It’s Caribbean American Heritage Month: Here’s How To Celebrate In New York

It’s Caribbean American Heritage Month: Here’s How To Celebrate In New York

By Ralph Thomassaint Joseph | Documented

Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrates Caribbean history, contributions, and achievements in the United States. The national celebration highlights the diverse traditions of Caribbean countries and their diaspora, recognizing their significant impact on American society. Throughout the month, events, festivals, educational programs, and cultural activities are organized nationwide to commemorate Caribbean Heritage Month and promote awareness and appreciation of Caribbean culture and heritage.

The commemoration originated from a 2004 resolution by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) led by Dr. Claire Nelson. Following advocacy and efforts by ICS and other community leaders, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted the resolution in 2005. The month was officially recognized in 2006 with a proclamation from President George W. Bush. 

Celebrating this exciting month in New York City is a one-of-a-kind experience, as the city is home to the largest population of Caribbean people in the United States and is where the first and only “Little Caribbean” in the USA is located. 

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From its diverse range of cuisines, music, art, and traditions to the significant impact of Caribbean Americans on society, this month offers a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the essence of Caribbean culture. Documented has curated a list of things to check out during the month to experience the diverse cultures of the Caribbean throughout the month.

Caribbean markets and shopping

Momentum Caribbean Marketplace x Island Village at Chelsea Market, NYC
Momentum Caribbean Marketplace is part of Eyeland Fest 2024, which brings together Caribbean Creators & Entrepreneurs During U.S. Caribbean American Heritage Month

The Momentum Marketplace showcases over 50 Caribbean brands. This vibrant marketplace features various products, including jewelry and accessories, art and home decor, clothing, food items, and children’s goods. Partnering with Jamestown, the event spotlights talented artisans from more than 10 Caribbean islands, offering a collection of Caribbean artisanal goods, both locally made and from across the Caribbean. It’s another opportunity to explore and support Caribbean makers’ rich and diverse creations.

When:  Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30

Where: Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, New York, United States

Time: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Discover Little Caribbean through a guided culinary and cultural tour
Group tours are available on demand to explore Brooklyn’s bustling Caribbean community on a culinary and cultural guided tour of Little Caribbean. Spanning from Empire Boulevard to Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues, known as “The Junction,” to Church Avenue, Little Caribbean offers an authentic taste of Caribbean flavor. Easily accessible via the 2, 5, B, and Q subway lines, the B41, B35, and B44 bus lines, and dollar vans, the area invites visitors to immerse themselves in its vibrant atmosphere.

During the guided tours, which last 2.5 hours, participants stroll through Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues, experiencing an immersive cultural journey. The tour includes samples of jerk chicken with festival, savory meat and vegetable patties, curries, salted fish cakes with spicy tamarind sauce, sweet pastries, fresh juices, and authentic Caribbean rum. By the end of the tour, guests gain a cross-cultural understanding of the Caribbean’s robust influence on culture and lifestyle in Brooklyn and beyond. The cost for this experience starts at $74.

To make a reservation, send an email to hello@caribbeing.com or visit www.littlecaribbean.nyc.

Cultural festivals and celebrations

One Love Fest
One Love Fest celebrates Caribbean culture, community, and commerce in Little Caribbean NYC. The event features a Carnival workshop by Fiona Compton of Know Your Caribbean, a dance class by Soca & Sweat, and authentic Caribbean cuisine and music.

Attendees can explore a curated marketplace presented in partnership with Black Wall Street, offering unique crafts and goods from artisan vendors. Enjoy DJ sets and delicious West Indian food throughout the day. Hosted by I AM CARIBBEING, Know Your Caribbean, and Black Wall Street, in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance and supported by various city and state organizations, One Love Fest is a unique way to experience the rich culture of the Caribbean.

When: Sunday, June 23

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Where: Boathouse, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 101 East Drive, New York

Eyeland Fest – Wi Bold + Beautiful 2024
Eyeland Fest Activation, produced by Carib Biz Network and Natalie Events, celebrates the best of Caribbean innovators in beauty and wellness. Attendees are encouraged to dress chic and enjoy a themed marketplace featuring over 20 Caribbean beauty and wellness vendors. The event includes:

  • A beauty bar with professional makeup artists and skin consultations.
  • A speaker panel with celebrated speakers
  • A henna station
  • A complimentary food station
  • Live music

When: Saturday, June 15

Time: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: HANA HOUSE, 325 Adams St. Brooklyn, NY 11201

RSVP here

A Brooklyn Pride Carnival 
You can Celebrate Brooklyn Pride with Funky Reggae House Party, a Brooklyn-based collective that amplifies the queer and trans West Indian community. A lineup of live performances and DJs will feature founders Visuallocs and Captain Dymond as well as special guests like Boston Chery.

Influenced by the colorful traditions of their home country, the Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-raised collective showcases Caribbean creative contributions in nightlife and beyond. When not hosting events, they are working to open The Village B.K., a Queer West Indian bar and community space.

Drinks and island bites will be available for purchase.

When: Saturday, June 8

Time: 11 a.m.

Where: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Workshops and educational events

Discover Caribbean Delights
Discover Caribbean cuisine’s flavors, culture, and creativity in this engaging workshop. Learn to enhance your cooking skills by exploring diverse culinary traditions, cultural influences, and unique cooking techniques from the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean. This event is perfect for adults looking to spice up their cooking repertoire and experience the magic of Caribbean food, one bite at a time.

