Island Origins Magazine - Fall 2020

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CONTENTS Fall | 2020








CREDITS PUBLISHER Calibe Thompson BRAND STRATEGY David I. Muir BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Tamara Phlippeaux EDITOR Monique McIntosh COPY EDITOR Jayme Fraser ART DIRECTOR Vladan Dojcinovic CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rebecca Hugh Monique McIntosh Camille A. Thompson Stephen Bennett (Uncommon Caribbean) Jahlisa Harvey Shelah Moody Dawn Davis Ghenete ‘G’ Wright Muir Hassan Ghanny David I. Muir Calibe Thompson


HEALTH & BEAUTY Bush Tea Remedies

6 8

STYLE & DESIGN The List: Roots Revival Good Bones


TRAVEL On a Broward Lime

26 32 40

INVEST The Revenue Remix


INSPIRATION Heroes in the Time of COVID

42 44

TASTE THE ISLANDS Restaurant Review: Veg by Hakin Haitian Soul Food Recipes




FINAL THOUGHT In This Together

CULTURE Coming to America The Chutney Generation

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Francis Augustine David I. Muir Stephen Bennett (Uncommon Caribbean) PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive Freedom Troy Wilson Gustavo Orduñez Michael F. Hiatt David Grossman Padma Photos, Raj Singh Aarti’s Photography Matt Weston Bruce Mount ON THE COVER: The Soul Issue Kamala Harris is stepping into history as the first Black, Caribbean, and Indian woman to be nominated to an American presidential ticket. In a year marked by a devastating pandemic, political and social unrest, racial tensions and economic uncertainty, her chance at victory has captivated diverse communities and is mobilizing a broad coalition of minorities and immigrants. Copyright © 2020 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 |




THE TRADITIONAL CARIBBEAN “BUSH” remedies of our grandparents seem ever more appealing in these uncertain times. While a strong immune system is one weapon in the war against illness, conventional supplements have been coming under fire for

the amount of additives they contain. Warm herbal elixirs offer nostalgic and soulful comfort, as well as a boost of body-loving nutrients. Here’s a look at some essential Caribbean all-natural salves, their potential health benefits and risks.

 Soursop Leaves • A favorite of Caribbean kids everywhere, the sweet guanábana or soursop fruit is as nutritious as it is delicious, packed with immune-boosting vitamins B and C as well as calcium and potassium. Aside from the sweet nectar of its fruit, the leaves of the soursop tree are also purported to have remarkable health benefits. Most often made into tea, the leaves aid in calming several ailments related to the digestive system, including constipation, hemorrhoids and gallbladder problems. Keeping your gut happy is crucial to maintaining overall immune health. As a cautionary note, excessive consumption is linked to nerve damage, which presents as tremors or stiff muscles. Also, the seeds should never be consumed due to their toxicity.


 Lemongrass • A longtime staple in South Asian cuisine and medicinal remedies, lemongrass is better known to some Caribbean folk as fever grass, named as such for its feverreducing properties. Rich in natural antioxidants, tea brewed from lemongrass stalks is used to alleviate some cold and flu symptoms, such as coughs and headaches. The tea also acts as a digestive aid, known to relieve bloating, stomach cramps and constipation. The roots of fever grass can be made into a tea and used as a mouthwash for gum problems and periodontal disease. Like everything else, however, moderation is key. Drinking an excessive amount of lemongrass tea can cause stomach aches.

 Cerasee • Whether growing along the side of a country road or neatly packaged for sale in grocery aisles, cerasee (known to Haitians as asosi) remains a bush tea staple for islanders. Native to Africa, the herb is known as a natural detoxifier, containing vitamins A and C as well as phosphorus and iron. The popular leaves have traditionally been drawn in a hot beverage sipped to calm symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, liver problems, fever and constipation. It is also claimed to reduce menstrual pain and urinary tract infections. An old school cerasee “bath,” where the leaves are steeped in hot water, has been used to soothe skin irritation caused by conditions like eczema. When it comes to consumption, however, experts warn that prolonged and continual use could possibly lead to liver damage, so caution is advised.

 Neem • They say whatever tastes bitter must be good for you. By those standards, the benefits of neem tea offer strong testament. Commonly known as Indian lilac, neem is consumed as a tea throughout the West Indies and has become an Ayurvedic essential. The plant is high in antioxidants and possesses natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Drinking neem tea is believed to help with a variety of conditions, including fever, diabetes, liver problems, constipation, bloating, and stomach and intestinal ulcers. Like many other natural remedies, however, drinking neem tea for a prolonged period can affect the kidneys and liver. It is important to keep in mind that natural ingredients vary in potency and can affect individuals or interfere with medical treatments in unexpected ways. With this in mind, please consult your physician before making any dramatic changes or additions to your diet regimen.




Both emotionally rich and introspective, this third reggae studio album by Jamaican singer and songwriter Jah9 explores a complex musical landscape infused with sounds from across the Black diaspora, including afrobeats, jazz and soul. $13.98


Represent your African heritage proudly with these delicate, heirloom-worthy pieces by Jamaican-Canadian designer Ashley Alexis McFarlane. Ethnically handmade with fair-trade gold, her designs include lost-wax casts of vintage coins from the Caribbean and Africa. Drip Charm Bracelet with coin: $149 to $199


Treasured throughout history across Africa, cowrie shells have become an iconic natural symbol of the diaspora. Designer Lisette Scott reimagines them in her stunning Kingston earrings, which are also an homage to her Puerto Rican and Jamaican roots. $65


Traditional African beading never felt so modern! This versatile, hand-beaded clutch by the Haiti-based apparel brand Karabely’n combines geometric beaded designs with either burlap or traditional Haitian karabela fabric. $80


Add a little “Black girl magic” to your decor with these charming, handmade throw pillows by Haitian designer Valerie Louis. This particular motif depicts powerful portraits of women throughout Black history, from 1500 to the present day. $135 Available at


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Daniella Levine Cava’s Plan to

EMPOWER Black Communities


Expand Entrepreneurship & Black-Owned Small Businesses


Major Investments in Underserved Neighborhoods


Police Accountability, Reforms & Public Safety


Opportunities for Collaboration with Community Organizations


Wage growth and Youth Employment Programs


Establish the Mayor’s Office of Equity & Inclusion

























WHEN ASKED WHAT DREW HER INTO THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN, MARIE BURGOS REPLIED, “FATE.” HER CAREER FASHIONING BEAUTIFUL LIVING SPACES WAS A FAR CRY FROM HER FORMER LIFE AS A CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER. A MORE ARTFUL PATH was in the cards for the designer born and raised in Paris, France, with roots in the beautiful island of Martinique. Surrounded by a family of creatives, from painters to musicians, she developed “a desire for true creative expression.” When Burgos eventually followed her calling, the natural beauty of the Caribbean became a vital touchstone. She credits that island aesthetic for her love of color, shape and functionality.


Burgos brought her keen eye to reimagining a pre-war apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The homeowners, a young professional couple, were struggling with a big decision ahead of the birth of their first child. Should they stay in their perfectly located, but seriously outdated and impractical apartment? Or relocate to a more suitable and modern home in a not-so-perfect neighborhood?

“I made their decision to stay very easy by proposing a design that would transform the space to be exactly what they wanted in only three months’ time,” Burgos said. She focused on improving the overall livability of the home while creating a safe and welcoming space for their new addition. This meant “opening up the living space and modernizing the entire apartment with technology and contemporary style.”

KITCHEN A Flood of Lights

• The kitchen was completely

opened up to create a clear line of sight to the living room (ideal for keeping an eye on the little one) and to flood the apartment with natural light. “Looking from the living room, the first thing that catches your eye is the copper pendant lighting hanging over the large island, which creates a beautiful frame.” To deemphasize the small footprint of the apartment and to enhance its usability, Burgos redesigned the kitchen to double as a dining area. “So now everything has a place.”

