen people come in here and have tears in their eyes because it’s bringing them back to their youth in Cuba,” shares Hutson. For Portuondo, there’s no greater legacy. “At the end of the day for me, my partner’s family, and other Cubans, the revival of Cervecería La Tropical is not just about the beer. The beer and La Tropical [are] just a means to extend our heritage into the next generation.”

Jamaican TURNOVERS Style




Jamaican Patties are one of the most popular and delicious snack foods in Jamaica, and are rapidly being discovered and enjoyed the world over!

Just Heat & Serve!



Beach Ready,

Body Positive



The Akila Monokini: “I wanted to create something different that still looked good and is aesthetically pleasing. The perfect diva for this would be a woman that is confident and doesn’t mind showing some skin.”



KEVA J SWIMWEAR Keva Johnson, Jamaica These days, Keva Johnson is proudly inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to feel confident in their swimwear with her Keva J Swimwear line. “Our motto is ‘same suit, different bodies, same slay!’” Reflecting her island roots, bright colors, tropical patterns and flowy patterns dominate her line. Every detail of her newest line, Wild Tingz, was inspired by her home island, Jamaica, and each suit is named for an actual place there. Bold cuts and prints are signatures of her style. “People know our suits just by the designs,” she says. “Customers send us pictures all the time saying I knew it was your suit as soon as I saw it.” @kevajswimwear

The Kingston Mesh High Waist Bikini: “This was part of our Wild Tingz Collection. It has a retro feel with mesh sleeves and high waisted bottom, so it conceals but it’s still sexy. This style looks amazing on any body type.”



“The REGGAE Crop Top features the colors of the Rastafarian movement. Mer-babes who want a versatile top that can be used as a bikini or dressed up for a night out will love this top.” Christa-Joy Burton


KALI KROCHET Christa-Joy Burton, Antigua Founded in 2016 by then 21-year-old designer ChristaJoy Burton, KaliKrochet was born from her hobby of crocheting intricate swimsuits for herself and her friend group. The line has since turned into a thriving business known for its custom swimwear, each piece handcrafted by Burton herself. The brand aesthetic reflects Burton’s island origins with unique embroidery and shell detailing. The brand name pays homage to her indigenous Kalinago (native Indian) roots. “My pieces start from thread and transform into something beautiful,” said Burton. “[This] makes me feel connected to the handcrafters in the hills of Dominica.” Because these suits are custom-made to measurement, KaliKrochet ensures that women of all shapes and sizes will find a suit they love. “Swimsuit season shouldn’t be about an ideal body size, it should be about fun summer days by the water,” said Burton. @kalikrochet


“The KIMI Shell Set features a stringy bikini top with adjustable squareshaped cups and KaliKrochet’s signature accent, cowrie shells. Merbabes who don’t mind showing a bit more skin will love this set.” Christa-Joy Burton




“A unique retro-inspired halter style with functional buttons — that’s how I’d describe the Diana. It has a high cut and medium-cheeky coverage.” Hana Lloyd


OCHIE SWIM Hana Lloyd, Jamaica

“The Olivia is perfect to accentuate one’s curves with fun and flirty versatile sleeves that can be worn on or off the shoulder. This suit can also be worn out of the water as a bodysuit.” Hana Lloyd


For Ochie swimwear creator Hana Lloyd, the natural beauty and environment of her home country, Jamaica, as well as other West Indian countries are major sources of inspiration. “The Caribbean contains a melting pot of cultures in a place of unparalleled physical beauty,” she said. With this in mind, the young designer is especially drawn to vibrant colors and custom prints containing floral, animal and nature themes when creating her striking swimsuits. Each piece is also ethically handmade and adorned with gold cord ends, intricate hardware and other fine finishes that seamlessly blend contemporary with timeless Caribbean style. Another strong principle at the forefront of Lloyd’s mind when creating swimwear is her strong notion that every body is a bikini body. “I think the idea of a perfect body type or ‘bikini body’ is changing with beautiful, confident, successful women like Lizzo and Ashley Graham gracing popular magazine covers and being role models in the body positivity movement,” she said. For Lloyd, her overarching goal for Ochie is simply to make sure all her customers feel good about themselves.



There’s so much to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale. From nature parks, to malls to beaches, whether you're a local or a visitor, everything you need for a great summer is right here.

Relax in the summer sun at Hallandale Beach.


Hop on jet skis and ride through the waters of Hallandale’s Intracoastal.

From Dania Beach, explore the nearly 300 miles of navigable waterway in the “Venice of America.”

For an oceanside staycation, enjoy the view from one of the hotels in the skyline of Hallandale Beach.




Nature loving families can visit the wildlife at Flamingo Gardens.


A trickling lazy river flows through the lush vegetation at the park.


Get your retail therapy in at Sawgrass Mills Mall, with both discount and designer shopping options.

Tigertail Lake Recreation Center offers the perfect activities for families looking to make a splash.






or athletes around the world, going to the Olympics marks the greatest moment of a lifetime. It’s the event hopefuls plan their whole lives around, sacrificing other experiences and opportunities for a chance to push the boundaries of their sports and bring glory to their nation. So what happens when the games you’ve been waiting for your whole life get canceled? This was the fate of all Caribbean athletes when the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games were postponed for a year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Isolated from their peers and unable to maintain their usual training regimens as facilities closed down, these sports stars had to find a way over the emotional and mental hurdles. Caribbean Olympians Briana Williams, Damion Thomas, Danusia Francis, and Mulern Jean stared down these challenges head-on and never blinked. This July, they will mount their Olympic bids for the 2021 Tokyo Games. These are their stories, marked by perseverance, mental fortitude and courage.


