Clarke among Grand Marshals for Caribbean Labor Day Carnival Parade

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke
Photo credit: Office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke

The West Indian-American Day Carnival Day Association (WIADCA), organizer of the extravagant annual Caribbean Carnival Parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway, on Wednesday announced that Caribbean-American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke will be among Grand Marshals for this year’s Parade on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

WIADCA named Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, among five other Grand Marshals. 

The others are: Richard Davis, president, Transit Workers’ Union (TWU) Local 100; Ann-Marie Adamson, the Guyanese-born assistant vice president, Community and Corporate Engagement, EmblemHealth; Michael Joseph, Harmony Music Makers founder, steelband music instructor and cultural practitioner; Kay Mason, Trinidadian-born cultural practitioner; and Jewel Alexis-Josey, Junior Carnival presenter.

During WIADCA’s official Carnival Week kick-off last Thursday, at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Clarke, through her district director, Anita Taylor, thanked WIADCA for its “ceaseless support and commitment to always step-up for our community. 

“Over the last half-century, the WIADCA has helped lead the way in ensuring the art and culture of the Caribbean are included in the curriculum taught in our schools,” said Clarke in a prepared statement delivered by Taylor.  

“As we all know, this nation’s true strength lies within the wealth of diversity and cultures weaved into this great American mosaic,” Clarke added. “That’s why I was so proud to have worked to deliver $1 million in transformative community project funding for WIADCA.

“Your organization understands the best way to support our community and make sure our heritage continues to thrive,” she continued. 

WIADCA said in a statement on Wednesday that it was “honored to continue the legacies of Rufus Gorin, Carlos Lezama and other cultural practitioners that came before us. 

“As we celebrate 56 years of New York Carnival, we encourage you to celebrate safely and responsibly,” it added. “We also ask you to support our partners, local mas’ and steelband groups for, without them, there is no WIADCA and no parade.” 

“It’s New York Carnival time again,” continued WIADCA, stating that from Thursday, Aug. 31 – Monday, Sept. 4, the Carnival group will celebrate 56 years of Caribbean culture on the “World Stage”, kicking off at the Brooklyn Museum Grounds (200 Eastern Parkway) and culminating on Eastern Parkway, with the extravagant Carnival Parade. 

Event Schedule 

Saturday, Sept. 2: Youth Fest 2023 | Junior Carnival Parade | 9:00am – 4:00pm, featuring Junior Grand Marshal Jewel Alexis-Josey; Junior Bands Sesame Carnival, Kaisokah Mas, Queendom Mas, Stronjeh International (Kids); and Jump Up Productions, Golden Dancerettes Dance School. 

Saturday, Sept. 2: Panorama 2023 | 7:00pm – 3:00am, featuring “the sweet sounds of steel” with some of New York’s renowned orchestra’s like Despers USA, Metro Steel Orchestra, Steel Sensation, Pan in Motion, Eruption Steel Orchestra, Harmony Steel Orchestra, Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, D’ Radoes, CASYM Steel Orchestra and Philadelphia Pan Stars. 

Monday, Sept. – 11:00am – 6:00pm – WIADCA and Carnival Bandleaders present an array of costumed masterpieces. 

Participating Adult Bands include:  Sesame Carnival, Banboche Mas, Antoine International, Branches Mas, Suga Candy Mas, Big Boy Productions, Sky Maxx Mas, D’Midas International NY and 199SEIU Mas. 

WIADCA said partnered events include Vibes w/Voicey – Long Live Soca Tour by BlackStar Entertainment, Socafest by Gemini Productions and Sunrise Day Soiree w/Jay Upscale + SunNation. 

At the official Carnival kick-off, New York City Mayor Eric Adams disclosed that his office was “this close to have the parade televised on two television stations.” He didn’t identify them.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, said he was “just excited” for the carnival festivities amid the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Hip Hop. 

“Let’s celebrate,” he urged. “Raise yo’ flag; peace and blessings.”