LIVING ROOM Fresh Canvas • Creating a fresh canvas, she com-

posed a color palette filled with “light and subtle nuances of white to create a serene environment.” To infuse more personality into the space, she balanced contemporary furnishings with several handcrafted accents, like the bespoke walnutframed mirror in the living room gifted to the couple by one of their parents. This care for details carried through to the sculptural lighting fixtures, like the stunning-yet-budgetfriendly Thurston 5 Lights Chandelier in glass and brass. More lighting integrated into custom millwork created focal points for displaying artifacts, books and other beloved items. To improve flow, Burgos “created a brand new layout, reoriented the living space and opened up the foyer to the living room to make the entire apartment feel more spacious. “I also created a focal point in the form of a new fireplace and a millwork entertainment center,” she said. Get togethers and dinner parties are now hosted much more comfortably. Using her knowledge of Feng Shui, Burgos also wove the concept of yin and yang throughout the design. “Simple, clean lines were paired with curves,” she said. “A mixture of hard surfaces such as glass, stone and wood were contrasted with fabrics that are soft to the touch, each selected to create harmony and balance.”



 BEDROOM Fit for a King • While redesigning the bedroom, Burgos insisted

the couple replace their queen-sized bed with a more spacious king, overruling their concern that the larger bed would never fit. “I’ll make it fit! Once you have kids, you need that space,” she joked. Several newly acquired vintage elements and some of the home’s existing decor pieces, including a giant mirror, added personality to the couple’s sleeping quarters. Purposefully incorporated, these items added history and heritage to balance the contemporary design of the room.

 BABY’S ROOM The Perfect Nursery • The space previously used as an office and

guest bedroom was transformed to create the perfect nursery, with every detail dedicated to the new baby. The office was relocated to an alcove in the corridor.




TO PARAPHRASE DR. CLAIRE NELSON, one of the champions of Caribbean-American culture: “There is no ‘Caribbean community’ until you land in the U.S.” She’s right. As a native living in Jamaica or Haiti or Cuba, the Caribbean is an intellectual concept—a grouping of separate islands that are theoretically connected, but whose regular inhabitants never have to meet or talk together. But, when you live in the United States, particularly in West Indian strongholds like South Florida and the New York tri-state area, you begin to recognize Guyanese, Barbadian, Kittician and other singsong accents as the sweet, familiar sounds of your adopted Caribbean brothers and sisters. Their food and music remind you of home, and they become your family.


Yet, still it seems that while we appreciate our shared heritage and kindred spirits, creating a space that celebrates these hallmarks has been an elusive endeavor. As the founders of Island SPACE heard over and over: Many have tried. The Island SPACE Caribbean Museum is set to change the narrative, bringing that communal vision to life. Island Society for the Promotion of Artistic and Cultural Education (Island SPACE), a nonprofit, has begun development of a museum, gallery and event facility at the Broward Mall.

Floor plan showing public areas of the forthcoming Island SPACE Caribbean Museum.

STRENGTHENING OUR BONDS “The contributions of CaribbeanAmericans to the United States are long-standing, historic and, simply put, tremendous. And, in some ways, these contributions

have not been recognized due to how well we have assimilated into the fabric of American culture,” said Jamaican David I. Muir, who is president and co-founder of the organization. According to Vice President Lloyd Stanbury, “Island SPACE provides an important vehicle to facilitate the strengthening and recognition of the common cultural and historical bonds between American immigrants from the Spanish-, French-, Englishand Dutch-speaking countries of the Caribbean.” The mission of the Island SPACE Caribbean Museum is to tell the comprehensive story of Caribbean and Caribbean-American communities, uniting the diaspora and strengthening its connections to the region. Here, Caribbean history and culture will be celebrated, Caribbean art will be on display and diverse people can gather in a place dedicated to this colorful community. For the first time, multiple generations of families with Caribbean ancestry will have a place to learn about their island legacies. All visitors, regardless of background, will learn that while there are many things that make us unique, there are also many commonalities that bind us together. In its archives, visitors will learn about the progression of the region, from its original inhabitants to colonization and emancipation. From the governments established to the spiritual and cultural traditions that evolved. And from the Caribbean-American connection recognizing our imprint from the founding fathers to the first Black woman in Congress and the first Black woman to run for vice president of the United States. The archives will feature both permanent and periodic displays. The gallery will host visual art exhibitions, small gatherings and events. While COVID-19 continues to be a concern, the museum will be open to limited public traffic. Once public gatherings are again possible, the facility will begin small programmed events including artist talks, cultural debates, panel discussions, art exhibitions and networking mixers.

A SUSTAINABLE LEGACY Antiguan Gilbert Boustany, dean of the Caribbean Consular Corps, offered a thoughtful view on the project. “Every island has a uniqueness to it, and what we’re going to try to do is create one storyline to incorporate all of the Caribbean. We all will participate as much as possible because [this project] does tell the greater story.” Island SPACE is moving forward with the support of the Caribbean Consular Corps in South Florida; tourism organizations including those from The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Broward Mayor Dale Holness, who is himself of Caribbean descent; and many others. As the face of the project, Muir has been feeling a groundswell of encouragement, advocating daily that “the community should support the project with their artifact contributions, by volunteering and with their dollars.” Specifically, he said they may donate to the organization’s GoFundMe campaign, donate artifacts from their personal collections and volunteer to help with ongoing activities like research and marketing. Director Tamara Philippeaux added: “I am confident the museum will reflect the mosaic of Caribbean cultures, and I’m proud to bring the rich Haitian culture to its board.” Board members are currently raising funds from private and corporate donors. More than 150 Founding Funders have so far given individual donations from $10 to $1,000. The project is made possible with generous support provided by the following funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, David and Francie Horvitz Family Fund, Ann Adams Fund, Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund, Blockbuster Entertainment Unrestricted Fund, Robert E. Dooley Unrestricted Fund for Broward, Harold D. Franks Fund, and the Jan Moran Unrestricted Fund. Learn more about the Island SPACE Caribbean Museum, including the official opening date at

Leaders at Island Origins magazine also serve the nonprofit launching Island SPACE. Publisher Calibe Thompson, co-publisher David I. Muir and business development director Tamara Philippeaux are board members of the museum.





AT A TIME WHEN THE WORLD HAS GROWN more aware than ever about the Black community’s continued struggle for equality, a demand for a new type of conscientious travel is emerging. Experiences that celebrate Pan-African and Indigenous cultural heritages are forecast to increasingly drive travel

demands for the foreseeable future. Don’t be surprised if that guidance leads globetrotters right to the Caribbean. Scores of attractions and historical sites rooted in proud African and Indigenous traditions exist throughout the West Indies. Here are a few of the best:

LA SAVANE DES ESCLAVES, Martinique • A moving testament to the Caribbean’s

legacy of slavery, La Savane des Esclaves is an open-air museum replicating a typical village in Martinique during the years immediately following emancipation. Sprawling over a windswept hillside in Les Trois-Îlets, La Savane showcases both the hardships and creativity of the Afro-Caribbean people who survived one of history’s darkest chapters. Carefully documented displays guide visitors through the enslaved experience, exploring the transatlantic slave trade, daily violent life on the plantation and the numerous revolts in resistance to bondage. Giving voice to their struggle, however, marks just one aspect of La Savane des Esclaves. The museum also celebrates the persistence, bravery and ingenuity espoused by Black Martinicans. For example, a network of paths leads visitors to a series of huts modeled after Black homesteads of the 1800s, featuring the traditional folk architecture’s signature earthen floors, thatched roofs, and walls of lattice and mud. These classic “wattle and daub” structures are a fusion of both African and Caribbean Indigenous construction. Gardens filled with herbs employed by AfroMartinicans to cure all manner of ailments also form a big part of the museum. The farm crops they grew and animals they kept are also here, so guests can learn about what life was like among such free villages through sight, smell and taste. The result is an all-encompassing, tactile museum experience that goes well beyond any textbook toward helping visitors understand more about Afro-Caribbean history.


KALINAGO TERRITORY, Dominica • The world knows them as the Caribs, a

name ascribed by Europeans bent on furthering unfounded legends of cannibalism in a campaign to ease public dissent over their enslavement and near-extermination. The community, however, goes by their real name, the Kalinago. To learn about their proud civilization, the best place to visit is the Kalinago Territory in Dominica. Contrary to long-held beliefs, the original Indigenous people who inhabited the Caribbean islands were not wiped out following European colonization. In Dominica, the Kalinago persisted throughout the turbulent 1600s and 1700s as the French and British fought for control of the island. When the British ultimately took possession in 1763, the Kalinago were limited to 232 acres of land in northeastern Dominica for their settlement. In 1903, the territory was expanded to 3,700 acres. Visiting the Kalinago Territory today provides the closest view into what Caribbean life was like before Columbus. While signs of modern life remain present, so too do many ancient Kalinago traditions. Here, you can

learn wood-carving and basket-weaving techniques passed down through the centuries. Or, try a slice of warm cassava bread fresh from a stone oven. Hiking trails also take you to sacred spots

like L’Escalier Tête Chien. As legend has it, here a giant mythical snake came ashore in Dominica after traveling from South America. Truly, nowhere else connects you more with the original, untamed spirit of the Caribbean.