Briana Williams Young Jamaican track star Briana Williams is ready to pick up where she left off in 2019, when she was touted as one of the world’s next great sprinters. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into her bid to compete on track’s biggest stage at 18 years old, but she believes using the delay to fine-tune her technique and speed with coach Ato Boldon could become her secret weapon. “Last year, starting in March, we anticipated the Olympics would be postponed, with meets being canceled left and right,” said Williams. “I wasn’t sad. I was more upset [because] I could have gone there at 18. However, it just gave me more time to get stronger and work on what I need to work on.” While two-time Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is still considered the Jamaican sprinter to beat and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the most decorated athletes of all time, should still prove formidable, much of the spotlight will fall on Williams who is being hailed as the heir apparent. “Competing for Jamaica means a lot to me,” Williams said. “Jamaica has such a rich history in track and field. Arguably the number one or two country in track and field.” From Amateur Athletic Union track prodigy in South Florida to record-setter in the World Athletics U20 Championships, Williams has been on a steady trajectory to superstardom. Now, as she prepares to face her stiffest competition yet, she is conceding nothing. “There are no nerves,” Williams said. “I have worked hard for this. I know what I have to do. I will go in there with a lot of confidence and faith and know what I have to do.” Briana is looking to build on a spectacular resume that already includes the world age-15 record (11.13) in the 100 meters, and the Jamaican national under-18 and under-20 records in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. At the CARIFTA Games in 2018, she won the under-17 100 meters in a meet record, added the 200-meter title, and led the Jamaica 4x100 team to victory. The icing on the 2018 cake was, at 16 years old, becoming the youngest athlete ever to win a sprint double – with gold in both 100 and 200 meters – at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships. She was only the seventh athlete to do so in history. In 2019, she returned to the CARIFTA Games and won the Austin Sealy MVP award for the second consecutive year, earning her sixth gold medal in two years. We interviewed Williams before she left for the Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) Relays in California, a competitive warm-up for the Olympics. “My goal is to run 10.8 this season,” said Williams. “Mt. SAC will tell me where I am. Before the trials I just want to be healthy and perfect my form. I just hope to do my best. I just want to go there and get better after that. 2020 really didn’t ruin anything for me. It just stinks knowing that people were affected by this virus. That is the part that really hurts.”

Mulern Jean After waiting four years to set the record straight after her mishap at the 2016 Olympics, Haiti’s 100-meter hurdles star Mulern Jean had to wait one more. The 2020 Olympics delay stretched Jean to another level of patience. “When I first found out they were postponing it, I was sad,” Jean confessed. “But I took a step back, and that just gave me more time to prepare. To enhance my training and improve in areas I lack.” Jean, a former star at Blanche Ely High School, Charleston Southern University and Florida State University, said the disappointment of being disqualified in the preliminaries at the 2016 Olympics was the driving force behind her getting to the Tokyo Olympics later this summer. “That is why this is so important,” Jean said. “I plan on making it past the prelims and making it to the finals. That would be very special to me.” Once the initial disappointment of not being able to compete in 2020 subsided, Jean found a silver lining in the extra time to recover from a torn knee ligament she suffered in 2019. She has a personal best of 12.94 seconds, which she set in Jacksonville in 2017, and is aiming to run 12.84 seconds to qualify for the Olympics. “It means a lot for me,” said Jean. “I really want to put the [flag of the] country on my back and represent us. Even if it’s just a handful of athletes – to show that this little country, Haiti, has athletes too. I do plan on setting or breaking the national record.”



When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down training at her gym, gymnast Danusia Francis, who represents Jamaica, used her ingenuity to keep her Olympic dreams alive. When she was unable to work out with her coach, their Zoom training sessions became a lifeline. Practicing at home, however, required some adaptations. “Nobody has that full-sized equipment in their house and gardens,” Francis said. “So we used the stairs for strength and conditioning, and toilet rolls for other exercises.” Despite the challenge, “our coach did a great job of keeping us motivated. The pandemic showed you how unexpected life is. And to just cherish the moments.” Francis is certainly cherishing the opportunity to represent Jamaica. Though she was born in the UK, her father is originally from Jamaica – granting her the opportunity to compete for her ancestral island. She secured her place in the 2020 Games by finishing ninth among the 20 gymnasts competing at the 2019 World Championships who were not on a qualifying Olympic team. The one-year delay, however, presented some emotional challenges. In addition to losing a relative to COVID-19, Francis had to re-evaluate all of her life plans. “It makes it more difficult, how you plan your training around your timeline and building yourself up,” Francis explained. “I am a bit older, so it is also delaying the end of my career too, if I decide to retire after these Olympics. Just mentally and emotionally trying to stay motivated, and physically as well.” A six-time All-American gymnast and 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Balance Beam Co-Champion, Francis has started to imagine life post-Olympics. She has parlayed her success and charisma into stunt double roles for movies like “Wonder Woman 1984” and “The Midnight Sky.” Competing for Jamaica since 2015, she also wants to leave a legacy for aspiring Jamaican gymnasts beyond just competition. She was a special guest at the grand opening of the National Gymnastics Training Centre in Kingston in November 2019 and believes it’s just a matter of time before gymnastics takes a foothold on the island. “That was the reason I switched to Jamaica in the world of gymnastics,” Francis said. “It was to show the youth that the Olympics in gymnastics is an option. To be a part of that is special. It feels amazing. Crazy to know I can tell my children in the future that I was part of the Jamaican Olympic team. One day I will see a Jamaican gymnast winning gold, and I will feel so much pride.”



