Caribbean artists to perform at major virtual inauguration party for VP-elect Kamala Harris

Lead singer Edwin Yearwood of the group Krosfyah, from Barbados, performs before a large crowd at Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas.
Associated Press/Austin American-Statesman, Sung Park, file

Several leading Caribbean artists will perform virtually in a major inauguration party for Caribbean American Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

According to Invest Caribbean – which claims to be “the number one global private sector, investment agency of the Caribbean” – it has initiated the Caribbean American Action Network (CAAN), a collective of Caribbean American and Caribbean organizations, to present “a live, virtual, Caribbean inauguration party under the theme, ‘Celebrating #CaribbeanAmericanKamala.’”

Invest Caribbean said on Friday that, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, Jan. 17, 2021, there will be “an impressive gathering in cyberspace with some of the Caribbean’s most notable artistes, dignitaries, and organizations globally to mark another dynamic moment in history – the pending swearing in of Harris as the first Black and female, Caribbean-American US vice-president at the 59th Presidential inauguration.

“This dynamic, virtual celebration is set to feature signature performances from some of the Caribbean’s top entertainers, including Jamaican-born dancehall star, Flourgon, who in January settled a US$300 million lawsuit with Miley Cyrus for his 1988 Jamaican chart-topping hit single, ‘We Run Things,’” said Invest Caribbean in a statement.

It said the event will be co-hosted by the first Black woman in a James Bond movie, Trina Parks, whose roots extend to Barbados, through her mother, and to Antigua through her grandparents.

Invest Caribbean said also set to perform will be Barbados’ own Soca King, Edwin Yearwood of “All Aboard” fame and Krosfyah of “Pump Me Up” fame; as well as rising stars, Toni Norville and Kirk Brown; Jamaican gospel singer Joan Meyers, of “Can’t Even Walk” fame; independent Jamaican artiste Janine Jkuhl of “Sway” fam; and Owen Dalhouse, who recently released “Heal the Soul of America.”

Other performers include the famous Fab Five Band from Jamaica; Guyanese Menes De Griot and Shanto; Vincentian Frankie McIntosh; and Maxie Gouevia and Rashid Thorpe.

Invest Caribbean said De Griot, an African spiritual leader, herbalist and master drummer who has performed at the Million Women March and Tribute to The Ancestors, will open the event with “a powerful pouring of libation to the ancestors,” followed by a group performance on drums.

Top speakers bringing messages of congratulations and greetings include Congressman Adriano Espaillat of NY; the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles; Chair of the CARICOM Consular Corps of New York, Counsel General of Barbados to New York, O. St. E. Mackie Holder; and Dr. Michelle Chester, the corporate director Employee Health Services at Northwell Health, who delivered the first COVID-19 vaccine in the US.

Other Caribbean Diaspora leaders will include Invest Caribbean chief executive officer and CAAN’s founder, Guyanese-born Felicia J. Persaud; president of ICN and CAAN co-founder, Dr. Sheila Newton Moses; Caribbean Immigrant Services founder, Jamaican Irwine Clare; Global Village Book Publishing LLC’s Aubry Padmore; Coalition for the Preservation of Reggae Music’s Carlyle McKetty; and Esther Austin of Esther Austin Global.

Invest Caribbean said Harris is expected to deliver a message to the Caribbean Diaspora and Caribbean people globally.

“This is a historic moment for us as Caribbean people in these United States, who have been here since slavery, and we are convinced that VP-elect Harris represents the best interest of all Americans, inclusive of those who share her Caribbean ancestry,” said Persaud, the brainchild of the event, who is also a journalist, entrepreneur and advocate.

“America and the Caribbean region have always enjoyed a positive working diplomacy,” she added. “And, no doubt, this will be reinforced, as we now have a strong ally in the White house.  We are proud that she is one of us.”

“Not only did Caribbean voters help to elect the first female, Caribbean American US Vice-President but now we are marking this moment in the history of the Caribbean Diaspora memorable, and making it known globally that she is not only African American, Indian American but Caribbean American with a rich heritage,” said Dr. Newton.

The live stream will kick-off at 7:00 pm EST on Jan. 17, 2021 on the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms of One Caribbean Television, (OCTV), as well as on Radio 102.9FM in Antigua and Barbuda.

On Inauguration Day, OCTV will air the event on broadcast television across the Caribbean, Invest Caribbean said.