After six years of producing its costumes in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago, the local masquerade band Fantasy has moved its full production to Barbados.
Managing Director of Fantasy Barbados Amanda Reifer made the announcement at a press conference earlier this week in which she spoke of the many challenges her band experienced in importing costumes from the twin island republic.
“Over the years we have had some challenges with shipping, having to fly costumes in, the whole production process, distribution and so forth and although we have managed to do our best in that aspect what we have realized is that it hasn’t really benefitted masquerade production in Barbados, so this year the band is moving [its] production home to Barbados,” explained Reifer.
However, the band will still be utilizing Trinidadian designers, even though Reifer sees new opportunities for interested Barbadians to learn about masquerade production and design.
“We have already reached out to Barbados Community College Fine Arts students and they will be interning at the band house,” Reifer said.
She also announced that two American celebrities will be jumping with Fantasy this year.
“The first celebrity who has agreed to come to Barbados for Crop Over  is Naturi Naughton. You would know her as Tasha from the hit [American television] series Power, a very exciting series with lots of drama, and [she] and her entourage will be coming to Barbados between July 27th til Crop Over.
“We are also very excited to have Rotimi, his real name is Olurotimi Akinosho, as our second celebrity and you would also know him from Power, but you will mostly remember him from the Divergent series,” said an excited Reifer.
The band, which had previously welcomed American actress Columbus Short and international model Jourdan Dunn, has been promoting a concept of “celebrity culture tourism”, which has been endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, as well as the Ministry of Tourism.
“One of the key reasons why we [Fantasy Barbados] have been able to attract celebrities since 2014 is for our charity which is the HIV Food Bank of Barbados. The celebrities are here for the charity first and foremost. The idea is to draw attention and awareness on an international level, but also locally to the plight of persons living with HIV/AIDS that require basic sustenance through the HIV Food Bank,” added Reifer.