Danusia Francis


Damion Thomas


For Damion Thomas to put his best foot forward, he had to take a step back. The pandemic shut down his sophomore season at Louisiana State University (LSU), thrusting his career into uncertainty, though it was poised to take off for the Jamaican 110-meter hurdles Olympic hopeful. “We got the news a day prior to the 2020 indoor nationals in New Mexico,” Thomas recalled. “It was heartbreaking. The first month, it hit [me] mentally.” Flash forward a year, and the improved diet regimen Thomas instituted during the layoff paid off with a world-leading best of 13.22 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in March. The world record time was vindication for Thomas, who had


endured season-ending injuries in past years. “March and April of 2020 really allowed me to mentally develop a clean slate as far as what goals I want to set and maintain [for] my body and eating the right things,” Thomas said. “Before 2020, I was not doing what I needed to do with hydrating. This year [of] quarantine made me set my goals out and be serious about maintaining my body. It has paid off too.” The world record followed another major success, as he earned his first 60-meter hurdles national title at 7.51 seconds. It was the fifth-fastest in NCAA history. Thomas, a former Oakland Park Northeast High School star who recently grad-

uated from LSU, believes this momentum will carry over through to the Jamaican Olympic trials. While 2016 Olympic gold medalist and 2017 World Champion Omar McLeod will be the man to beat at the Jamaican Olympic trials, Thomas said the support from his family makes him formidable. “I know it is going to be tough, but shoot, I live for this. It is what I’m ready for,” said Thomas. “Once I get to Tokyo, it’s about living that experience and getting on the podium. This will really be for my family. My dad and mom. My aunts and uncles and grandmas who picked me up and brought me to high school practice. They have all made their sacrifices for me. That is my first gift of giving back to them.”





12691 NW 42ND AVE, OPAALOCKA, FL 33054








Featuring maquettes of Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Usain Bolt and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.




In a year like no other, 2020 and its lingering aftereffects forced us to reconsider every aspect of our lives. Yet there was one part of my life I never anticipated changing so much – my entire relationship with exercise.


ver the years, I’ve worked out, often motivated by goals of losing weight and building a fitter body. But when the pandemic hit, I realized that exercise was more than the pursuit of a physical ideal. Working out became fundamental to my psychological well-being. I began a ritual of walking in the mornings and soon added online yoga on Sunday mornings. By the summer, I was swimming regularly again. These moments offered space for meditation, helping to calm me and clear my head. Even when I increased the pace and signed up with a personal trainer this year, the mental rejuvenation I found from these exercise sessions was emotionally powerful.


Scientific Approach Seeing exercise as integral to mental health is part of a current scientific and cultural rebranding of how we value working out. For so long, mainstream messaging married exercise to weight loss and appearance, but it did not focus enough on the potent psychological benefits. “Exercise has great benefits for our mental and emotional health, reducing pain and discomfort and increasing feelings of pleasure and a sense of general well-being,” explains Dr. Joan Muir (no relation), a Jamaica-born psychologist now based in South Florida. Recent research also suggests that physical activity can even help ease more severe mood disorders like depression and anxiety. This link to improving chronic mental conditions isn’t as clear, but “exercise [does] release endorphins, which are a group of hormones that reduce stress and elevate mood,” adds Dr. Muir. Recent medical findings have debunked many of the myths we’ve learned about weight loss. According to Dr. Muir, the physiological benefits are well-documented, as exercise “helps our bodies function better, improving our movement, posture, sleep and digestion.” Exercise alone, however, actually has a limited impact on helping us drop unwanted pounds. One 2013 research survey by Dr. Klaas R. Westerterp showed that the average person burns only a fraction – 10% to 30% – of the energy we gain from food. The lion’s share is consumed by basic bodily functions. In actuality, we have limited control over speeding up our own resting metabolism rate, guiding how much fuel we burn.




G’s full-body battle ropes session with trainer Anne-Marie.

A New Relationship Understanding this can diminish the shame many experience while working out since exercise for the sole purpose of improving our looks can be harmful. I’m sure many entering a gym are familiar

Exercise has great benefits for our mental and emotional health.


Roxanne practicing beach yoga.

with that feeling of toiling toward what feels like an unreachable perfect body while being surrounded by others who seem to have achieved it effortlessly. Instead, having a more holistic view of exercise could encourage more people to get active and have better relationships with their bodies overall. Faced with a common crisis this past year, it seems many began building new relationships with working out. The widespread weight gain nicknamed “the COVID 15” pushed many people to address their fitness. But while they sought exercise to combat the weight gain, they discovered its mental health benefits as well. Suriname native Roxanne started exercising more after gaining weight “from too much snacking and sitting around while working from home.” She quickly found emotional value in routines like yoga. “It suits my spirit, the calming energy and solitude. It’s a time to quiet the mind.”

