The Greater Caribbean American Cultural Coalition Celebrates 20 Year Milestone with UNIFESTand the Announcement of a New Partnership in joining forces with VP Records, a leading record label that represents the Caribbean music. Their aimed at taking the event and adding creative ideas to attract more attendance, and give more benefit to corporate sponsors and local businesses something is missing here maybe you can say ‘was quite successful”. The event this year celebrated 20 years of Culture, Carnival, Marching Band, Caribbean Food and music. The venue was the Vincent Torres Park, in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, largest percentage of Jamaicans populated area as of 2010 This year 20th celebration event saw a culmination of new event such as the new Teen Competition with Five (5) contestants all young women. Among the Judges was young singer Jemere Morgan, the son of Morgan Heritages, one of whose member is Gramps Morgan. The Teen Competition was competitive from start to finish and it came down to only two contestants. Both of whom, gave great performances. The winner was chosen by crowd applauds. Her name was Shalee. Her rendition of
“I will always Love you” had the crowd screaming, whistling and cheering for her as if she was at a Cabaret Performing. She won a cash prize of $500.00 and the chance of an appearance in a music video with Young Reggae artiste, Jemere Morgan.
The day activities were indeed a Family affair. Lots of fun stuff were there to entertained children and adults from 11am to 11pm. Paint face, Bounce House, Caribbean flavors food Booths, Jamaica National, VP Records, A Dominoes Booth, Broward Sheriff Office. These were just a few from the many, many Booths that were on displayed. The Caribbean theme was certainly on displayed. In my opinion, one could say that all 28 Caribbean Countries were present either by people or by their flag or both. The entertainment was top notch. All of the major Artists had the crowd rocking to their favorite songs.
Soca favorites Leon Coldero and Iwer George had the crowd running from side to side. Flags waving from all of the Caribbean countries were a spectacular sight to behold. Women, Men and Children dancing Calypso and Soca music played by Code 868 Band from Trinidad & Tobago. Viewing the massive crowd of approximately, 30,000 thru the lens of my camera dancing and singing along was an amazing sight. By night fall, the atmosphere was set and the large crowd was ready to hear from Reggae artists, Gyptian and Sanchez. Gyptian was more than a crowd favorite and he was also on a mission, promoting his new album that is presently in stores: Sex, Love & Reggae. The album consisted of 17 tracks that will make Gyptian fans and reggae lovers everywhere pleased when they hear them. One track on the album kept lingering in my mind and it’s the covered “True Colors” originally made by Cyndi Lauper. Gyptian rendition is a joy to the ears and I think it will be loved by all when you hear it. His versatility and stage performance was magnificent. I am sure that he gained more new fans after his UNIFEST appearance. And the festivities continued on to the next performer.
Known as a Reggae crooner since his first hit “Loneliness” in 1988, a song many fans claimed he did better than Jermaine Jackson, whom made the original. Sanchez, entered the stage singing “Here I Am” all dressed like a dapper Don. He wore a dark colored hat that also matched his Jacket. Shortly, after he entered the stage, he changed the microphone and removed his Jacket and tie for a more casual look. He then took the crowd on a Sanchez “Musical journey” that lasted for one hour. His encore saw him paid tribute to the late Crowned Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown before he exit the stage again. This was my first UNIFEST event and I hope it won’t be the last. I saw it from behind the lenses of my cameras and I saw it in a very different way alive and well. Very colorful and unique based on the different cultures that were presented and all in the same place. The World is made up of many different races, but in my opinion the people of the Caribbean has a very strong linkage and we can be united through our culture and music and that was very evident at UNIFEST 2014.