The Carnival band Vulgar Fraction will present Playing White for 2018. The small band comes out of Propaganda Space, the Erthig Road, Belmont workshop of The Cloth, designer Robert Young’s iconic Caribbean fashion label. Masqueraders in the band participate in the making and design of the costumes, allowing them to reclaim the mas making process and have a personal investment in the mas they portray.
The band launch at the mas camp on Wednesday included a panel discussion which looked at what does “playing white” mean?
Depending on the context, the band said, it could mean one of several things, among them:
• Assuming or performing the appearance of someone of a higher social class, or someone with more European features
• Performing whiteness, where “white” is considered the unmarked, the standard, and other racial identities are considered “ethnic”
• In the traditional numbers game whe whe or its modern, commercial derivative Play Whe— betting money on the number four, Dead Man, as white in dreams or visions is interpreted as death
• In mas—a band designed predominantly or solely in the colour white, such as the traditional sailor mas, or in Minshall’s 1983 band River.
Pannelists included Dr Kevin Adonis Browne, Gillian Goddard, John Stollmeyer, and moderator Lisa Allen-Agostini.
Browne is a self-described poet, teacher, lover, deep limer and friend. He dances, he takes photographs, and he archives.
He teaches in the Department of Literatures, Cultural, and Communication Studies at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine.
Goddard is a long-term agitator in the fields of organics, sustainability and community empowerment. Her activities have centered around the Caribbean and North America. In the mid 2000s Goddard started the first organic shop in Trinidad and Tobago then went on to open an organic cafe before turning the whole operation into a member owned co-op. In 2012 she co-founded Soular, an organic food production company that aggressively addressed the shortage of locally grown, locally processed foods.
Stollmeyer is a permaculture activist and a director, along with Erle Rahaman-Noronha, of Caribbean Permaculture Consultants Ltd. He co-founded the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project with Akilah Jaramogi, implementing a bioregional vision using permaculture principles. He is a visual and performance artist.
Allen-Agostini is a writer and editor. She is a print journalist, fiction writer, novelist, poet and playwright, and is reading for a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI, St Augustine. Her young adult novel Home Home is forthcoming in 2018 from Papillote Books.
The original Article can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2018-01-28/%E2%80%98playing-white%E2%80%99