An Essential Element As a competitive bodybuilder, my personal trainer Ann-Marie is the classic picture of sculpted physical fitness. But for her, exercise has never been just for appearance’s sake. “Like everyone, I get stressed with just everyday life, being pulled left, right and center,” says AnnMarie. “Exercise has always been my outlet.” So when her trainer announced that he had to close the gym because of COVID-19 restrictions, she was devastated. “Not exercising was not an option for me, because staying at home 24/7, working from home with zero exercise

People think it’s about how you look, but it’s also about how you feel.

Kathy and Oliver Mair after a 5K run.

would’ve definitely hurt me mentally and physically.” To compensate, Ann-Marie created her own rigorous at-home routine. Amid the uncertainty, exercise became an emotional anchor. “Even though we went through such a dark and gloomy time, my happy place was [found in] running around my neighborhood.” “People think it’s about how you look, [but] it’s also about how you feel,” shares my friend Kathy about her relationship to exercise. She has always been active, but after surviving COVID-19, jogging became her way to reconnect with her body and overcome the traumatic experience. “That has motivated me to do more,” she said. “I wake up every single morning so grateful to have survived something that so many people did not.” Though we still have much to learn about the complex connection between body and mind, as Kathy and so many others have learned, few things feel as life-affirming as committing to move the bodies we have been given.


Great Caribbean-American civil rights leaders of the past: Marcus Garvey, Shirley Chisholm and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael).

Brick by Brick Taking the baton, a new generation is building on the legacy of Black Caribbean activism in the United States.



here are always certain galvanizing points in history – cataclysmic moments that forever separate the time before from the time after. For many in 2020, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police was one such pivotal moment in time. The event sparked an unprecedented social reckoning with racial inequity. And for many contemporary Caribbean-American activists, the moment also prompted them to


examine their own role in the pursuit of justice for the Black community in America. Black Caribbean leaders have long been an intrinsic part of the struggle for Black empowerment and liberation in this country. Figures like Trinidad-born Black Power leader Kwame Ture, Caribbean-American politician Shirley Chisholm, and Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey were at the forefront of the fight for racial justice in this country.

Following their example, how are the next generation of Caribbean-American advocates responding to the same unresolved issues? And how are they carrying the emotional burden of this responsibility? Exploring the way forward, we spoke to Caribbean-American activists as they reflected on this moment, how they face challenges similar to those of their forebears and how they chose to respond to their legacy.

Rickford Burke is no stranger to protesting for a worthy cause. As a prominent community activist, law consultant and president of the Caribbean Guyana Institute For Democracy (CGID), the Guyanese native has long advocated for the improvement of key issues affecting the Caribbean-American community in New York, including gentrification and police brutality. Yet, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Burke wondered whether he too should march in the streets for justice. “I knew that we had to do something, but I was a bit skeptical because it was in the middle of the pandemic,” he explained. Something clicked for him while watching footage of the protest in Minnesota. “I saw a Jamaican flag. I said ‘Wow, they have Caribbean Americans all the way out there on the front lines fighting for justice.’ New York City is the capital of the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States. We have to show up too.” Thus was born the Caribbean Americans For Justice march, held last June in Brooklyn. Organized by CGID in collaboration with other local advocacy groups, the rally provided a way for the Caribbean-American community in New York to declare solidarity with racial justice protests held around the world. The event struck a chord, as Burke reported that staging had thousands in attendance and received nationwide coverage. But beyond the placards and newsreels, Burke knows the fight for lasting change happens away from the camera. The march sought to pressure local policymakers “to guarantee police accountability, justice for victims of police brutality and other abuses, as well as reverse inequities that plague African Americans and other minorities,” Burke explains. Though the rally is gone, the CGID continues its efforts, hosting community seminars and other events meant to raise awareness about police violence and other related concerns. Through these events, they remain committed “to teaching young people the law, and how to react to police abuses,” said Burke.


Rickford Burke

New York City is the capital of the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States. We have to show up too. Rickford Burke


2020 Caribbean Americans For Justice March in Brooklyn, NY.



Equality for Flatbush


Long a Black Caribbean enclave, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush in New York has seen its share of police harassment. But for founder of Equality for Flatbush, Imani Henry, poor policing is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Beginning in 2013 as a Black Lives Matter group, the organization “focused on tenant harassment and police violence happening in the Flatbush community,” Henry explains. “[But] we really saw and put together the connection with gentrification, displacement, and police violence and how the police are used against our communities Brooklyn-wide.” Since its inception, the organization has broadened its campaign, tackling police accountability, affordable housing and gentrification. Their work has grown to have an impact on the larger Brooklyn community, expanding outside of Flatbush. The group’s base is also majority Black Caribbean women migrants. For Henry, a 30-year veteran in grassroots campaigning, Equality for Flatbush became a powerful way to channel his own frustrations about gentrification and displacement in Brooklyn. “As an activist, I can be angry, and hurt, and feel all kinds of ways about these places changing, or I can do something about it,” he said. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the organization also provided a younger generation with meaningful ways to bring purpose to their heartbreak by engaging in community activism. This proved true for Equality for Flatbush’s director of administration, Kasslyn Pompey. Like many of her peers, she was jolted into action following the events of 2020. “We haven’t really progressed as we would have imagined,” says Pompey. “Although there are steps and strides, there is still so much to be done for us to come to a place of tranquility as Caribbean people and Black people.” While Pompey speaks, Elgin Elias nods her head in agreement. As a homeowner leader at Equality for Flatbush and longtime resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, she has seen firsthand the slow and limited progress. She herself experienced its effects when her building was damaged due to poor construction practices at a neighboring site during a gentrification project. Despite the difficulty, age and wisdom give her faith in continuing the struggle. “We [Caribbean Americans] have to be united,” she urges. “Until then, we will not make any strides. I long to see the day where we can see that.”

