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In our double inaugural feature, Shauna Rigaud gives us all things CropOver from the "Gem of the Caribbean"-Barbados!
What country do you represent and where are you based?
Barbados and Alexandria, Virginia
What you know about this Soka Tribe life? ;) (i.e. what is your affiliation, how long, how did it start)
Upon moving to the DMV area to start my PhD program in 2017, a friend from college, April, who had also moved to the area, kept sending me information about events from Sokatribe. As a new grad student, I was overwhelmed with work and pushed the invitations to the side. By my second year in my PhD program, it was clear that I needed more work/life balance (I was not going to let this program make me lose my hair) and was missing my Caribbean community back in Boston, so when my friend reached out about the Sokatribe auditions, I made space in my schedule to attend. I've been performing with Sokatribe since March of this year and I absolutely love the community that I've been able to form with this group in this new city.
What brought you to this particular carnival?
First, it's important to note that Crop Over is not a carnival, it is a festival and this festival has a special place in my heart. I've been attending the Crop Over Festival since I was a baby! My family is from Barbados and my summers growing up would be spent on the island at the height of the season. As I grew up and started adulting, I wanted to make sure to be intentional about the things that made me happy - connecting with my family on the island and participating in this cultural event were two of them, so Crop Over is a festival I now try not to miss. Additionally, about three years ago my sorority sister who now lives on the island and I started a Crop Over Concierge Company called Mayhem246. We coordinate transportation, event ticket, costume and foreday collection for folks participating in the festival to make their Crop Over seamless. Our goal for Mayhem246 is to educate folks about the festival while providing a truly Bajan experience. So with my family, my love of the culture and Mayhem246, Crop Over is an every year pump!
Have you played mas before? When and where?
Yes! Outside of jumping for Crop Over, I've played mas in Boston, Toronto, and Trinidad.
What carnivals would you rinse and repeat?
I would definitely do Trinidad again and although I have yet to attend, I'm looking forward to playing mas in Grenada.
What do you wish you knew about this carnival before going?
At this point, Crop Over is a no-brainer for me. I'm a veteran!
What would you say makes this carnival different from others?
The clear difference is that Crop Over is not a carnival. The Crop Over festival is actually a harvest festival and derives from traditions of the celebration of the end of the sugar cane harvest. Hence the name: Crop Over. Crop Over is actually a two month long celebration that begins June 1st and culminates on the first Monday in August (Kadooment Day).
Soca Artist that you would want to fete with?
Bunji and Fay-Ann
Anything else the Soka Tribe should know about you?
I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in the Cultural Studies program at George Mason University. My research interests include Black History with a focus on Caribbean American experiences and Black feminism. In my dissertation, I hope to explore cultural practices in Barbados that create ideas of nationhood. I want my research to add to conversations about solidarity and community amongst the black diaspora.
My social media handle is?
ne1nappy and Mayhem246