Sans-Souci Palace

MILOT, Haiti • It is a little known fact that Haiti was once

home to the Caribbean’s first and only native royal monarchy. Kings, queens, a royal palace, crown jewels: Haiti once had it all. All of it was based in the tiny enclave of Milot. Located in northern Haiti, just 12 miles south of Cap-Haïtien, Milot is where the selfappointed King Henri Christophe established the Kingdom of Haiti in 1811. Christophe rose to prominence as a top military leader in the Haitian Revolution between 1791 and 1804. Immediately following independence, Christophe joined forces with Jean-Jacques Dessa-

Citadelle Laferrière


lines, supreme leader of the Haitian Revolution, to form a new government based in Port-auPrince. When Dessalines was assassinated in 1806, however, Christophe returned to Milot. In short order, he broke with the southern government and, in 1807, established himself as president of what he called the State of Haiti. This would be the precursor to his kingdom, established five years later. The power and glory of King Henri’s kingdom is best exemplified in two top attractions: the Sans-Souci Palace and the Citadelle Laferrière. Completed in 1813, Sans-Souci Palace was once known as the Versailles of the Caribbean. Its ruins loudly echo this former gran-

deur. The immense stone structure is akin to a stately royal manor one might expect to find somewhere in Europe rather than in a sleepy agrarian corner of Haiti. The Citadelle is even more impressive. Constructed atop the peak of the Bonnet à l’Evêque mountain (elevation: 3,000 feet), the fortress is the largest in all of the Americas. The full structure stretches more than 100,000 square feet. More than 150 cannons once rang her ramparts. These magnificent structures help place the world’s best-known successful slave revolt in a broader context—one that evokes a sense of pride over the strength and achievements of Afro-Caribbean people.


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LIME noun: lime /līm/ - a Trinidadian word for an event where people socialize. WRITER JAHLISA HARVEY PHOTOGRAPHY VARIOUS

BROWARD COUNTY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CULTURAL MELTING POT. WITHIN ITS DIVERSITY LIES A HEAVY DOSE OF THE CARIBBEAN, ADDING ISLAND FLAIR TO THE CITY’S ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE. CARIBBEAN people were among the founders of this South Florida destination in the 18th century. Over time, Broward County has become a wellspring of Caribbean cultural attractions, serving up flair and fun for all ages. This

remains true, even in the new normal brought on by COVID-19 and the age of social distancing. There’s still much to explore throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale while staying safe and healthy.


Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival


In place of their popular festivities held annually in Miramar, the hosts of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival have created a series of smaller events to get you through the quarantine slump. On the last Sunday in October, celebrate the newly designated National Jerk Day — feting the unique way of seasoning and grilling foods created by the Maroons of Jamaica. Foodies fiending for jerk bites are encouraged to support restaurants serving up the specialty throughout Broward County. In the home city of Miramar, festival promoters are planning something special involving residents and elected officials on the major event day. Locations and dates of official events will be posted on the organization’s social media pages and held with social distancing measures and safety protocols in place.

Coquitos Bar & Grill in Hollywood



Dancing the night away is more than a saying at Coquitos Bar & Grill in Hollywood. Here you can move your body to the intimate sounds of bachata, spin to the quick drums of salsa, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the vibrations of Latin rhythms. Considered one of the city’s most attractive bars, this Caribbean-Latin fusion venue hosts live music almost every night, with dancing inside and outside. Make sure to visit this local favorite for their popular salsa and bachata block party events. If dancing isn’t your style, warm up your vocal chords and knock out the lyrics to your favorite song during their karaoke night. Karaoke gives everyone a chance to be a star, if only for the length of a song.

Esther Rolle Centennial Celebrations Actress Esther Rolle is most known as her iconic character Florida Evans on “Good Times,” but her Sunshine State connections aren’t in name only. The beloved star’s SoFlo roots run deep. She was born on November 8, 1920 in Pompano Beach to Bahamian parents. Though she passed away in 1998, her legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. In her honor, Broward will celebrate her centennial this year, and you’re invited! The festivities start September 14 at the AfricanAmerican Research Library and Cultural Center, where guests can take a stroll down memory lane and relive the “Good Times” through their exhibit on Rolle’s life and career. They’ll also present an original play entitled, “Let the Good Times Rolle” in honor of the television legend.

Tuff Gong Reggae Boat Tour Often dubbed the yachting capital of the world, your visit to Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t feel complete without a morning, midday or nighttime cruise. Why not add a little island flair to your trip and enjoy the fresh air with Captain Tyler on his Tuff Gong Reggae Boat Tour? Here you can relax in the tropical vibes, jamming to sweet, sweet reggae music, or take a quick swim and snorkel in the clear shallow water. This is a great experience for the entire family, a girl’s trip or romantic escape. This four-hour lazy day tour offers tranquility and modern comfort while exploring the beautiful intracoastal waters. There will be no shortage of photo ops to update your favorite social media pages.



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DESIGNER: MODEL: Michelle McLean

Matching tied bandeau top and fitted, flared pants in earthy hues of orange, green and deep red create a statuesque silhouette.

DESIGNER: MODEL: Michelle McLean



Bright orange with bands of purple are made fit for a queen in this regal, billowing off-theshoulder dress. With a floorlength hemline, it’ll make you look like you’re walking on air.

DESIGNER: Kulture Klothes MODEL: Maisie McNaught


This off-theshoulder denim number is dressed up with large flower patterns, accent bands of fabric, and a whole lot of bling. Casual, eye-catching, fabulous.

DESIGNER: Kulture Klothes MODEL: Maisie McNaught



This sleeveless, baby doll dress is fitted at the top with a shapely lower half that’s short in the front and long in the back. The blueand-red fabric is accessorized with royal blue shawl and head wrap.

DESIGNER: Kulture Klothes MODEL: Kimberley McNaught






THIS PAST MAY, amid the desperate uncertainty surrounding the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, reggae music fans found a moment of escape when dancehall legends Beenie Man and Bounty Killer faced off in their now iconic Verzuz sound clash, which was livestreamed around the world. As they volleyed verse for verse, the showdown attracted nearly half a million viewers hunting for riveting musical entertainment in a landscape of canceled tours and live appearances following the outbreak. The crisis clearly has not stopped Caribbean stars from connecting with their performers — from Bad Bunny’s three-hour surprise livestream to Ziggy Marley’s virtual music classes and acoustic family concert at home with his kids

Live From Lockdown • Finding new ways to entertain since the pandemic began, however, isn’t just about nurturing creativity. It’s also about securing Caribbean music’s financial viability. Lost revenue, typically generated by touring, has hit Caribbean performers particularly hard, said attorney and music business consultant Lloyd Stanbury. “Most artists do not generate significant earnings from royalties,” he said. They don’t make much from their recordings. Instead, most of their money comes from performing, “so the curtailment of live shows around the world for the past several months has cut their main source of income.” Coronavirus lockdowns have presented a greater challenge to the region’s genres as they do not get as much mainstream exposure nor earn as many mainstream dollars. Both well-known international artists and up-and-comers in Caribbean music “will have to be more innovative and technologically aware to function in the future,” Stanbury said. In this new era, “some of the practices


we became accustomed to in the presentation and distribution of recorded music and live music performances will disappear or become less effective.” As a result, many have turned online to replace the income they would have earned from live concerts. Some have said they are actually earning more money from digital services during the pandemic than they did before the outbreak. After his live gigs were canceled in New Orleans, La., Afro-Caribbean folk artist Ben E. Hunter began performing online. Now, he has made more money through PayPal and Cash App donations for his virtual concerts than he did from performing a set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2019.

Folk artist Ben E. Hunter

Producer Richard “Shams” Browne

• Kingston-based producer Richard “Shams” Browne believes these direct donations can work as a viable solution. “If an artist has a strong enough fan base, they can do virtual concerts and promote them as an exclusive event, and either have a subscription fee or pay-per-view,” he said. “In today’s world, content is king, and most artists have their own home studios or access to one. They can use this time, while not touring, to create and release more music available for streaming.” Earning revenue solely through streaming, however, has its limitations, said Grammy-winning producer and Jamaican radio personality Wayne Jobson. “Virtual concerts have been great and (virtual) Reggae Sumfest was brilliant,” he opined in light of the connection fans and artists can maintain through these media. “Respect to [Josef Bogdanovich] and the Downsound crew.” Unfortunately for the artists, “streaming does not generate a lot, as one million Spotify streams only generates U.S. $4,000.”


