According to Negus Adeyemi and Empress Poetry, the founders and organizers of the Bajan Broughtupsy – a Barbados pre-Independence cultural concert – the 4th annual affair was an evening of fun and laughter, well attended, and surpassed expectations.
Held last Saturday afternoon at the Black Lady Theater in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the event – a fusion of dance, folklore, poetry, and tuk – is an evolving idea that seeks to build bridges among generations and across cultures and keep Bajan culture alive for generations to come.
Clearly, the organizers were elated and spoke excitedly after the affair.
“Honestly, the future looks bright. It was truly a great event. Definitely it was bigger and better than previous years. Indeed, we had many firsts. The New 12 Brooklyn, the local news TV station, covered the event. Then, we had two visiting Spoken Word artistes: Damani Re from Barbados and Birdspeed from England. This event is no longer a secret. Everybody is hearing about Bajan Broughtupsy,” said Negus Adeyemi.
Adeyemi went further: “Each year we have special guest performers. We continue to display and showcase performers with Bajan heritage in New York. We will continue to add artistes that live in Barbados and the diaspora, be they from England, Canada, Panama, Cuba – any country to which Barbadians have migrated.”
He continued: “Both performers and participants enjoyed the show and are anticipating a grand affair for the 5th year, in 2019. I also feel great that things went smoothly and everyone appears to have truly enjoyed every second of it – from the beginning to the end. The highlight for me is the fact that everyone stayed until the absolute end – no patrons, as far as I could see, left before the show was completely finished.”
Another founder, Empress Poetry (Carolyn Layne), expressed similar sentiments: “I am very excited. We are fulfilling our purpose, we are bridging generations and cultures, we are not there yet with the millennials, but that is a work in progress. When we first started, I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I was not sure that the Barbadian community would accept the “spoken word” but thank heavens, I have been proven wrong. We made some adjustments that worked for us. David Beckles, a comedian, coordinated the show and allowed us to monitor the performers and actively listen to the patrons. So everything flowed nicely.”
Archie Miller, the father of Negus Adeyemi and renowned folklorist and calypsonian, was also pleased with the event.
“We had a good crowd mixture – some new [faces], some old [faces], some from England and some from Brooklyn, some young and some old. I am happy with the progress so far. As I have said before, and will continue to say, this is the brain child of Kevin and Carolyn. So it is all good to me. My role is simply to help and support them in any way I can. I don’t give orders. I simply do what I am asked to do.”
The cast of performers included Archie Miller, Negus Adeyemi, Empress Poetry, EDI Tuk Riddims, Roger Wyze Smith, C Diddy, Jackie Braithwaite, Marilyn Worrell, Portia and Bradley, Parlang Living, Shakasis and the Nusa Dancers, Classic, DI 3 Conkies, and Shante Cozier.
The event started with a mingle and greet session. Music was provided by DJ Traffic and De Bajan Yankee.
Walter Edey is an author and retired Educator who believes that Structural Thinking is the new wave of the future.
Email: werus 2642 @ gmail.com.