A nation’s ‘heartbeat’

You may know many people named Jeff, it may even be your government name, but there’s one place apparently you don’t want to be known as Jeff – and that’s in the Junkanoo shack. Your name might be Peter, it might be Paul, but if you didn’t get your costume completed on time to make Bay Street, you’re known as Jeff, because Jeffrey, whether you’re male of female, is the person who can’t complete his or her costume. This is just one of many lessons learnt from “Shack Tales” on shack etiquette in the Kalik beer and “Who are We!” Junkanoo documentary which premiered on the big screen last week Friday.

“And listen to me,” shares one female Junkanooer, “you know what it is to work on a costume from January to December, and not make it to Bay,” she says in disbelief in the 47-minute documentary.

“Ya name could be whatever it might be – might be Peter, might be Paul, but on that day, you are Jeff,” said a male Junkanooer. (As he says this you can practically visualize him shrugging his shoulders even if you couldn’t see him.)

Quentin “Barabbas” Woodside from Barabbas and The Tribe Junkanoo group puts it quite succinctly as he points to an unfinished costume behind him: “That means it stays in the camp.”

And while many Junkanoo neophytes may think of the Junkanoo shack as a free-for-all place where anything goes, Ronald “Barefoot” Simms sets it straight for people who’ve never stepped inside the hallowed grounds of Junkanoo fanatics. He says there are rules.

“Don’t bring ya gal,” he said while tossing aside a pair of stilettos.

“You gatta have some good music,” he said while urging people to do away with the nonsense playing behind him.

And you don’t enter the shack with your hands swinging, because there’s work to be done.

“Most important, you working together for a common cause. Respect each other. Have fun,” said Simms, reminding everyone that he would see them on Bay Street for the greatest event on earth – which goes down in less than 14 days.

Commowealth Brewery Limited (CBL), through the Kalik beer brand, with this documentary has fused the passion, the pride and the rhythm of Junkanoo to answer one question: Who are we? The answer to which of course is: “We are Junkanoo!”

The “Who Are We!” documentary premiered at Fusion Superplex. The campaign offers viewers a candid look into the world of Junkanoo, and sparked a national conversation which has ignited the enthusiasm of Junkanooers and Bahamians alike, according to Jared Cartwright, Kalik brand representative.

“The ‘Who are We!’ documentary educates viewers of the hidden elements of Junkanoo that the average Bahamian is not privy to,” according to Waylon McHardy, senior beers brand manager at CBL. “It portrays the resilience, passion and pride of the thousands of Bahamians who commit a large amount of time and resources to a craft that yields no financial gain. This documentary will also highlight Junkanoo as a staple within our society, as it has been the training ground for numerous professionals,” he said.

McHardy said the documentary is authentic, stunning and informative.

It features a number of well-known Junkanooers and legends including Percy “Vola” Francis, Woodside, Arlene Nash-Ferguson and Angelique McKay.

The engrossing, comical and raw documentary came on the heels of Kalik’s launch of its “Who are We!” campaign featuring limited edition 16-ounce cans and bottles branded with various Junkanoo groups. The pinnacle of the campaign was the premiere of the “Who are We!” documentary which offers a candid look into the world of Junkanoo.

“The documentary was great,” said Kendika Campbell-Moss, Saxons SuperStars Junkanoo group public relations director. “It showcased the intricacy that is involved with creating the greatest show on earth. The Saxons take great pride in our partnership with Kalik and on behalf of the entire organization we say congratulations to them for producing this documentary and for their contribution to Bahamian culture on the whole.”

Anthony “AC” Coakley, the One Family public relations manager who is featured in the documentary, said he was honored to participate in the campaign.

“I am proud to have been asked to be a part of the ‘Who are We!’ Junkanoo documentary team. Hats off to Kalik, the beer of The Bahamas, for this groundbreaking endeavor. Kalik has truly lived up to its name by showcasing our national cultural expression on a larger-than-life medium – the big screen.”

He urged CBL and Kalik to continue investing in Bahamian culture and Bahamian people.

“We are Junkanoo,” said Coakley.

At the premiere screening, attendees were greeted with spectacular Junkanoo décor, a Junkanoo rushout and an evening filled with a Kalik-infused cultural explosion.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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