Who would have thought that a T&T-style Carnival, in all its feathers, bikini and beaded splendour, would explode onto Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California? Keron Adams did. The Trinidad-born, Los Angeles resident, is making it happen on June 30. Adams, the president of the LA based Regularz Entertainment-a Caribbean promotions company- said it took a lot of persistence and a glossy Carnival magazine to seal the history-making deal. "When I sat down with the Hollywood Street Closure Committee, consisting of businessmen, council officials and residents, it took about ten minutes to get their approval. We showed them one of the Carnival magazines from this year and they were very excited.
That magazine was definitely the ultimate selling point for us. They said they couldn't wait to see it in real life," he said. Adams has hailed the upcoming Carnival, The Los Angeles Culture Festival, and is optimistic it will be a grand affair. He hopes it will also attract some of Hollywood's biggest names, including some with local connections like Nicki Minaj, Heather Headley, Nia Long and Tatyana Ali. And what's Carnival without soca? Well Adams has that covered as well. Soca stars Machel Montano, Rikki Jai, Kees, KI, Edwin Yearwood, TC, Benjai, JW and Blaze and Destra, are among those he's hoping will perform.
Estimating that the festival would cost approximately US$750,000, Adams reveals that he's appealing for government and corporate support to help make the event a success and take T&T culture to the world. "We only get one chance to make a first impression. We need to make it a good one. We must support what we have. We need everybody 150 per cent behind us on this," he stressed. "At the end of the day, besides pushing our culture, it would also bring business to T&T." Dubbed Play Ah Mas, Adams said the parade will feature one large band with over 13 sections and aims to offer both local and foreign masqueraders the ultimate Trini Carnival experience. Prices for the costumes, he said, will range from US$75-US$150.
Adams, who migrated to the US five years ago, said the upcoming festival, currently being promoted via fliers, word of mouth and various social networking sites, is already creating a buzz in Hollywood. Stating that the event will now be an annual affair, the former Tranquility Government Secondary student also has big plans to make it the "second biggest Carnival in the world after Trinidad." "Who would have thought that Carnival would be on the streets of the Hollywood Walk of Fame? You can't get bigger than Hollywood. It's the entertainment mecca of the world. All Carnival lovers, come out and support." He continued, "The Carnival will coincide with the International Soca Awards being held in Hollywood and the BET Awards that same weekend so we are hoping that stars will be attracted to come and see what it's all about...There are a lot of Caribbean people in LA but there are those who have never left LA and have heard about T&T Carnival and say they want to experience it."
With such a huge project on his hands, Adams knows that there will be the nay-sayers. To them, he's paying no mind. Shrugging off the criticism he concluded, "I love soca music. I love my culture. I think by us doing this, it would be a move in the right direction. It doesn't get any bigger than Hollywood really."