Streaming Services

Masters of Their Own Fate and leader of Afro-Cuban funk band PALO! Like most acts, Roitstein said the band “has seen all of our live events canceled until further notice. “Inquiries keep coming in, but there is hesitation from all parties to commit to booking events when no one knows when things will be safe.” They now have been focused on promoting sales of their recorded music, and those sales have been steadily increasing. “Ironically, our historically highest revenue months from digital music have been during the pandemic. So implementing digital marketing strategies is part of our long-term plan. It’s been a worth-

while investment of resources,” Roitstein said. Stanbury said that as the music industry continues to evolve and the digital music market gains more importance in terms of revenuegenerating possibilities, the development and ownership of innovative content becomes a lot more important. “It is wise for artists to retain an interest in the content they create or participate in creating,” he said. “It is also incumbent on artists to exercise good judgement and secure professional representation.” He said that’s the smartest way to negotiate and capitalize on the masterpieces they create.


• That’s why, under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, Jobson has been actively helping artists reclaim recording catalogs and publishing rights — which generate residual income for writers and performers — often held by their labels and producers. In terms of musicians protecting themselves financially in post-pandemic culture, professionals agreed that ownership is crucial. For instance, Ziggy Marley has complete control of his master recordings and publishing as owner of the Tuff Gong Worldwide label. Ownership and independence have proved invaluable for Steve Roitstein, a Grammy nominee

Afro-Cuban funk band PALO!







The name Kamala means “lotus” in Sanskrit. Harris’ father, Donald, was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, and grew up in Brown’s Town in the same parish. It was at the University of California in Berkeley, during his PhD studies, that he met and married her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist then pursuing her doctorate in endocrinology. Harris herself was born in Oakland, Calif., and raised between the United States and Canada, spending occasional holidays with her paternal grandmother in Jamaica. In an interview with attorney and community activist Marlon Hill, Harris recalled both her parents being active in the civil rights movement. “Their influence on me from the time of my birth has been about making sure I was part of that fight,” she said. One of the key lessons she learned from them would drive her love of the law. From their example, she still believes “we have to dedicate ourselves to the struggle for justice and equality.” Her multicultural background has been a boon for the Democratic party, which continually seeks to expand its tent in an era of identity politics. And in the Caribbean community, the excitement is palpable. No sooner had she been announced as Joe Biden’s VP pick than memes about oxtail and curry goat on the White House menu began to circulate in WhatsApp and Facebook timelines. “I know that in America, her nomination has really lit a flame with Caribbean people,” remarked self-described “Jamerican” U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of New York.

Kamala Harris with her Jamaican grandmother. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MULLINGS

Caribbean Connections


Kamala Harris in the arms of her Indian mother (left) and Jamaican father (right).


proud daughter of immigrants and the most high-profile Black woman in the American political arena, Kamala Harris is at an extraordinary time in her life. She is walking into history as the first Black, Indian or Caribbean soror to become a vice presidential pick in U.S. history. In this moment, for the Democratic party and the Caribbean-American community, Kamala Harris is the golden child. She has Caribbean ancestral heritage through her Jamaican father, and Indian roots through her mother. This mixed Eastand-West Indian heritage, combined with other colorful and varied life experiences, has no doubt given Harris a deep appreciation of the human tapestry she could soon represent at a national level: an understanding that the individuality of American citizens is to be celebrated. In summarizing her vision for the nation she said, “If we are to be a strong country, if we are to reach the ideal, [then] we need leadership that recognizes the dignity and the value of each human being.” Now that she’s a contender in the race for the vice presidency, diverse populations who claim her as their own are transfixed by the 2020 elections.

Political activist David Mullings (left) with President Barack Obama (center) and the Mullings family.

“Whether you’re first-, second-, third-, fourthgeneration American, all of us can relate to wanting to see ourselves in leadership in our adopted home.” Political activist and CEO of Blue Mahoe Capital Partners, David Mullings (pictured left), sees the excitement among West Indians. “It’s a reminder that we Caribbean people contribute to America,” Mullings said. “It should also help to heal some of the divisions that exist about us not being Black enough, or acting white. Kamala is a reminder that we really are ‘out of many, one people,’” he said, giving a nod to Jamaica’s national motto.




A Series of Tensions The divisions Mullings mentioned are part of a complex undercurrent that runs through Black America. CaribbeanBlacks and African-Americans often see themselves and each other very differently, and unifying these groups has been a hot topic among civic-minded leaders who believe we are stronger together. Mullings is optimistic that beyond the general political culture, Harris can mend fences even at this socio-cultural level. “Certainly, it’s going to force us to talk about it and confront it in the open now, not behind closed doors,” he said. Acknowledging the current racial tensions in America, Hill, the activist and attorney (pictured right), also believes her election would move the narrative in a positive direction. “She is a woman for some who may not be Black enough and for some too Black. We need to let her be who she is and to demonstrate what she is giving of herself, which is the best of America.” The tension among Blacks of varying origins and skin tones is as complicated as that between liberals of various progressive stances within the Democratic Party. On one hand, the party seeks to be welcoming and inclusive. On the other, it seems to over-police intricate details of its leaders’ lives in ways that seem counterproductive to its ultimate goal of electoral victory. So for many, while Harris’ diverse background is attractive, her tough-on-crime prosecutorial record is a bitter pill to swallow. Harris began her career as a district attorney in California before being elected state attorney general in 2010. Working in the American criminal justice system revealed the less-than-level playing field for people of color, and some believe that Harris spent years at the helm as part of the problem, handing down stiff penalties for minor offenses. During her tenure as attorney general, however, Harris launched OpenJustice, an initiative creating accountability for California’s legal system and making it more transparent to the public it serves. Hill believes that her years of experience have guided her toward a more even hand and that she should be measured by more recent actions and accomplishments. “We should be allowed some leeway to evolve and learn and to embrace issues that may have been counter to who we were in the past,” he said. Her direct, no-nonsense approach is seen as an asset by supporters, including Mullings. “We need somebody who



WITH KAMALA (From her interview with Marlon Hill on the Caribbean Riddims Radio Show)

1 Attorney Marlon Hill with Senator Kamala Harris.

can go out and set the stage and just hit some people hard,” he argued. “She has proven more than capable of holding her own and crushing people with just the facts.” We saw this side of her during the 2019 judiciary committee hearing, where she fiercely questioned U.S. Attorney General William Barr about his handling of the Mueller report, and again in her blistering remarks during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in January 2020. As Senator, Harris sponsored or co-sponsored progressive legislation that supports civil rights issues. This includes reuniting immigrant families separated at ports of entry, decriminalizing cannabis, establishing a COVID-19 racial and ethnic disparities task force, and reforming law enforcement. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which she and colleagues in the House introduced in July, would ban chokeholds; prohibit racial, religious and discriminatory profiling; and give attorneys general more power to investigate police wrongdoing. “Before she was running for vice president, she had an affinity for addressing issues specific to the Black community,” Clarke observed. “And, in the era of Black Lives Matter, her lens provides entree into those spaces in a new way because it’s articulated through her lived experiences.”

and eventually the first to run for president. Their work to improve resources for inner-city residents in their districts is at the heart of a fight for equality that Harris has fought in the Senate on a national level. The women of color who hold her up extend far beyond West Indians. Harris is a member of the oldest Black sorority in the United States, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Her nomination has spurred legions of sisters to action. “Beyond her sorority and her university, there are networks of Black sororities and HBCUs that see themselves in a Kamala Harris. I happen to be a member of Delta Sigma


2 MOMALA’S NUMBER ONE RULE: Have a second plate.

3 FAVORITE JAMAICAN DISH: Oxtail stew with butter beans.



On the Shoulders of Women Clarke compared her fight, and that of Harris, to Nanny of the Maroons, who successfully led rebel troops against their oppressors prior to Jamaica’s emancipation from Britain. Unlike Nanny, Harris has taken the path of tackling the system from within. She stands on the shoulders of trailblazing Caribbean-American women in politics. Those like Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her mother Una, both leaders in Brooklyn, N.Y. And like Shirley Chisholm, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, who became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968


Theta Sorority,” Clarke said. And they’re equally fired up. Certainly her multi-racial and multicultural identity will pull more voters from ethnic-minority communities and likely from among women voters as well. Looking toward the office she hopes to occupy, Harris sees the role of the vice president as partner to the president, supporting their shared agenda. “For us, the agenda is about building America back better. It’s about making sure that all people are treated with dignity and respect and unifying the country. And I’m looking forward to doing that work.”