As an activist, I can be angry, and hurt, and feel all kinds of ways about these places changing, or I can do something about it.


Imani Henry


Imani Henry leading an affordable housing protest in Brooklyn, NY


Activist François Alexandre on the front line protesting police brutality

François Alexandre Ayisyen-American (Haitian-American) François Alexandre knows firsthand the brutality of police violence against the Black community following one horrific night in Miami. In 2013, he was heading home, celebrating along the way with the joyful crowd that gathered on the streets after the Miami Heat won the NBA championship. But chaos ensued when police started pushing people, slamming Alexandre to the ground. Five officers piled on top of him, beating him and breaking his eye socket. The surveillance video of his assault, like so many other such encounters, has reemerged online following the murder of George Floyd. Seeing the renewed urgency his case and others have received feels both bittersweet and necessary for Alexandre. “George Floyd shouldn’t have had to die for us to make a change,” he said. “But he brought light to my story. He helped me heal.” This experience has only strengthened his resolve in activism. For him, the heart of many of these issues, including police brutality, lies in Black communities not feeling secure in their own neighborhoods. These areas are often over-policed instead of receiving civic investment – only getting attention when they are

being gentrified by other wealthier groups. This push for civic investment is the driving force behind his organization, Konscious Kontractors, which provides landscaping and renovation services for local Black communities. He first started the group in 2017 following Hurricane Irma, helping neighborhoods that weren’t receiving enough resources for post-storm recovery. But the group continued their work “out of a necessity to fight climate gentrification, to bring beautification, and bring consciousness to the community,” Alexandre explained. Through this work, he has also been involved in organizing street cleanings, food drives, the construction of community gardens, art initiatives and many other projects aimed at uplifting his community. He hopes to continue this work as a candidate for Commissioner District 5 with the City of Miami. It’s an area with a large Black Caribbean population, especially those from his native Ayiti. Like his predecessors, Alexandre sees justice for the Black community as a legacy issue – one that must be carried through generations. “The future belongs to the children, and the children will be solving a lot of the problems that we face now, problems that we’ve made for them.” But, Alexandre hopes, “if I lay the first brick, someone will lay the next one.”

If I lay the first brick, someone will lay the next one. François Alexandre





Strengthening the community — it’s a core value, central to the mission of Gang Alternative, Inc. (GA).


he 16-year-old social services nonprofit is committed to changing the lives of inner-city families in South Florida and beyond. Like any strong organization, it has created a strategic framework within which to achieve its goals. Focused on dismantling the pervasive “gang mentality” that emerged in 1980s South Florida, GA developed five Pillars of Service — program areas that integrate personal development, youth encouragement, family-oriented services and strategic partnerships. The Positive Youth Development pillar is the umbrella for programs that help underserved young people develop strong character. These offerings include various after school programs for K-5, middle and high school students, in-school life skills programming and violence intervention initiatives. Participants also have access to a dedicated college and career development specialist. The programs take a holistic approach to GA’s mission, meeting kids where they are academically, socially, emotionally and spiri-


tually. The result, for many, has been overwhelmingly successful. Now 18, Brittany was introduced to the Building Leaders of Character (BLOC) program at age 11. Starting with summer camp, then continuing in GA’s after-school programs throughout the year, Brittany learned critical life skills including college planning, communication and entrepreneurship. Through BLOC, she participated in several paid summer internships, which helped to prepare her for the real world of work. “GA gave me so much opportunity,” she said. “I don’t know where I’d be without them.” Workforce Development is another pillar, with interconnected programs providing critical skills in work readiness training, occupational training, job placement assistance, legal support and more. Correctional Adult Re-entry Education Employment and Recidivism Reduction Strategies (CAREERRS) integrates offenders back into the workforce post-incarceration, with services to alleviate the difficulties of reentering society. Encouraging Full Female Engagement in Construction Training (EFFECT)

prepares women with the skills necessary to acquire better-paying jobs in this male-dominated industry. And Housing, Employment and Re-integration Opportunities (HERO) reintegrates homeless veterans into the labor force with occupational skills training, resume prep, mock interviews, clothing and transportation. After participating in Project RENEW (Rebuilding Efforts, Networks, Education and Work), 27-year-old Jerrie said, “[The program] has afforded me the opportunity to enroll into a trade school to obtain proper skills, placing me at an advantage in the work field by being in a position to earn income above the minimum bracket, live a quality life and enjoy the American dream. It has given me more courage, purpose and hope for a brighter future. This is what prison reform looks like to me.” Whether helping individuals get second chances or providing youth with safe spaces, Gang Alternative, Inc. improves the community, one program and one individual at a time. To learn more about these programs, donate or volunteer, visit





