Culture

Do You Know Your History?

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We all have our own unique “Coming to America” story. This time around, we thought tracing back the majority of Caribbean’s migration process would serve as a, maybe new or maybe old, but definitely pretty interesting family history lesson.
Before many of us picked up from our respective islands and moved to the States, select members of our families inhabited Europe (mostly England). This started to become popular as families grew in size and in age. Heads of the household knew more money was needed to feed mouths, put clothes on backs, shoes on feet and, of course, for school. As a result, in most cases, the father of the home and one or two of his sons would journey to Europe to earn a keep that would be sent back to their island to help their families afford the necessities and accomplish goals set.
The journey of Afro-Caribbean people to the United States started long before then when enslaved Barbadians were taken by their British owners to South Carolina during the seventeenth century. That first involuntary migration was followed by a large wave of people from the British West Indies at the turn of the twentieth century. A third wave of immigrants arrived between 1930 and 1965, and a fourth movement is still going on today.

Times of Enslavement
One estimate puts the ratio of Caribbean to African slaves at three to one between 1715 and 1730; the largest number coming from Jamaica, followed by Africa, Barbados, and Antigua. Caribbean immigration to the United States was relatively small during the early nineteenth century but it grew significantly after the Civil War. The population, which was almost 100% Caribbean in origin, increased from four thousand to more than twenty thousand during the years of 1850 and 1900.

Leaving Our Home
The significant growth of the Caribbean community in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century is easily explained by the increasing economic hardship in the British West Indies and the simultaneous expansion of the U.S. economy due to its newly high wages and growing employment opportunities.
It was this wave that laid the groundwork for the new age of the working Afro-Caribbean life in New York City and throughout the nation. It has been estimated that by the 1930s a third of New York’s black professionals; including doctors, dentists, and lawyers came from the ranks of Caribbean migrants, a figure well in excess of the group’s share of the city’s black population.

Look How Far We Have Come
Today, there are between 2.6 and 3 million Caribbean people (of all races) in the United States, or 1 percent of the total population. More than 72 percent of Afro-Caribbean people are foreign-born, and they represent 4.6 percent of the black population. Entrepreneurs continue to flourish in the community, and the 2000 census shows that the median household income of Afro-Caribbean people is $40,000. From the early days of Caribbean immigration, West Indian music, including soca, calypso, and reggae, has had a profound impact on popular music. Other aspects of Caribbean culture such as food and Carnival have also entered mainstream America.
If you would like to dig deeper, check out this article titled Caribbean Migration. There you will find a play-by-play of the “who, what, when, where, how and why” of our plight.

Caribbean food bloggers you should be following today!

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We are living in an unprecedented era of human history. The creation of the internet has made us more connected than ever before birthing a new digital society: social media. This has changed society as we know with new innovations that schools, businesses and cultural scholars are still trying to understand. However, today we are celebrating the unsung heroes of mankind. I’m speaking of the innovators who fuel our desires and heighten our senses in times of need. They give the people what they want. Ladies and gentlemen I’m talking about food bloggers! Food bloggers are using our shared universal human trait of self indulgence to happily torture us with food porn. I mean just look at this:

On a serious note, here at IslandTv we pride ourselves in the mission to share our culture,history and heritage with the world so we are sharing 3 eye candy-extreme foodie accounts across the social media landscape. Whether you are in search of dinner inspirations or just enjoy drooling over photos of diri ak sos pwa, there is definitely a food blogger for you. Here are 5 Caribbean bloggers you should be following right now !

What are your favorite Caribbean food bloggers ? Did we miss someone ? Please be sure to shout us out on Twitter and Instagram! #WeAreTheCaribbean #NouSeKarayib !