CALL TO ACTION: Vote early and make a voting plan. Know what the ballot looks like and how to fill it out properly before you go. And text JOIN to 30330 to join the Biden-Harris mobilization campaign.




Author Ghenete “G” Wright Muir (right) pictured here with her brother Richard (center) and mother Daphne Witter.



or Caribbean people, discovering what it means to be Black in America is a rite of passage — that perspective-shifting moment when you realize that, unlike the warm and welcoming way your loved ones see you, society sees something very different in the color of your skin. My journey to this moment was a roundabout one. Before I had the chance to become aware of what it meant to be Black in America, my parents packed up our home in New York City and moved us to Jamaica. I was just 5 years old, and my brother was 7.

Veiled Reality

Rites of Passage My perspective changed when I returned to live in New York City ten years later. Here, Blackness meant accepting that the faces of alleged criminals who bore my skin tone and who were assumed guilty would regularly be plastered across the nightly news shows. It meant the white lady would wind up her window as my brother crossed the street nearby. Here, Blackness, to the outsider, is dangerous. It’s something to be monitored and policed—the way my new high school registration form requesting my race did.



In many ways, our Jamaican family life shielded us kids from American racism. My parents had given me an Ethiopian first name and filled our home with books and images by Black people. My mother bought me delicate gold chains and gasped at how lovely they looked on my skin. And when I requested a Baby Alive doll for Christmas, I didn’t get the blond-haired, blue-eyed one from the commercials. I got the brown-skinned one my father said looked beautiful, just like me. However, a form of anti-Blackness lurks as an undercurrent throughout Caribbean societies. I learned of aspersions that would be cast upon me based on the color of my skin — that my mother’s much lighter tone was celebrated here, and, contrary to what she was teaching me, my complexion was not considered as beautiful as hers. I also learned that my long wavy hair and any hair textures that departed from the tight curls of many Black people was valued more. Even so, the very fact of our Blackness did not impact our success or safety here. Every racial background was part of the melting pot, and nothing in Jamaica made me feel that being Black would disadvantage me in any material way. But at my young age, I may not have seen the full picture. So many darker-skinned people in the West Indies do find that their skin color is an impediment to upward mobility.” Racial issues often get masked in the Caribbean as class issues,” explained Professor Kimberley D. McKinson, an anthropologist at the City University of New York. “Why is it that the poorest in the Caribbean society are all Black, and the more [light] you get, the more socially mobile you become? Even if we mask it as uptown and downtown, these valuations of race and color are inherently mapped onto these supposedly class[-based] categories.”

In the United States, applicants are often asked to specify their race, a requirement unfamiliar in the Caribbean.





Clinging to Multiculturalism

In the early 20th century, Jamaica-born civil rights leader Marcus Garvey provided a model for Pan-African unity. Here, he leads the 1922 opening day parade for the annual Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World.


These constant requests for racial categorization are another troubling Caribbean Black rite of passage. When we come to America, we are confronted with our Blackness in a culture that is consumed with race and has racism at the core of its existence. Faced with this reality, Caribbean folks have responded differently over time. In the first big wave to America in the early 20th century, island immigrants “very much understood themselves in racial terms of what it meant to be Black in the U.S. politically,” explained McKinson. In response to violent mass lynchings and riots burning down Black enclaves, for safety, we rallied behind figures like the Jamaica-born Marcus Garvey, “who in the 1920s articulated and advocated for a universal notion of Blackness.” By the 1980s, however, “what starts happening is a greater emphasis on ethnicity over race,” McKinson said. “What does it mean to be an ethnic immigrant? It’s to highlight I’m Caribbean; I celebrate Carnival. I’m Black, but I’m from Jamaica.”

The reason for this shift is perhaps that we’re holding tightly to a little piece of Caribbean multiculturalism — that intrinsic pride we have in acknowledging the races or cultures that are a part of our heritage. “There’s much more fluid understanding of race as it’s socially constructed in the Caribbean,” McKinson said. Some of my friends agreed. I spoke to Cheddi, who has Indian, African and European roots. “Mi mix wid everything,” he said. “I could not be lumped into one group.” For Ann-Marie, our Caribbean “out of many, one people” perspective feels more welcoming. She sometimes feels darker people in America discriminate against her because of her lighter skin and Asian features. “I don’t really feel as strong a connection to African-Americans as I should, mainly because they don’t accept me,” she said. “There’s an inference that I’m not really Black.” McKinson confirmed her experience: “A big part of race and racialization is not just about how the individual identifies, but how people looking at you identify you.” Other friends feel right at home being associated with both groups. Joan said she identifies with the Black American experience because “Whites perceive me as Black, not Jamaican.” And David said, “African-Americans are my people; we are one!” In America, regardless of how we choose to identify ourselves, the status quo places us into one racial category that is arguably the most oppressed group in the nation. My Trinidadian friend Sandra, who embraces being a part of the African-American community, felt the stigma firsthand when she moved to the United States. “I was prepared to be labeled as Black, but I was not prepared for how everything that I said or did was devalued.” As we struggle with navigating race in this America, we join an even greater struggle that AfricanAmericans have endured for centuries. Whether the Civil Rights or Black Lives Matter movement, this country’s growing pains are our growing pains. At the end of the day, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, we’re all in this together.




THE 2020 COVID-19 PANDEMIC has quickly changed the world as we know it, throwing our comfortable routines out the window. It tore us apart while bringing us together in ways we never imagined. Such an experience must leave a mark on those touched by the disease, whether fighting the virus themselves or helping others through the ordeal. To explore how the outbreak has affected the Caribbean-American community, Island Origins spoke with the people whose lives have been forever transformed from the pandemic: from a survivor of the virus to the healthcare workers fighting on the front line.


A SENSE OF CONNECTION: Dr. Gilda-Rae Grell Dr. Gilda-Rae Grell was on the front lines when COVID-19 erupted in early 2020, overwhelming her and her colleagues at the Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The ICU was filled to capacity, and patient beds lined the hallways. By March, the outbreak had completely transformed the resourced-pressed hospital that serves a large Caribbean community. “This is a very poor hospital in a very rough part of the neighborhood,” said Grell, a native of the island of Dominica. Her Caribbean background was a useful asset. With the need for clarity and efficiency at an all-time high, her ability to effectively communicate with the people she treated was half the battle. “I can understand what they are saying, and if they are describing their symptoms in a certain Caribbean slang, I can show comprehension and respond to it. And they appreciated it.” While island kinship was a connector on hospital grounds, outside of work the virus completely disrupted her ability to interact. As the Big Apple fought to “flatten the curve,” businesses, schools and events all closed. The isolation that resulted took an emotional toll on Grell. “When the pandemic started, I was living with someone, and it was very nerve racking because you don’t want to infect the person you’re living with,” she recalled about that dark time. “And when people were doing social distancing parties, I wasn’t invited because I was most at-risk.” Fortunately, she wasn’t actually alone. A deeper bond developed between Grell and her co-workers, who shared the same daily risks and the same challenges at home. As life is slowly creeping back to normal following the decline in confirmed positive cases, her team is still finding refuge in each other and in games of pick-up soccer at the park.



STATE OF MIND: Andrea Munroe Dixon Andrea Munroe Dixon has seen firsthand how the disease can sully the most basic comforts for those in recovery. The simple act of eating, for example, can feel discouraging when you’ve lost your sense of smell and taste—one of the confirmed symptoms of the virus. “I remembered meeting an elderly Jamaican woman who I encouraged to eat anyway,” Dixon said. A positive attitude is always a powerful key to healing, so she told her to “think about it as medicine more than food.” She took time out from running her home care company to return to her roots as a registered nurse, volunteering in COVID-19 treatment wards in Florida. Throughout her 19 years caring for others, and as CEO of Sunshine State Healthcare Solutions, she has learned that in addition to medical intervention, emotional support for each person she treats is essential. “Your health and well-being start with your state of mind and how you think positively,” Dixon said. “How you think is how your body reacts. You don’t want to deactivate positive enzymes that create healing and you don’t want to suppress your immune system.” Dixon’s memories of her childhood in Jamaica include favorite flashbacks of her mother taking her to nursing homes to care for the elderly. This was where she learned that there were more important things in life than dollars and cents. For folks like her, happiness can truly come when you “work from the heart to take care of each other.”