Date: Tuesday, June 18

Time: 3:30 to 4:30 pm

Where: Tremont Library, 1866 Washington Avenue, Bronx, NY 10457

Arts and entertainment

Interludes: British Dependency
An evening of musical performances by the Anguileaen band British Dependency to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month.

When: Thursday, June 6

Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where:  Belvedere Plaza, New York, NY 10282

Bayo Tour
Haitian music producer and DJ Michael Brun returns to New York with BAYO, an electrifying music festival at Prospect Park.

When: Saturday, June 15

Where: Lena Horne Bandshell, 141 Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Time: Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and show starts at 7:00 p.m.

RSVP here

Mizik Ayiti + TSQ Live
Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun will headline HCX’s first performance in the heart of Times Square. Joining him on stage will be singer Anie Alerte, pop artist J. Perry, DJ extraordinaire KOLO, and a lineup of talented instrumentalists, including Johnbern Thomas, Chico Boyer, Keila Casasola Beaubrun, Morgan Zwerlein, and other surprise guests.

When: Tuesday, June 11

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Times Square’s Broadway Plaza, 45th St & 46th St, New York, NY 10036.

Haitian Book Fair || Salon du livre Haïtien
If you want to discover Haitian literature and meet Haitian writers, the Haitian Book Fair is the event for you. You can attend conferences, participate in roundtables, and engage with 25 authors during book signings. There will also be musical performances and an exhibition of Haitian paintings.

When: Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9

Where: Nassau Community College, 1 Education Dr, Garden City, NY 11530

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival  In Conversation With Author Merle Collins
The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival presents Merle Collins, author of Ocean Stirrings, in conversation with Rachel Oneika Phillips. Ocean Stirrings is a work of fiction that pays tribute to Louise Langdon Norton Little, a working mother and activist and the mother of Malcolm X and his seven siblings.

Date: Thursday, June 20

Time: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, 686 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Pan Lime With Tristan Brewington Japsi
A night of vibrant music and the enchanting sounds of the steel pan featuring pannist and artist Tristian Brewington Japsi.

Date: Wednesday, June 5,

Time: 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Where: Tropicalfete, Inc. Community Hub, 850 New York Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203

RSVP here

Caribbean Heritage Month Celebration At City Council Chambers
You can participate in the Caribbean Heritage Month Celebration at the Council Chambers with New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Council Members Rita Joseph, Alexa Avilés, Chris Banks, Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Carmen De La Rosa, Majority Leader Amanda Farías, Oswald Feliz, Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson, Farah N. Louis, Darlene Mealy, Chi Ossé, Kevin C. Riley, Althea Stevens, Nantasha Williams

When: June 12, 2024

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Where: Council Chambers, New York City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007

RSVP by Monday, June 10 or call 212-482-6773 to reserve

Bona Fide Duo Guitar Concert
Under the initiative of the Cuban Cultural Center of New York, the guitar duo Bona Fide, formed in Havana in 2011 by guitarists Carlos Vázquez and Lázara Luisa Díaz, will perform a unique recital, including their repertoire and original music for the guitar duo, original arrangements of guitar compositions, and other combinations of music from Latin America, Europe, and other parts of the world. A wine and cheese reception will follow the recital.

Where: Scorca Hall, 7th Floor, The National Opera Center, 330 7th Ave.

When: Saturday, June 29

Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

RSVP here

Brooklyn Pride LGBTQIA+ Movie Night
You can attend the screening of the short film “Caribbean Queen,” presented in association with the Caribbean Equality Project, which empowers, advocates for, and represents Afro and Indo-Caribbean LGBTQ+ immigrants in New York City.

The outdoor event will feature Caribbean-themed pre-show entertainment and a panel discussion with the film’s star and production team. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.

Caribbean Queen follows Q, a Caribbean American boy who dreams of being the queen of the West Indian Day Carnival parade. Faced with prejudice from family and community, Q pursues his dream with determination and support from a friend. The film aims to bridge the intergenerational gap between Caribbean LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families.

When: Friday, June 7

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: 4th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

RSVP here

Caribbean tourism and businesses

Caribbean Week 2024
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, taking place from June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square. This year’s theme, “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity,” will feature a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity, including the Caribbean Airlift Forum. Moderated by Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors, the forum will address critical issues such as route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies.

Additionally, Caribbean Week will host a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing. Supported by sponsors like the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the event aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries to enhance connectivity and optimize access to Caribbean destinations.

When: June 16 to 21

Where: InterContinental Times Square, 300 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Discover the complete program here and register for the registration form here

Second Annual Best of Little Caribbean Awards
This year’s Best of Little Caribbean Awards will gather entrepreneurs, community stakeholders, influencers, media, and supporters of Black and Caribbean-owned businesses in New York City. With 25 categories, ranging from Best Jerk to Best Roti/Doubles, Best Bakery, and Best Vibes/Customer Service, the community will select one winner per category and another chosen by a committee of Little Caribbean influencers and experts!.

When: Thursday, June 6 ·

Time: 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Prospect Park Boathouse + Audubon Center, 101 East Drive Brooklyn, NY 11225

RSVP here

THE WI UNION PROJECT
To celebrate the presence and impact of Caribbean small business owners, professionals, and creators in the United States. You are invited to participate in this large gathering of Caribbean West Indians (W.I.). THE WIUNION PROJECT marks the official launch of Carib Biz Network’s national U.S. Caribbean Small Business Survey. Attendees can expect opportunities for large and small-group professional photos, networking, and exclusive media and press interviews.

Date: Saturday, June 22

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