Lead Editor Newsgathering
Ti Blacks (Deshawn Augustin), 23, made history by winning the St Lucia Calypso Monarch title on his first appearance in the finals of the competition last year and now he is on a mission to spread his message across the Caribbean, with T&T as one of his main targets.
Augustin said he came here to experience what calypso is in T&T. He went to Calypso Fiesta and even performed at the Junior Calypso Monarch competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah as a guest.
“Which was an amazing experience, being on the big stage for the very first time was something I have dreamt of my entire life,” he said.
But while Ti Blacks is not from here, he felt his song, Ghetto Cries, has a deeper connection with our youths than meets the eye. He explained that he comes from an area in the south of St Lucia called Vieux Fort which is stigmatised as being a bad area or ghetto.
He explained: “Growing up and coming from a place like Vieux Fort, I know what it is to be there. I know the people and the love that we can give in Vieux Fort, so I wanted to sing about the ghetto saying that you know I am from the ghetto and growing up there was never the shootings.”
Augustin said what the place has become saddens him and he sees similarities with what some of the young people in depressed areas in T&T are going through.
“I am reaching out to the youths to do better and in doing better we can have a safer society. Coming here it is very sad to see, you know, everybody I meet at the resort telling me when you go into town (Port-of-Spain) please be safe, don’t walk with jewellery, and that’s not what I want to hear when I come to an island. So I am reaching out to you all to just change your mindset, it’s a mind thing, we could do better so let’s do better.”
Augustin has fallen in love with T&T, the people, the culture and particularly the food.
He said his experience during his visit allowed him to network with some familiar names in the industry, including Kurt Allen, Kernel Roberts and Terri Lyons.
“Growing up watching these people on TV and watching videos of them and meeting them in person was just amazing and the warmth and the love they gave me as Calypso Monarch … the positive energy they gave to me was amazing,” he said
As a big lover of the arts and culture, Ti Blacks doesn’t limit himself to calypso.
“So whether it be dancing, whether it be singing, once it has to do with creative arts that’s me.”
He aims to make his mark in the soca arena. He said he loved singing from a tender age even though it is not as big in St Lucia as in T&T, so winning the Monarch title was a dream come through.
However, it was a bittersweet moment as he lost his brother suddenly to heart complications on the eve of the finals.
“He was one of my biggest supporters, it would have been something very difficult to deal with but other than that we celebrated the win for him,” he said.
His advice to young artistes is to follow their dreams
“Do not allow anyone to tell you that you cannot.”