LIFE AND DEATH: Hadlin Bowen In her years as a nurse, nothing has taught Hadlin Bowen more about the quickness of life and death than this pandemic. Every patient the England-born daughter of Jamaicans was able to guide back to health felt like a hard-won victory. The nurses at her hospital in Long Island, N.Y. started a tradition celebrating each treasured survivor. When patients were able to return home, the staff played the upbeat “Walking on Sunshine” as they left. Though many survived, many others did not make it in those first months of the pandemic. Medical professionals struggled to save lives from a novel disease with no established treatment protocols. Losing this fight meant “bagging someone up after working with them for so long,” Bowen said. These deaths felt especially cruel “because patients weren’t able to go home and have a regular funeral.” She knows firsthand the grief brought on by missing those last moments with a dying loved one. It was losing her own father that first brought her to nursing. In the absence of her patients’ family and friends, she tries to bring comfort in their stead. “The greatest thing I like is bringing a smile to their face,” Bowen said. “I enjoy letting them know that someone cares when they don’t have anyone there for them.” In those precious moments, “I tell them that God loves them. That is why I am supposed to be there.”

A SURVIVOR’S COUNSEL: Lester Reid After surviving COVID-19, what Lester Reid will remember most of all was the constant, terrible fight for air. “I just couldn’t breathe,” he recalled of his two weeks battling the disease at Memorial Regional Hospital and Florida Medical Center. “I had pneumonia. It almost took my life.” His fear was compounded by having to go through this mortal distress alone with no family allowed in the hospital to provide support and comfort. He had only limited social contact with hospital staff. The isolation made for “a pretty strange experience, because I couldn’t speak to anybody,” said Reid. Relief only came when his father was able to pick him up from the hospital after his recovery phase. The experience affected him both physically and psychologically. He said caring for emotional needs is important for survivors’


mental health. Since his ordeal, he has counseled other survivors as they continue to heal. He advises them to avoid the onslaught of fear filling the news. “Turn off the television and ra-

dio, and pay less attention to the negative talk surrounding COVID-19,” shared Reid. “Protect your mind because, if you’re not careful, that’s when depression comes.” Mentoring others comes naturally for the native Jamaican, who is also an associate professor of accounting at Florida Memorial University. He sees people through a unique lens now. Asked about non-believers who choose not to wear masks, he said: “I can be sure that they don’t have someone personally in their life who caught the virus and went through that devastating experience.” And whether you’ve been touched personally by it or not, he offers sage advice. “Life is not guaranteed to last forever. How you live with people and how you share your life with people really matters at the end of the day.”





rom the first descendants of indentureship who settled across Antillean islands, a rich community has emerged with a distinctive artistic expression all its own. This has become most pronounced in the realm of performance. Indo-Caribbean artists have

hybridized and creolized traditional folk dance and music, fusing the Old World and new. Today, Indo-Caribbean artists living in America give voice to the diaspora, bringing visibility to their community and advancing Caribbean culture across the nation’s stages.


• Culture and community are intimately

(L-R): Dancer Vedasha Roopnarine, founding director and choreographer Denyse Baboolal, and dancers Ilicia Dow and Rose Sahade


intertwined for Trinidadian native Denyse Baboolal, the proud founder and director of Jayadevi Arts Inc. — the first Indo-Caribbean arts nonprofit in the southern United States. Based in South Florida, Baboolal has become an essential advocate for nurturing Indo-Caribbean culture in America. For more than two decades, she has performed and choreographed both Indian and IndoCaribbean dance forms across the country. “We try to show them that India has Bollywood, but in the Caribbean, we have chutney,” Baboolal said of the unique Caribbean style informed by Latin and African influences. “At shows, we say, ‘This is our version of Bollywood,’ so they see the difference of where our roots started and where we are today.” What differentiates Jayadevi Arts from other Indo-Caribbean cultural groups is their celebration of art forms from across the wider Caribbean diaspora. Every year at the Phagwah spring festival celebrations, also known as Holi, Baboolal said she showcases “not only Trinidad and Guyana, but also Jamaica, Suriname, and Belize.” “We represent Indians from all segments of the Caribbean.” Jayadevi Arts also regularly performs at political events throughout South Florida. In addition to carrying the torch to the next generation, Baboolal hopes this visibility underscores the community as a distinct group with specific needs. “We want to be able to go into the political arena to say, ‘Hello, we’re Indo-Caribbean.’ When we check on ‘Other’ and we write ‘IndoCaribbean’ on the Census, this is who we are. And we need to be recognized.”

group co-founded by his brother Mohamed Amin. “Over the past 10 years, I have used my identity via dance to remind our community of this forgotten history. Though LGBTQ artists’ visibility was once slim to none, setting a gender equality standard in my artistic practice has created a wave of transformation within

A DIFFERENT BEAT: Levi Ali • Connecticut-based drummer Levi Ali is on

a mission. The Trinidadian-American percussionist, a master at Caribbean tassa and Indian-style tabla, is spreading the gospel of the drums. With a father who toured as a reggae bass player, music is in his blood. Ali’s forays into drumming began with heavy metal and punk rock bands. He first became interested in the Arab hand drum, the doumbek, at a belly-dancing performance in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz. After moving to Boston, Mass., as an adult, he began to study the ubiquitous South Asian tabla drum. “My friend’s dad had to personally bring me the tablas from India,” recalled the musician, “because when he tried to mail them, the customs officers would cut them open.” A 2008 trip to Trinidad and Tobago unlocked the power of tassa, the Caribbean Indian snare drum worn around the body. Along all his journeys, both geographical and artistic, tassa holds the most special place in his heart. “What’s cool about Trinis is that we took what

our community in Queens.” Going on two decades as a performer, Amin remains committed to his art’s empowering impact. “Whether it’s at a senior home, rally, cultural community event or at a wedding, it’s a great blessing to share our rich Indo-Caribbean culture with others.”



mance fuse to magical effect for pioneering New York-based dancer and choreographer, Zaman Amin. Performing both under his own name and his drag persona — the Goddess Sundari — the proudly gay, Muslim and IndoGuyanese star has become an icon of nightlife in Queens, N.Y., and the LGBTQ Caribbean community. He’s a regular star attraction during the city’s pride celebrations, dancing at the historic Stonewall Inn and the Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival. In 2018, he made history becoming the first drag queen to perform on the main stage at the 30th Annual Queens Phagwah Parade, joining the acclaimed Tarang Dance Group. “It was a historic event for not only our LGBTQ community, but for the Indo-Caribbean diaspora as well,” Amin said about the landmark performance. When dancing to Bollywood and soca hits as Sundari, Amin is usually bedecked in jewelry and lush traditional dress. Beyond the glitz and glam, however, this alter ego has a deeper purpose for Amin — proving that LGBTQ identities and Caribbean culture are not mutually exclusive and that they can be synergetic. “Our Indo-Caribbean community has a long history of LGBTQ identities,” Amin said. He’s also a member of the Queens-based Caribbean Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy


• Caribbean bacchanal and drag perfor-



we had from India to Trinidad, and that’s blossomed into its own unique art form that I would consider the pinnacle of drumming.” Across the Northeast, Ali now plays among a group of South Asian artists at local gigs and festivals. Outside of Caribbean-oriented events such as carnivals, Ali is generally the only Indo-Caribbean drummer. “It’s a whole culture that’s gone unnoticed,” Ali said. “The subcontinent could learn a lot from us about how to adapt and change culture to fit your new surroundings.”

HASSAN GHANNY is a writer and performer based in Boston. His writing has been featured in The Boston Globe and WBUR.




