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CSA celebrates Caribbean tradition with "paint and powder"

by Breonnah Colón - Editor In Chief
Tue, Sep 4th 2018 11:00 pm
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With reggae and dancehall music heard from as far away as the Seymour College Union, it was clear to students across The College at Brockport campus that something was going on Sunday, Sept. 5. What could possibly be booming across the entire campus? The Caribbean Student Association’s third annual Paint and Powder Fete. The term fete is used widely across the caribbean and refers to a grand festival celebrated by many people. 

That’s exactly the sort of celebration students got while passing the Trax lawn in front of Harrison dining hall. Dozens of people played together either chasing each other with paint and powder or dancing to the caribbean music playing from the speakers. Everywhere you looked, the party was going on. The volume of the music may have come as a shock to those students who weren’t aware the event would be going on, which was apparent by the Brockport police stopping by and ordering for the volume to be lowered. 

“The police stopped by and said they had two complaints, so we had to turn the music down,” Vice President Nyajah Foreman said.

Despite the slight rain on their parade,  those who shared the cultural background of the club didn’t throw in the towel. Regardless of noise complaints, it was just the sort of event they needed to get a semblance of home. 

“To be honest [this] means a lot because we don’t really have many events where we get to embrace our culture,” event coordinator Danyelle Fenton said. “This not only allows us to have fun, but allows us to teach persons about what we do back home.”

Everything used for the event was handmade. Paint was bought beforehand and mixed with water not only to dilute its consistency, but also to increase the amount available for students to use. Chalk was ground by hand to create the colorful powder used. All supplies were brought by the club, students had only to bring themselves and a fun spirit. President Nyomi explained the event was heavily promoted in the hope that this year’s event would be the largest of all.

“With all the new faces, the time we spent promoting and all the excitement around it, I know that we’re going to have a good year,” McDonald said.

While the Paint and Powder Fete served as a unique kickoff event for the club, it also served as a way to allow caribbean students to celebrate Labor Day, a feit that many would not have otherwise been able to accomplish due to school being in progress. For most Americans, Labor Day serves as a much needed day off; an excuse to have one more day out in the sun with friends and family. The holiday was originally established to celebrate the efforts of workers and their impact on the overall well being of the  country. For those in the caribbean, Labor Day coincides with the West Indian Carnival. This celebration is a time for those with a caribbean background to celebrate and embrace their culture. CSA hoped to invoke this same pride and excitement throughout its Paint and Powder fete.

Although  the event held cultural significance to many of the students who attended, the festivities were not at all limited to those who identified with caribbean culture. Rather than being a celebration that excludes those who aren’t aware of the practice, the Paint and Powder Fete also served as a fun and interactive party that showed those who weren’t as immersed or haven’t been exposed to the culture to have a better sense of what the club was about and what they brought to the campus.

“[The event was different from celebrations in the caribbean] because different persons had different backgrounds,” Fenton said. “But just being here and hearing the music reminds me a lot of back home.”

While it won’t be easy to top the excitement and beauty that came with celebrating, CSA has only given Brockport a taste of what’s to come. The semester is still young and students have much to look forward to, but if the rest of the year goes anything like the Paint and Powder Fete it’ll be, as McDonald said,  one of the best years yet.  



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