teelpan Kitchen & Bar is a Caribbean-inspired restaurant specializing in Caribbean-American fusion cuisine. Located inside the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, Steelpan is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a menu that offers items influenced by the diverse Caribbean cultures represented in South Florida. Sitting across from the beach, listening to Caribbean music while enjoying cocktails and awaiting island-inspired cuisine is a fantastic way to start any day. While the menu boasts items such as “Beach Bowls,” “Playful Plates,” “Seaside Delights” and “Surfside Favorites,” I tried Chef Kevin Baker’s breakfast recommendations of steak & eggs, tropical pancakes and island French toast.

Island French toast.

Steak and eggs

Whole baked snapper

Tropical pancakes.


Steelpan’s steak & eggs dish features thinly cut skirt steak, two eggs sunny side up, poblano crema with tomato and cucumber salad, and “smashed potatoes,” which remain firm, kept in their skin and well-seasoned. The “tropical pancakes are a triple-layered, fluffy, moist and decadent pancake stack covered with pineapple-banana brûlée and plantains. The stack is topped off with sweet and creamy Captain Morgan cinnamon glaze. Steelpan’s island French toast isn’t ordinary in any way. Closer in size to a loaf than to a traditional piece of bread, each slice is stuffed with warm, sweet guava filling, cream cheese, plus cinnamon dust and tart, seasonal berries. Lastly, the dish is topped off with whipped cream and fresh mint. The breakfast items have all proven to be visually appealing and equally enjoyable. On their lunch menu is another of their signature dishes, the whole baked snapper, which consists of the entire fish deboned and placed atop a banana leaf wrap. The fish, delightfully infused with lemon, is fresh, buttery and flavorful. The plate is served with grilled slices of lemon and quick pickled vegetables, including a sautéed medley of green, yellow and red peppers and sliced carrots. It has a hint of heat from pepperoncini and the roasted potatoes with Caribbean seasoning. Returning to Steelpan to go through their lunch and dinner menu options — which also include ceviche, chowder, jerk options, shrimp, dumplings and their desserts such as the Pineapple Upside Down Cake — is mandatory. The chef’s creations are truly outstanding.



RUM COCKTAILS COMING RIGHT UP These craft cocktails fit for poolside enjoyment are the perfect addition to any summer get-together.


This sugar-and-spice drink hailing from the “Spice Island’’ of Grenada delicately mixes fresh lime juice, nutmeg syrup and blue liqueur for that signature ocean blue color.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • Grenadian overproof white rum • Grenadian nutmeg syrup • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice


• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar • splash of Blue Curacao • grated nutmeg for topping

WHAT TO DO: 1. In a large glass, mix together the rum, nutmeg syrup, lime juice, sugar and Blue Curacao. 2. Add a few cubes of ice, garnish with grated nutmeg and enjoy!


First concocted in the 1920s, this drink was named after the Queen’s Park Hotel in Trinidad where it was created. Muddled mint leaves, lime juice and Caribbean rum combine in a refreshing beverage truly fit for a queen. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • a handful of mint leaves • 1 teaspoon sugar • 1 ounce lime juice • ¾ ounce simple syrup • 2 ounces aged dark rum • 4 - 5 dashes bitters • mint sprigs for garnish WHAT TO DO: 1. In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle together the mint leaves (leaving a couple for garnish) and sugar with a muddler or wooden spoon. Alternatively, rip the mint leaves by hand, mash them between your fingers and add to the shaker. 2. Add the lime juice, simple syrup and rum, then cover and shake to blend. 3. Add crushed ice to a tall glass and pour in the mixture. 4. To swizzle the drink, place a swizzle stick or spoon between your hands rubbing both hands together to create an agitating motion until the beverage becomes a bit frothy. 5. Add a few splashes of bitters for a layered effect. 6. Top with a sprig of mint and enjoy!


Barbadian coconut-flavored rum shines in this layered summer cocktail that combines pineapple and orange juices for the ultimate refreshing drink. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • 3 ounces pineapple juice • 3 ounces orange juice • 2 ounces Barbadian coconut rum • grenadine • maraschino cherries • pineapple wedges • orange slices WHAT TO DO: 1. In a short glass, mix together the pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut rum until combined and add ice cubes. 2. Slowly pour in a small amount of grenadine to reach the desired layered effect. 3. Garnish with orange wedges, pineapple wedges, maraschino cherries or all three. 3. Enjoy!