AT THE HUMBLE CORNER OF U.S. 441 AND BROWARD BOULEVARD AWAITS A PARADISE OF CARIBBEAN EATERIES FOR ANY FOOD LOVER IN THE KNOW TO ENJOY. NOW, I HAVE EXPERIENCED ONE MORE REASON TO EAT AT THIS ICONIC INTERSECTION IN PLANTATION, EQUALLY FOR ITS HEALTH BENEFITS AS WELL AS ITS RICH ISLAND FLAVORS. WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER DAVID I. MUIR WELCOME TO VEG BY HAKIN, the second vegetarian cafe owned by Antiguaborn restaurateur Hakin Alexander Hill. He also runs a popular outpost in Miami called Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin. Hill was introduced to the plant-based lifestyle at an early age and has been vegetarian for 35 years, with 22 years as a vegan. “I’ve seen the benefits of health and the financial prosperity of the lifestyle,” Hill said about his wish to share delicious plant-based dining with others. Known as Me Hungry Vegetarian Restaurant before Hill took over ownership, the revamped spot launched this past March (just before the release of social distancing orders). The timing certainly posed a unique challenge, but their health-centric offerings feel more relevant than ever. Hill explains that Veg by Hakin serves Caribbean macrobiotic cuisine, which includes plant-based substitutes for animal-based products. For example, soy adds the secret meatiness to their ginger “chicken” and barbecue dishes. They also feature a range of natural juices. Donna, my server, recommended I try the ginger “chicken,” and Hill encouraged me to also order the barbecue. Spinach rice and a generous serving of fresh vegetables accompanied my lunch. As a side, I also opted to try both versions of their vegetable patties. The ginger soy chicken makes an amazing start for any meal. The flavors remind me of a Chinese-Jamaican dish I have eaten


Restaurant owner Hakin Hill.

Casual dine-in area at Veg by Hakin.

at the best restaurants back home. The soy was tender with a light, yet distinct, ginger flavor and a smooth gravy. The spinachseasoned rice makes an absolutely delightful pairing. This is the type of meal I could eat daily. The barbecue was also tender, but the flavor was much bolder and sweeter. I haven’t typically seen barbecued meat with this super-soft, moist texture or saucy gravy, but the difference was welcome and enjoyable. I would definitely enjoy this as an occasional treat, and I found that it worked well with the fresh greens. Lastly, I sampled their veggie patties. Both versions were consistent: warm with the flaky crust typically associated with Jamaican patties. As a fan of spice, to me, the mixed-vegetable patty was good, yet unremarkable. The spinach patty had a much better mixture of flavors, such that I’d happily eat it again. There are so many more options to try. I’ve told Hill that I also wish to visit his Miami restaurant for comparison. He informed me that it is “considered one of Miami’s first Black vegan restaurants and markets.” With such pedigree, this new Broward locale is on its way to becoming desirable to carnivores and plant-based foodies alike. Veg by Hakin is located in the Westgate Plaza at 105 North State Rd. 7, Plantation, Fla. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and on Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Cashew Chicken (Poulet aux Noix)

Typically made as part of a hearty Sunday dinner, Poulet aux Noix originated in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien. It is particularly spicy, with both pikliz and sos ti malice as key ingredients. INGREDIENTS • 1 cup raw cashews, whole • 5 lb chicken parts • 2 limes, cut in half • 4 tbsp pikliz liquid • 4 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 medium onion, chopped • 1 shallot, minced • 1 scallion, chopped


• ½ green bell pepper, chopped • ½ red bell pepper, chopped • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, chopped • 1 sprig thyme • 4 cloves, whole • 1 tsp salt, to taste • 1 tsp pepper, to taste • 2 tbsp tomato paste • ½ cup sos ti malice (optional)

METHOD Place the cashews in a small saucepan and add enough water to completely cover them. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cashews are tender, then set aside. In a large bowl, rub the clean chicken pieces with the lime then add the pikliz (recipe on page 100), garlic, onion, shallot, scallion, and green and red bell peppers and mix well to coat all pieces evenly. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large pot and add the parsley, thyme, cloves, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, stir to combine the tomato paste and optional sos ti malice with a ½ cup of water and a ½ cup of reserved liquid from boiled cashews. Pour over the chicken and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cashews and simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve with white rice.

Pickled Cabbage (Pikliz)

Tangy Pikliz is a spicy coleslaw that perfectly complements rich, salty or spicy meals. Cabbage and carrots are marinated in vinegar and lime juice and brought to life with onions, mixed bell peppers and spices. INGREDIENTS • 3 cups shredded green cabbage • 1 large carrot, grated • 1 cup green and red bell pepper, thinly sliced • 1 onion, thinly sliced • 2 scallions, thinly sliced • 6 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded • 1 tsp salt • 1½ cups vinegar • ½ cup lime juice METHOD Blend the lime and scotch bonnet peppers in a blender, being care-

ful not to touch your eyes while handling the peppers. Thoroughly mix the blend with all the remaining ingredients and ½ cup of the vinegar in a large bowl. Scoop the mixture into a large glass bottle or jar. Pour in enough of the remaining vinegar to completely cover everything. Seal and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about five days. Serve as a side with entrees. Note: Rinse the blender well with soap and warm water after blending the peppers as residual spiciness may seep into other foods.

Rice and Beans (Diri Kole)

While the combination of rice and beans is common throughout the Caribbean, Haitian Diri Kole is unique because of the addition of tomato paste. Depending on the Haitian province where the dish is made, the recipe can include a hint of coconut milk as well. INGREDIENTS • 1½ cups dried red kidney beans • 1 tsp salt • ½ cup canola oil • ½ cup pork fat or bacon, optional • 1 tbsp tomato paste • 3 tbsp epis • ½ red bell pepper, roughly chopped • ½ cup scallion, chopped • bouquet garni (½ bunch thyme, ½ bunch parsley and 5 cloves wrapped in cheesecloth) • 2 cups white or yellow longgrain rice, rinsed • 1 tbsp butter METHOD Discard any broken, bruised or discolored beans. Rinse the beans, place them in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover them. Soak overnight and drain before cooking. Transfer the beans to a pot and pour in enough water to completely cover them, plus a couple inches more. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, about 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are soft. Add more water

if the level goes below the beans. Strain the cooked beans over a large bowl, reserving the water. Heat ½ cup of oil in a large dutch pan over medium-high heat. Optionally stir in bacon or pork fat. Stir tomato paste into the oil, and once it begins to change color, add red bell pepper, scallion and epis, stirring until the mixture turns brown. Add the cooked beans to the mixture and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until the beans begin to brown. Add 3½ cups of the reserved water that the beans were boiled in along with salt and bouquet garni. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and continue boiling until the water has almost dried out. Thoroughly mix in the butter, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until rice and beans are tender. Serve hot with Griot or Tasso Bef. Note: To shorten the process, you may use canned beans, in which case reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon and use fresh water after browning the beans.





AVERAGE COST PER PERSON BEFORE DRINKS, TAX AND TIP. $ Under $10 / person $$ Under $20 / person $$$ Under $40 / person $$$$ Over $40 / person 925 NUEVO’S CUBANO’S | $ Cuban Serving succulent roast pork and delicious sandwiches. 925 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale Delivery ALBERTE’S RESTAURANT I$$ Haitian Unique and authentic Caribbean dishes, with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. 1201 NE 38th St, Oakland Park Dine In | Delivery | Takeout ALEXSANDRA’S CARIBBEAN CAFE |$$ Caribbean, Jamaican Soak up some sun while enjoying their famous jerk chicken sandwich and patties. 235 E Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Delivery | Takeout ALI’S ROTI SHOP | $ Caribbean, Indian, Vegetarian Tiny counter-serve joint dishing up Trinidadian comfort food like doubles & aloo pie. 3 03 S State Road 7, Plantation Delivery | Takeout LA BELLE JACMELIENNE CAFE | $$ Haitian Haitian décor and friendly staff serving up a wide array of Haitian cuisine 3 328 South University Dr, Miramar Delivery | Takeout


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

CHEF CREOLE | $$ Haitian Simply delicious signature Haitian seafood. 2 00 NW 54th St, Miami, FL Takeout

BAHAMIAN REEF SEAFOOD RESTAURANT |$$$ Seafood Low-key and casual with colorful interior. 7836 NW 44th St, Sunrise Delivery | Takeout

CLIVE’S CAFE | $ Jamaican Popular spot for jerk chicken and curry goat. 5 890 NW 2nd Ave, Miami Delivery | Takeout

EL BOHIO DE MAMA | $$ Dominican Familystyle restaurant offering music, mofongo, shrimp and dancing. 2181 State Road 7, Margate Dine In | Delivery | Takeout BUTTERFLAKES | $ Jamaican Local spot for patties and hot food. 5100 W Commercial Blvd #3, Tamarac Delivery | Takeout CALYPSO RESTAURANT & RAW BAR | $$ Caribbean Try their Caribbean-style seafood and Jamaican jerk and curry dishes. 4 60 S Cypress Rd., Dine In | Takeout

