With Jamaicans scattered across the globe, and with thousands living in the United States, it is no surprise to find homesick black, green and gold flag-bearers looking for any opportunity they can get to represent ‘weh dem come from’.
One of those places is the annual LA Cultural Festival in Los Angeles (LA), California. The celebrants are in the mix of revellers, dressed in costumes and chipping down Hollywood Boulevard with other Jamaicans who miss home, or friends who have fallen in love with the culture, all taking the opportunity to celebrate Jamaica.
Trelawny-born William Knibb Memorial High School past student and a man of many hats, DJ, event promoter and One Hundread clothing line owner, Christopher ‘The Party Minister’ Foster, who resides in LA, has decided to move into the big league by upgrading his group from a cultural band to a full-fledged mass band, playing 80 per cent dancehall music and 20 per cent soca in partnership with KrossFayah sound.
On June 24, the truck – Reggae on the Road – will take to the Hollywood Boulevard under the theme ‘Forbidden’, boasting three sections: ‘Ménage à trois‘, ‘Savage’, and ‘Passion’, with costumes designed by two Jamaican designers and a Latin designer.
Foster says he realised four years ago that there was no dominant Jamaican presence in the LA carnival and decided to start a cultural band, and for the last two years got involved with mass.
“Four years ago, I was querying why it was that Jamaica was not represented [in the carnival], being one of the strongest countries out of the Caribbean in terms of music. I realised no one wanted to do it [add a Jamaican section], as they didn’t want to finance it because it was so much money [to take it on].”
Foster, who is also host on the Entertainment Beat, a Caribbean show filmed in Hollywood, says he wanted Jamaica to be “represented well” in the carnival so he took on the challenge.
On whether he will be employing any acts out of Jamaica, the former hotel entertainment manager highlighted that sourcing enough sponsorship has been a challenge, and is inviting more sponsors to come on board.