Portrayals on the Eastern Parkway Labor Day Parade

Masquerader Keshawna parades the "Monday Magic" attire.
Masquerader Keshawna parades the “Monday Magic” attire.
Photo by Orlande Fleury

With a surprise performance and appearance from Dancehall Artist, Spice, a Jamaican singer. The West Indies parade was back exuberantly and a blaze. In full elation, the spectators awaited with excitement for the masqueraders’ elaborate bright costumes with feathers and crystals.

As usual, the parade proceeded along Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York City accompanied by the sounds of drums, reggae and calypso music. The display of each band of masqueraders incorporated with majestic themes and portrayals, granted their attendees a memory of a lifetime, on Monday, Sept. 5.

Caribbean Life interviewed band leaders Andrew Vieux, Maxine Magdaleno, and Rodney Snell who operate their own mas camps in Brooklyn, New York. The band leaders were ecstatic and could not wait for the carnival this year.

Tahirah, rocking another set from Banboche Mas Camp's "Freedom Fighter" themed band.
Tahirah, rocking another set from Banboche Mas Camp’s “Freedom Fighter” themed band. Photo by Orlande Fleury

Banboche Mas, a Haitian Mas band identifies its grand section as, “Freedom Fighters.” “Women were a big part of the fight for freedom and behind every great warrior there was also a women warrior,” said Banboche Mas camp band leader, Andrew Vieux. He shared his perspective on a historic costume that portrays the significance of the Haitian revolution. The theme “Freedom Fighter” was chosen to demonstrate the resilience and collective involvement against the French Colony during the Haiti revolution. The elaborate feathers in the costumes indicate the distinct colors of the Haitian flag and Toussaint Louverture’s costume. Louverture was an instrumental leader of the Haitian Revolution and Vieux made it his goal to honor him. Vieux has been participating in the carnival since 2018 and has a medium sized band.

Maxine Magdaleno, the Suga Candy Mas camp leader, presented a “Jungle Fever” themed band. This band is earthly, scenery, and temper. Its essence derives from nature, water, and animals. There were four sections in this exhibition: Firstly, pink, which demonstrates Albizia, which is a flower. Secondly, the Butterfly Queen has blue and green gemstones that depict the variation of the butterfly. Moreover, the cheetah or wildlife jaguar represented a wild tiger in the jungle. In addition, it is animalistic, wild, and fearless as it is the representation of the most feared animals in the tropical rainforest. Fourthly, blue, white, and green, explore the water or ocean. Some of the designers for this band are from Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad. Suga Candy Mas has declared itself the sweetest band in the Caribbean and has been participating in the carnival since 2015.

Masquerader Nakiyah wears an "Abracadabra," costume, which uncovers skin and implies erotic desire and seduction.
Masquerader Nakiyah wears an “Abracadabra,” costume, which uncovers skin and implies erotic desire and seduction.Photo by Orlande Fleury

Hence, Freaks Mas band leader Rodney Snell, operates one of the largest bands in New York and Miami. In 2019, Freaks Mas won first place in Miami Carnival and sustained that title until 2021. This astronomical success has inspired the theme “Monday Magic” and its vision. In an interview with Caribbean Life, Snell explained that “Monday Magic” consisted of four sections: Dazzle Me, Monday Magic, Abracadabra and Alakazam. Although, after 15 years in the business, Freaks Mas still manages to keep the public in awe and hypnotized.

“Dazzle Me,” invokes an intense gaze and introduces its admirers to a magician show. This creative design is tempting and engaging. As the goal is to fascinate the audience into a magic spell. This striking section “Monday Magic” demonstrates a fun time to be entertained by stage magic, tricks, and the illusion of fantasy and make-believe.

“Abracadabra,” as the show continues, this category reveals its prey using spells, supposedly invoking supernatural power to influence others. This sexy costume uncovers skin and implies erotic desire and seduction. Lastly, “Alakazam,” has transformed its audience into a climax full of enhancement. This portrayal is a magician show and band leader Rodney Snell, aiming to amaze, overpower, and yield attendees to surrender during the parade.