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Lamise O

Haitian born and North Dakotan resident, Lamise is no beginner in food vlogging. This veteran has been posting cooking tutorials since 2013. She specializes in Haitian cuisine, a gastronomy rooted in West African, French, Spanish and Taino influences. Her videos are of high quality and her personable approach makes them easy to follow. She also has a second YouTube channel titled Lamise O Recette Creole, for her predominately Haitian Creole speaking audience. Our Favorite videos of hers are the Poission Gros Sel and the Haitian Macaroni Au Gratin tutorial. Be sure to follow her on YouTube Channel and Instagram.

Chris De La Rosa

Chris is an award winning cookbook author who posts every Tuesday on his YouTube Channel, caribbeanpot. He may have just tackled every Caribbean Island dish known to man. By all means we dare you to dive into his unique renditions of Caribbean cuisine as he shares his rich island flavors, roots and love of scotch bonnets with the world. If you’re looking for a daily laugh be sure to watch his daily Instagram highlights as he goes on his grocery adventures ! His website .CaribbeanPot.com is a companion to his YouTube Chanel where he also posts detailed recipes.

Cynthia Ramsay

Do you remember this viral post ? That was Cynthia’s adorable little boy on their family’s recent trip to Haiti feasting on lobster, french fries and fried plantains . But did you know that Cynthia, though Canadian born, is an expert on Haitian food? Her Instagram page is the literally example of #FoodPorn.  Her eye candy aesthetic makes it so easy to lose track of time scrolling down her page.

She teases her audience with a picture of all the ingredients and like a magician captivates our minds for the grand finale that has as our mouths watering as we wait for the second post.  Her Instagram highlights is were she goes in depth on explanations however, she quite responsive in the comments if you any questions! Did you know that san bèf or fried up cow blood is a thing in certain parts of Haiti? Me either but if Cynthia cooking it I’m gotta try it!

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Fashion

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In light of the Gucci and Prada recent controversy, people of color especially those of black descent have become increasingly conscious on the brands they support and are market towards them.

To refresh, last month Gucci came under fire due to their Winter 2018 Balaclava sweater. It was criticized for being an example of blackface. Blackface is when a non black person darkens their skin to resemble someone of African descent. This was prevalent in minstrel shows during the 19th century during which, Caucasian actors would masquerade as blacks in a derogatory and racist manner. By the turn of the 20th century much of The Western World has come to seen it as an repulsive act–or so we thought.

After intense backlash on social media, Gucci issued an apology and confirmed that the turtleneck had been “immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores.” The company release a apology on Twitter account stating,“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

However, many of the African diaspora are a bit wary of such apology and are searching for black own businesses to support. Due to the lack of support and awareness of many black businesses, especially Caribbean own, we are sharing 4 Haitian-Owned Fashion Houses you should be wearing right now!

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Stella Jean

Her unique style is reminiscent of her cultural identity. Jean was to a Haitian mother and Italian father in Rome.

Her common motifs often include merging classical Italian tailoring with Haitian and African style prints and imagery. Her clothes has grace the likes many A-list celebrities, including Rihanna and Beyonce.

Davidson Petit-Frère

This Haitian-American is the guy behind Jay Z, Diddy, Nas and Omari Hardwick iconic looks.

Originally in a career in real estate, Davidson would often post his outfits on his social media. This soon attract attention and sought a way to brand himself and create a lifestyle he can share with others. This led to him co-founding Musika-Frere in 2013 that has now grown into one of the fastest men luxury brands.

Jovana Benoit

Jovana Benoit, the wife of the Haitian Ambassador to Vietnam, opened her first boutique in Vietnam last September, under the brand Jovana Louis.

Her cuts are Asian inspired, specially Vietnam. However, she brings forth her Haitian culture in her design through the use of warm colors reminiscent of the Caribbean and Parisian sophisticated chic.

Her work has graced magazines and worn by former Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier.

Prajje Jr. Oscar-Baptiste

Baptiste is the founder and owner of the emerging fashion powerhouse, Prajje. Base in NYC, he borrows heavily from his native Haitian roots. Base on his motifs, he seems to be inspired by Haitian vodou, mythology and folklore imagery. He makes frequent references to Elizi, the Haitian goddess of love and beauty.

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