For most Caribbean Americans our Caribbean roots are somehow infused into our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t amp things up in honor of celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Need a few ideas on how you can embrace your culture this month? Here’s a list of things you can do. At the end of the June I’ll post what I did to embrace my culture!
1.) Buy Caribbean
The best way see continuous growth of the Caribbean and its Diaspora is through commerce. Music is such a huge part of our culture, however illegal downloading has ravaged much of the industry’s ability to make money off music sales. Buy a CD from your favorite artist. My recommendation: Mr. Vegas’ Sweet Jamaica (Vegas pays homage to Reggae’s founding musical eras like Ska and Mento with cover songs; along with contemporary Dancehall riddims with popular hits like “Bruk it Down” and “I am Blessed”) It’s not just the music, support your local mom and pop restaurants, buy fashionable items from Caribbean – American designers like Rep JA, Prajje 1983 or Cooyah.
2. ) Donate to Caribbean Charity
There are multiple charities that are Caribbean-American based that you can donate to assist back home. Choose organizations like JAMPACT, Yele Haiti or another non profit that you love to contribute to the progression of Caribbean islands.
3.) Share Your Culture
Embracing your culture means sharing it with others. Share an interesting fact about your culture on Facebook or Twitter, take a co-worker to Salsa night or take a friend to a great Caribbean restaurant. Exposing others to the greatness of your culture not only gives them good insight to who you are as a person, it gives them a chance to learn and embrace different cultures as well.
4.) Eat. Drink & be Merry
This is probably the easiest idea to put into action (at least for me anyway!). There’s always a great Caribbean Restaurant to nearby, especially if you live in or near a major city. A few of my favorites in the New York/Connecticut area are Ripe, Don Coqui or Miss Lillys. If you’re not near a major city or new to your city check out Yelp to help you look for local listings.
5.) Attend an Event
As the summer heats up, so do the events! Plays, concerts, festivals you name it! Check out Platanos & Collard Greens, Bushman at Central Park’s Summer Stage or see Machel Montano and Barrington Levy at the Intrepid.