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Archived: Caribbean Artistes to Hit Major Stage in LA For BET International Awards, This Week.

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Nailah Blackman’s ben nominated for Viewer’s Choice Best International Act.

Trinidad and Tobago artiste, Nailah Blackman continues to rally the support of the Caribbean- on the weekend, performing in Bermuda and urging fans to head to the BET website to vote for her to win the category of Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act at this year’s awards. Voting closes tomorrow- June 19th. Thing is though, whether Nailah wins for Soca or not, Trinidad and Tobago will the year be well represented when Bunji Garlin and his wife and musical partner, Fay Ann Lyons take the stage at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

News of the Soca power couple’s inclusion at the awards came on Friday. Jamaica’s Konshens and Shenseea will also perform. Ironically, Shenseea and Konshens dropped new music with Rvssian on June 15th- a track called, “Hard Drive” that the Jamaican dancehall princess has been pushing hard, since. Likewise, T&T’s Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons released two separate tracks back to back between Sunday and Monday. Bunji’s track “Bruk Down” was produced by Fryktion, as was Fay Ann’s “Lift”. Both tunes have been released for St. Vincent’s upcoming carnival.

The Caribbean entertainers will perform in LA on Friday. The actual awards ceremony takes place on June 26th.

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Shenseea Signs International Endorsement Deal with Carib. Locals Question The Move.

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This past weekend, much of the consistent chatter across social media stemmed from news that emerged on Friday that Jamaican dancehall artist, Shenseea had been selected by Trinidad and Tobago’s Carib Beer, to be their newest international endorsee.

Ecstatic for having signed her ninth endorsement deal, even amid the pandemic slowdown, Shenseea shared the news with fans via social media. Despite her happiness though, many questioned why the company would choose a Jamaican artiste to be its international brand ambassador, over a Trinidad and Tobago entertainer. In response, one person took to a popular Instagram page saying, “The reason our local dancehall artistes don’t get sponsored from these companies like @caribbeer @stagamansbeer @digiceltrinbago etc is because of the type of music they promote, which is violence. Big name companies won’t endorse that.”

Shenseea signs international endorsement deal with Carib Beer.

Others chose to disown the Carib brand altogether, making it clear that their choice of beer would always be Carib’s brother brand, Stag. One person went on to suggest that Trinidad and Tobago’s artistes may not be considered ‘marketable.’ “Maybe you Trinis are not marketable and Shenseea is, and Carib tryna go global and not just local. You guys need to look at it as business and not because you from Trinidad you should get that.”

That comment sparked a firestorm of rage from locals, taking the conversation to the carnival culture, with a well known carnival photographer going as far as to say, “Jamaicans use our designers and brands for their carnival. In fact their uptown crowd may love soca as much as they love dancehall…”

Amid the tit for tat playing out across social media, the company has not made any counteractive remarks on the issue. A statement issued simply welcomes the dancehall superstar to the company, highlighting the good feedback received in the aftermath of the announcement.

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Caribbean Menswear Designer, Ecliff Elie Pushes Past Covid-19 with Big Lessons Learnt.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic reared its head in the aftermath of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival this past March, Caribbean menswear designer Ecliff Elie had only five months prior, opened his new design house at C3 Centre in San Fernando, South Trinidad. His atelier location in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain maintained its market position, posturing the designer’s imminent rise to regionwide gratification, by all markers. He never expected what eventually came; a pandemic that would bring great uncertainty, but with it, even greater lessons. 

The Caribbean menswear aesthetic continues to blossom into something of its own niche character, Elie believes, and because of this, he has had unwavering hope for the industry despite the pandemic. “There have been wonderful lessons learnt by the Ecliff Elie team in the past nine months,” he says, explaining that business equates to risk and one must be strong, enduring and fearless to combat the effects of such risk. “This period, while extremely daunting for many, opened my eyes as a business owner to many things, and I’ve weathered the storm very well. I have been able to keep all of my employees over the past nine months and that came with the implementation of more effective business strategies,” he explained. 

Ecliff Elie says he has learnt some very helpful lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restrictions imposed as a direct result of Covid-19, in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean has certainly affected sales to some degree, however Elie says he remains steadfast and resolute in his belief that this storm of sorts, will soon pass. “Weathering the storm requires a lot of patience but it also demands resilience. What we’ve done during this period proved effective for the long-term business strategy. Virtual consultations, available at www.ecliffelie.co may have been overlooked prior to the pandemic, and it’s actually an effective method of reaching clients around the world,” said Elie. In fact, he explains, he’s seen increased regional sales during Covid-19. 

The male client, Elie’s target demographic, continues to be acutely marketed to, particularly during the present Christmas season. “While we understand that for many, these are some tough financial times, we also feel that men require emotional support during this time,” said Elie. “Because men are often required to be strong in the face of hardship, the man’s emotional pain can be overlooked. In the same way a woman feels good when she purchases a new pair of shoes or a new dress, we believe men should feel comfortable releasing their stress with a little shopping from time to time,” said the designer. 

Ecliff Elie’s Southern branch offers off-the-rack suits that can be altered for fit on spot. “While dinner parties and New Year’s Eve events may be very limited this year, we’d like to encourage our Caribbean men to boost their spirit and feel good despite the effects of this pandemic. It’s been a tough year, but we must have the right attitude heading into 2021, which will ultimately determine our altitude. For some reason, stepping into Ecliff Elie has a way of changing attitudes,” he said. 

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