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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 Buzz

“Something Had to Happen. Radio People Had to Stand Up.” – JAIGA.

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Say what you want about him, he lives for the Artform. His slogan, “Great is the Artform,” is a permanent reminder of Jaiga’s undying love for Soca music. He’s represented hard for that aspect of Trinidad and Tobago’s culture for many years and even now as a radio personality at 96.1WEFM, Jaiga makes no qualms about his devotion to Soca. 

Jaiga during performance.

Last year, the announcement by the country’s Prime Minister that there would be no carnival 2021, backed many artistes and entertainment stakeholders against a wall. Their livelihoods had been affected for most of 2020 and it seemed the same would take place in 2021. Others, like Jaiga felt pained at the thought of no cultural expression. In his mind, something had to happen. “My team – the Breakfast Party team decided that it was very important for us and I think every radio station practitioner, everybody who has a platform, to encourage not only Trinidadians but the wider diaspora to do their part to keep the art alive in order to ensure that all stakeholders have something to fall back on when that time reaches. We needed the essence of the Carnival in the air,” he said.

Speaking with Ebuzztt, Jaiga explained that even after hearing the government’s cultural arm, the NCC, announce that there would be no move to host a virtual carnival, he knew he had to do something. He would go on to call on his team at 96.1 WEFM, to produce the virtual Breakfast Party – a carnival show complete with artistes and costume wearing hosts Nikki Crosby and Ro’dey, and viewable on social media and  later uploaded to YouTube. 

Jaiga, a man who understands both the business and the creativity of the Carnival culture, went on to epress his view on the ongoing debate regarding the format of the present day cultural delivery. He hinted that selfish perspectives have led to some discord.

What about Post Carnival 2021?

Jaiga, like other forward thinkers in the industry, has already begun thinking about the future.

Outside of this virtual carnival, he says this may have proven that the time is ripe for produced cultural shows that can showcase the energy and vibrance of Trinidad and Tobago as the Mecca of carnival, to the world.

He further said International promoters and local bodies could now forge ties to the benefit of all involved.

The artiste and radio personality noted that the time has come to give the world something that is well packaged – something that Trinbagonians could be proud of.

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Kes the Band Takes Over Tonight!

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This is Carnival week in Trinidad and Tobago. The energy of a festival that annually delivers the most vibes that can be experienced anywhere in the world, would have culminated next week Tuesday. Covid-19 has however put a spoke in the wheel of true “Carnivalians,” but the spirit of the festival lives in their hearts.

Artistes have been answering the call. Last week, Nadia Batson delivered what was undeniably one of the best carnival related television productions seen over the years. Her team demonstrated an aptitude and perfect understanding of what viewers require of a televised soca experience.

Her show- Artform 3, was followed up by events hosted by Preedy, Lyrikal and Blaxx, all of which gave home audiences much to enjoy.

This week, Kes The Band takes over. Artist, Kees Dieffenthaller and his team will deliver a 5 night soca series dubbed ‘IZWE’. It starts tonight! According to a media release, the events being hosted live at The Sound Forge in Port-of-Spain, will see some 300 patrons in attendance, each night, with all covid-19 protocols put in place by government, being observed. The events all air live on CNC3 in Trinidad and Tobago and affiliate stations up the Caribbean. Fans outside of the region can livestream the concert via www.kestheband.com, by purchasing tickets for $10. The live stream is available at no cost within the Caribbean.

“This is a presentation of culture in all its different aspects,” said Kees. “We’ll be celebrating the essence of who we are. It all began with drums and fire and, out of the revolution of our ancestors, Carnival came to be the sweetest revolution. We are celebrating our light in these dark times,” he said.

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