LISTING IN SOUTH FLORIDA 925 NUEVO’S CUBANO’S | $ Cuban Serving succulent roast pork and delicious sandwiches. 925 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

ALBERTE’S RESTAURANT I $$ Haitian Unique and authentic Caribbean dishes with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. 1201 N.E. 38th St., Oakland Park

ALEXSANDRA’S CARIBBEAN CAFE | $ Caribbean, Jamaican Soak up some sun while enjoying their famous jerk chicken sandwich and patties. 235 E. Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

ALI’S ROTI SHOP | $$ Caribbean, Indian, Vegetarian Trinidadian mom and pop shop serving favorites like doubles & aloo pie. 303 S. State Road 7, Plantation

LA BELLE JACMELIENNE CAFE | $$ Haitian Caribbean decor and friendly staff serving up a wide array of Haitian cuisine. 3328 S. University Drive, Miramar


BAMBOO SHACK | $$ Bahamian Quick-service restaurant serving snacks and traditional Bahamian items. 18450 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami Gardens

BAHAMIAN REEF SEAFOOD RESTAURANT | $$ Seafood Low-key and casual with colorful interior. 7836 N.W. 44th St., Sunrise b

BOHIO LATIN FLAVORS | $$ Dominican, Latin, Caribbean Family-style restaurant offering music, mofongo, shrimp and dancing. 2181 State Road 7, Margate b

BUTTERFLAKES BAKERY & GRILL | $ Jamaican Local spot for patties and hot food.

CHEF CREOLE | $$ Haitian Simply delicious signature Haitian seafood. 200 N.W. 54th St., Miami c

CLIVE’S CAFE | $$ Jamaican Popular spot for jerk chicken and curry goat.

5890 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami

COLADA CUBAN CAFE | $ Cuban Family-owned bakery serving savory and sweet Cuban treats and other Cuban cuisine. 525 N. Federal Highway,

CALYPSO RESTAURANT & RAW. BAR | $$ Caribbean Try their Caribbean-style seafood, Jamaican jerk and curry dishes. 460 S. Cypress Road, Pompano Beach c

1198 S.W. 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale d

DONNA’S CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican food all day, plus cocktails and Sunday brunch. 10 locations around South Florida. 5434 N. University Drive, Lauderhill d

Fort Lauderdale

DUKUNOO JAMAICAN KITCHEN | $$$ Jamaican Wynwood’s full-service, upscale, Caribbean dining experience.

CONCH HEAVEN | $$ Bahamian Lots of conch-based comfort foods with locations in Miami and Plantation in Florida as well as Atlanta and Riverdale in Georgia.

316 N.W. 24th St., Miami d ukunoojamaicankitchen. com

11275 N.W. 27th Ave., Miami

5100 W. Commercial Blvd. #3, Tamarac b utter-flakes-bakery-grill.

DON ARTURO RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Traditional Cuban food in a setting when kids are welcome.

CONCH KRAWL BAHAMIAN/ CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $ Bahamian, Seafood Enjoy traditional Bahamian and other Caribbean dishes. 2600 S. University, Miramar

DUNNS RIVER ISLAND CAFE | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine in a beautiful ambiance, serving the Hallandale area. 908 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach

THE DUTCH POT JAMAICAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine. 3120 W. Broward Blvd.,

Fort Lauderdale d

FINLEY’S BAHAMIAN RESTAURANT | $$ Bahamian Try a breakfast dish served with Bahamian johnny cakes or grits or a daily lunch special 731 Hammondville Road,

Pompano Beach fi

HAVANA 1957 | $$$ Cuban Enjoy hearty cuisine and live music in a setting filled with relics of Cuba. 405 Española Way,

Miami Beach h

ISLAND FUSION GRILL | $$ Jamaican, Cuban, Vegan Jamaican, Cuban, Asian and Creole flavors with seafood and vegetarian options. 4811 S. State Road 7, Davie i

LC ROTI SHOP | $ Indian, Vegetarian Cash-only eatery, serving homemade roti with pepper sauce.

19505 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami

AVERAGE COST PER PERSON BEFORE DRINKS, TAX AND TIP. $ Under $10 / person $$ Under $20 / person $$$ Under $40 / person $$$$ Over $40 / person

LITTLE HAVANA | $$ Cuban Authentic Cuban Cuisine 12727 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami l

LOCALICIOUS OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM | $$ Ice Cream Old-fashioned, handmade ice cream including Caribbean flavors. 4220 N.W. 12th St., Lauderhill l ocaliciouscaribbeanicecream. com

JAMAICA KITCHEN | $$ Jamaican Known for their extra spicy beef patties. 8736 S.W. 72nd St., Miami

JOY’S ROTI DELIGHT | $ Trinidadian, Indian Counter-service cafe with Indian-inspired Caribbean cuisine. 1205 N.W. 40th Ave., Lauderhill

JUANA LA CUBANA CAFE | $ Cuban Offering a simple, Cuban soul food menu. 3308 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale

JUANA’S LATIN SPORTS BAR & GRILL | $$ Latin Casual Dominican, Puerto Rican and American sports bar and grill. 11602 City Hall, Miramar

LAS OLAS CAFE | $ Cuban Freshly squeezed juices and Cuban sandwiches. 644 6th St., Miami Beach

LAS VEGAS CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban, Latin American A dine-in hot spot with 12 South Florida locations offering Cuban meals and cocktails. 2807 E. Oakland Park Blvd.,

Fort Lauderdale l

EL MAGO DE LAS FRITAS | $ Cuban Cozy spot for Cuban burgers. 5828 S.W. 8th St., Miami

MANGU CAFE RESTAURANT | $$ Dominican This Dominican dive offers dishes like pernil and goat stew.

