J’Ouvert City International, organizer of the annual Caribbean J’Ouvert in Brooklyn, on Saturday launched its 2023 Masquerade amid much fanfare on Nostrand Avenue, in front of the famous Allan’s Caribbean Bakery and Little Mo’s Wine & Spirits.
Allan’s Bakery, Little Mo Wine & Spirits, and Trinidadian lawyer Brian Figeroux sponsored the launch.
After steel pannist Patrick Davis performed the Black National Anthem, various incredible performances entertained attendees, including rhythm section, steel band, masquerades and flag wavers.
In addition, there were special guest performances and entertainment by 3Nee Shuga, DeFace and Topro. The festivities continued through the evening at Allan’s Bakery Bar & Cafe for the after-party.
The launch marked two years since COVID-19 and the return of Brooklyn’s Caribbean Carnival.
Several elected officials were on hand for the launching ceremony, including City Council Farah Louis, Assembly Member Brian Cunningham, Assistant Commissioner Lamona Worrell, staff member of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and district leaders.
They thanked Trinidadian Yvette Rennie, president of J’Ouvert City International, Inc., and expressed their love and support for Caribbean culture.
The Kutter Rhythm section played along to DJ Caution as the crowd rocked to the sound of the bands.
Hearts of Steel Orchestra, Harmony Music Makers, Rhythm in Blue Rhythm Mas Band, Power Promotion Family, King Jab and Friends, Jab Family and No Sleeping were in attendance and presented the enthusiastic crowd with the traditional mas costumes and the sounds of calypso and soca.
J’Ouvert City International, Inc. said it was “proud to highlight three upcoming young soca artist,” 3Nee Shuga, DeFace and Topro. J’Ouvert City has existed for more than 39 years in Brooklyn.
Rennie said the organization was founded on “educating the community about Caribbean culture and heritage.
“J’Ouvert is known to be the kick-off of the Labor Day Parade; it showcases the art of steelpan, masquerade customs and mas bands,” she said. “The celebrations were dormant due to COVID, but the J’Ouvert celebration is back in Brooklyn two years later.”
Rennie said J’Ouvert City International, Inc. was founded in 1984 as “a collaboration of two groups interested in organizing the celebration.”
Rennie, the founder of “The Prestige Committee,” held a J’Ouvert competition on Flatbush Avenue.
After the Labor Day celebration, Rennie joined forces with J’Ouvert City International as the public relations officer, along with Earl King, president; Danville Williamson, vice-president; Hazel John, secretary; George Romano, treasurer; and Anean J’Ouvert City’s graphic designer.
Rennie noted the name J’Ouvert originates from the French jour ouvert, meaning day break or morning, and signals the start of carnival.
“Steel band music is the dominating sound of J’Ouvert, as revelers take to the street wining and chipping their way in the early hours before the daytime West Indian Day Carnival,” Rennie said.