COLADA | $ Cuban Family-owned bakery serving savory and sweet Cuban treats and other Cuban cuisine. 5 25 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale Dine In | Delivery | Takeout CONCH HEAVEN | $$ Bahamian Lots of conch based comfort foods, with locations in Miami, Plantation and Atlanta. 1 1275 NW 27th Ave, Miami Delivery | Takeout CONCH KRAWL CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $$ Bahamian, Seafood Enjoy traditional Bahamian and other Caribbean dishes. 2 600 S University Dine In | Takeout

DON ARTURO RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Serving traditional recipes & drinks in kid-friendly environment. 1 198 SW 27th Ave, Fort Lauderdale Dine In | Takeout DONNA’S CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican food all day, plus cocktails and Sunday brunch. Nine locations around South Florida. 5 434 N University Drive, Lauderhill Takeout DUKUNOO JAMAICAN KITCHEN | $$ Jamaican Wynwood’s full-service, upscale, Caribbean dining experience. 3 16 NW 24th St, Miami Dine In | Delivery | Takeout DUNN’S RIVER | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine in a beautiful ambiance, serving the Hallandale area. 9 08 W Hallandale Beach Blvd, Hallandale Beach Delivery | Takeout DUTCH POT JAMAICAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine. 3 120 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale Delivery | Takeout

ESTEFAN KITCHEN | $$$ Cuban Star-powered destination for upscale Cuban cuisine. 140 NE 39th St #133, Delivery FIERY IRIE | $$ Caribbean All your favorite authentic Jamaican dishes. 1 00 S Flamingo Rd, Pembroke Pines Dine In | Delivery | Takeout FINLEY’S BAHAMIAN RESTAURANT | $$ Bahamian Try their breakfast served with johnny cakes or grits, lunch specials daily 2 710 W Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach finleysbahamianrestaurant. com Delivery | Takeout HAVANA 1957 | $$ Cuban Quick bites in a buzzing backdrop with Havana memorabilia 4 05 Espanola Way, Miami Beach Dine In | Delivery | Takeout ISLAND FUSION GRILL | $$ Jamaican, Cuban Jamaican, Cuban, Asian and Creole flavors with seafood and vegetarian options 4 811 S State Rd 7, Davie, FL 33314 Delivery | Takeout

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JUANA’S LATIN SPORTS BAR & GRILL |$$ Latin Casual Dominican, Puerto Rican & American sports bar and grill. 1 1602 City Hall Dine In | Takeout LAS OLAS CAFE | $ Cuban Freshly squeezed juices and Cuban sandwiches. 6 44 6th St, Miami Beach Dine In | Delivery | Takeout LAS VEGAS CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban, Latin American A dine-in hot spot with 16 South Florida locations offering Cuban meals and cocktails. 2 807 E Oakland Park Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale Dine In | Takeout EL MAGO DE LAS FRITAS | $ Cuban Cozy spot for Cuban burgers. 5 828 SW 8th St, Miami Dine In | Delivery | Takeout

JOY’S ROTI DELIGHT | $$ Trinidadian, Indian Counter-service cafe with Indian-inspired Caribbean cuisine. 1 205 NW 40th Ave, Lauderhill Dine In | Delivery | Takeout

MANGU CAFE RESTAURANT | $$ Dominican Bare-bones Dominican spot serving pernil, goat stew, beer & wine. 2 007 W 62nd St, Hialeah Dine In | Delivery | Takeout

JUANA LA CUBANA CAFE |$ Cuban Cuban sandwiches & dishes like ropa vieja & roast pork. 2 850 SW 54th St, Fort Lauderdale Dine In | Takeout

MARIO’S CATALINA RESTAURANT | $$$ Cuban Dine in relaxing ambiance, eating Cuban and Spanish 1 611 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale Dine In | Delivery | Takeout

EL OTRO TIESTO CAFE | $$ Dominican Dominican-Japanese fusion with a twist. 3 023 Biscayne Blvd, Miami Dine In | Delivery | Takeout ORTANIQUE ON THE MILE | $$$$ Caribbean Fusion Island flavors, local ingredients, creative cocktails, tropical-themed decor. 2 78 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables Dine In | Delivery | Takeout PADRINO’S CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban Serving the best mariquitas, mojito and flan for the past 40 years. 1 135 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale Dine In | Delivery | Takeout PANFRIDAYS | $$ Jamaican Try their popular jerk chicken and shrimp pasta. 7 183 W Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderhill Dine In | Delivery | Takeout POLLO EL COJIDO | $$ Dominican Delicious mofongo, quesadilla and sancocho. 5 859 N University Dr, Pompano Beach Dine In | Delivery | Takeout POLLO TIPICO | $ Traditional Dominican dishes in a laid-back atmosphere Dine In | Delivery | Takeout

PUERTO SAGUA RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Known for their soup and oxtail stews 7 00 Collins Ave, Miami Beach Dine In | Takeout REED’S CATERING & CONCESSIONS | $$ Seafood, Caribbean Late night seafood truck, with a specialty of conch salad. 1 2203 NW 27th Ave, Miami Takeout REGGAE PON THE GRILLE | $$ Jamaican, Caribbean Buffet style dining offering tasty Jamaican dishes. 8 032 W McNab Rd, North Lauderdale Dine In | Delivery | Takeout ROCK STEADY JAMAICAN BISTRO | $$$ Jamaican, Caribbean Strip-mall cafe with Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, curries & crab fritters. 2 399 N Federal Hwy - Unit C, Boca Raton r Dine In | Delivery | Takeout SAZON CUBAN CUISINE | $ Cuban Tasty Caribbean cuisine and live weekend entertainment. 7 305 Collins Ave, Miami Beach Dine In | Delivery | Takeout SHALAMA’S HALAL ROTI SHOP | $ Caribbean, Indian Casual ethnic take-out spot with authentic roti, curries and pepper sauce. 1 432 State Road 7, Dine In | Takeout

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olitical gamesmanship seems to have impressed anti-immigrant sentiment into the American psyche; coronavirus has devastated the nation and the world; police brutality and social and economic inequality have turned up the volume on the Black Lives Matter movement internationally; and whether or not you believe in climate change, Mother Nature is unleashing indiscriminate fury on multiple targets. On the bright side, Broward County, Fla., will become the site of the first museum in the world celebrating collective Caribbean culture. In a time



of universal hardship, good people of the world are becoming civically active and stepping up to take care of one another. And for the first time in America’s history, a Black woman (of East and West Indian descent) has been nominated to a major presidential ticket. The Caribbean region we represent was the original melting pot of the world and remains a smorgasbord of ethnic backgrounds. Our focus at Island Origins, and all our affiliated brands, has always been to celebrate this diversity and to honor that mixed heritage. It felt right that, in this moment, we should dedicate an issue to the soul of our people and to memorializing the crazy, unforgettable, history-making year this has been. G’s insightful reflections on race explore the nuanced differences between the Black-Caribbean and Black-American experiences. Jahlisa’s conversations with Caribbean people affected by COVID-19, from the perspectives of both the doctor and the patient, offer personal views on the emotional toll the disease takes. Steve’s guide on where to connect with indigenous roots in the islands should definitely be added to bucket list folders, particularly for folks from the region. Our style spread gives a super-fab, trendy nod to our predominantly African heritage. And we acknowledge the groundbreaking achievement of Kamala Harris. She has electrified immigrant communities, is feted by supporters and political peers alike, and is who we back for vice president. The pandemic and political environment have forced us all to make major life adjustments. In the case of Island Origins Magazine, we’ve been forced to shift our focus from purely life-style to considering life-struggles as well. As we offer island immigrant perspectives on the breathtaking events of this moment in history, our hope is that the loud social dialogue going on around us leads to solutions rather than falling on deaf ears. Like G said so simply and powerfully, we’re all in this together.

Student, Census Taker

Baker, Census Taker

Musician, Census Taker

Retiree, Census Taker

Writer, Census Taker

Everyone counts, and we’ll count everyone, safely. Census takers are now visiting neighborhoods to help households respond to the 2020 Census. They will be wearing masks and following local safety guidelines. An undercounted community can miss out on billions of dollars in public funding each year, so don’t miss the chance to have an impact. It’s not too late.

Complete the census at:

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