2007 W. 62nd St., Hialeah

MANJAY RESTAURANT | $$ Haitian Modern take on traditional Caribbean dishes with creole-style cuisine. 8300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

MARIO’S CATALINA RESTAURANT | $$$ Cuban Dine in a relaxing ambiance with a menu featuring Cuban and Spanish cuisine. 1611 N. Federal Highway,

Fort Lauderdale

EL OTRO TIESTO CAFE | $$ Dominican Dominican-Japanese fusion with a twist. 3023 Biscayne Blvd., Miami e

PADRINO’S CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban Serving the best mariquitas, mojito and flan for the past 40 years. 1135 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale p

PANFIYAH | $$ Jamaican Try their popular jerk chicken and shrimp pasta. 7183 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill p

POLLO EL COJIDO | $$ Dominican Delicious mofongo, quesadilla and sancocho. 5843 N. University Drive, Tamarac

POLLO TIPICO | $ Dominican Traditional Dominican dishes in a laid-back atmosphere. 5011 FL-7, Davie

PUERTO SAGUA RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Known for their soup and oxtail stews. 700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

REED’S CATERING & CONCESSIONS | $$ Seafood, Caribbean Late night seafood truck, with a specialty of conch salad. 12203 N.W. 27th Ave.,

SHEIKS BAKERY & ROTI CAFE | $ Caribbean, Indian Caribbean and Indian offerings include halal meats, spices and bakery products. 184 University Drive,


Pembroke Pines s

REGGAE PON THE GRILLE | $ Jamaican, Caribbean Buffet-style dining offering tasty Jamaican dishes.

STEELPAN KITCHEN & BAR | $$$ Caribbean-inspired Beachside gourmet dining at the Sonest Fort Lauderdale Hotel.

8032 W. McNab Road, North Lauderdale r

999 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach

ROCK STEADY JAMAICAN BISTRO | $$$ Jamaican, Caribbean Nicer than your average Jamaican eatery with menu items like jerk chicken, curries and crab fritters. 2399 N. Federal Highway

Blvd., Fort Lauderdale s

SWIRL WINE BISTRO | $$ Caribbean, Wine Bar With fresh, high-quality ingredients, their culinary team offers a variety of cuisines and wines. 1435 Lyons Road,

Coconut Creek s

Unit C, Boca Raton rocksteadyjamaicanbistro. com

SAZON CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban Tasty Caribbean cuisine and live weekend entertainment. 7305 Collins Ave., Miami Beach s

SHALAMA’S HALAL ROTI SHOP | $ Caribbean, Indian Casual ethnic take-out spot with authentic roti, curries and pepper sauce. 1432 State Road 7, Margate

VERSAILLES | $$ Cuban, Latin American Serving tasty Cuban cuisine and culture since 1971, this spot is a hub of the Cuban community. 3555 S.W. 8th St., Miami v

YARUMBA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE | $$ Dominican Try their traditional stews or Churrasco with live music. 4740 N.W. 167th St.,

Miami Gardens y



Event Calendar JUNE


Magic at the Museum

Maquettes: The Studies and Drawings of Basil Watson


Where: Island SPACE Caribbean Museum, Plantation Admission: Free online with RSVP / $50 in-person Info: Experience this immersive showcase of Caribbean history, art, talent and storytelling, celebrating the influence of the Caribbean community around the world. The event is hybrid with in-person and virtual components.

JULY 07/04

Florida Jerk Festival Palm Beach Where: South Florida Fairgrounds, West Palm Beach Admission: $35-$135 Info: A family-friendly event celebrating Caribbean jerk cuisine with performances, live music and play areas for the kids.


06/01 - 08/15

Where: Miramar Cultural Center, Miramar Admission: Free Info: On display from June 1 to August 15 at the MCC Ansin Family Art Gallery is an iconic exhibition from Jamaican sculptor and painter Basil Watson, featuring pieces like the study for his 18-foot monument of Martin Luther King Jr. and other maquettes. 08/05

An Evening With Basil Watson Where: Miramar Cultural Center, Miramar Admission: Free Info: An enlightening discussion with the artist himself, moderated by Island Origins publisher Calibe Thompson. Reception with Commissioner Dale Holness will follow.


Miami Reggae Festival Where: Opa-Locka Marketplace, Opa Locka Admission: $25-$250 Info: Celebrate the 59th year of Jamaica’s Independence at the annual Miami Reggae Festival. This year’s focus is on healing the community through celebration of Sound System culture.


Caribbean Food & Rum Festival Where: Miramar Regional Park, Miramar Admission: $25- $150 Info: An all-inclusive food tasting event and demonstration with Caribbean cuisine and rum tasting at the forefront. The event also benefits low-income families and disadvantaged students.

OCTOBER 10/02-10/10

Miami Carnival Where: Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill Admission: $15- $150 Info: A celebration of Caribbean culture through song, dance, costume and cuisine. The week-long annual event boasts four signature events — Junior Carnival, Panorama, J’ouvert and Parade. 10/10

Best of the Best Music Fest Where: Bayfront Park, Miami Admission: $65-$499 Info: bestofthebestconcert. com This 10-hour music festival featuring the best Caribbean music performances is celebrating its 15th year with headliners Tarrus Riley, Spice, Lady G, Koffee and more.