My Essence Magazine article “Behind the Fete” – an ode to carnival culture.

Caribbean Massive, We REACH!! This one is BIG and I’m super proud to finally share it with the world! I was recently penned an article for Essence Magazine’s Summer issue on one of my purest passions; carnival and why the culture runs like electricity through our veins.

When I got this assignment, my heart beamed, my cheeks hurt from smiling infectiously on the train in NYC. Lifestyle editor Metanoya Webb said, “we want YOU to write it Vanessa, we want your voice and passion for carnival to come through”.

For me this was more than an writing assignment, it was a cathartic expression of my pure love and affection for carnival, our beautiful, vibrant and eclectic Caribbean diaspora. The article, entitled “Behind the Fete” is a first hand take on my carnival experiences in Trinidad, from the moment I land through the week long festivities that keep thousands flocking to the twin islands shores every year. Then, I dived into the diverse history of how many carnivals of the Caribbean came to be and what makes each unique, special and worth visiting.

I know many of you can relate to this line from the piece: “In many ways, Carnival is our church and SOCA music has become our gospel”.

If you’re a carnival reveler and from the Caribbean like me, know that this was written for all of us who simply want the world to see and feel the euphoria that we feel every time we put on a costume, go to an fete and take a jump up at Jouvert or the glory of Carnival Tuesday crossing the stage.

I am incredibly grateful to Essence and Metanoya Webb (a champion of Caribbean culture herself) for providing me with an outlet and platform to be candid, and for creating space for us Caribbean girls to tell our stories too. We belong, we deserve and we thank you deeply. While many editors group us in (which I’ve experienced many times) you boldly stepped out and made room for us stand out and showcase why carnival is so special to “all ah we”.

I hope you pick up a hard copy or download the digital issue (available on stands everywhere and on download platforms now). Kick back, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the read cover to cover. The issue is stacked with bold, beautiful iconic black women like Michelle Obama, Ciara, Teyana Taylor and Iman.

Below is the article itself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Share it with your friends and family, heck strangers too.

Soon, I’ll be taking a jump up in St. Vincent for Vincy Mas, at Spice Mas in Grenada and Brooklyn on the Parkway this September spreading that carnival love every chance I get!

Happy Summer and see you on the road,


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