Haitian culture was on display at Super Bowl LIVE’s Caribbean Day last January 31. It was a colorful and exuberant day with the parade of Caribbean bands and artists such as Bahamian Junkanoo and Moko Jumbies, Jamaican Fashion and Folk, Haitian Rara and Dancers, singer J. Perry etc.
Super Bowl Live was a week-long event that started a week before the Super Bowl game, from January 25 to February 1, at Bayfront Park, Downtown Miami. It featured evening concerts at the Amphitheater, a Huddle Down Community Stage, Road to the 11th Super Bowl activation, Tailgate Town featuring a Culinary stage, an Environmental Village, live water shows, fireworks etc.
January 31 was dedicated to showcasing the Caribbean culture in Miami. The Caribbean parade kicked off at 7pm and the atmosphere suddenly changed at Bayfront Park. Super Bowl Live was tranquility unfolding until the islanders came to bring the heat, the color, the spice of the Caribbean. One could tell that this Friday was different than the previous days. When people heard the music, the sound of the exotic instruments and the lively rhythm of the Caribbean music, they left what they were doing– taking pictures, eating, playing– to get closer to the action. The spectators were jostling each other to have a glimpse of the parade and to immortalize the event with their cell phone cameras by “gramming” it.
In total, four countries, four islands were represented in this Caribbean Day at the SuperBowl LIV: Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Bahamas. The organizers of the event “wanted the guests to have a taste of Miami and it’s various cultures”, according to Cultural Curator Sandy Dorsainvil.
Although Miami is often hailed as a Latin city, the Caribbean Day proved it’s also a Caribbean one. Bystanders were impressed by the Bahamian stilt walkers and stilt dancers of The Junkanoo and Moko Jumbies. Those towering men and women had some audacious dance moves on those stilts that had people fearing for their well-being, but as professional performers they didn’t fall off their poles. The Jamaican dancers also entertained the crowd with their colorful costumes, intriguing masks, and their islandic lively rhythms. The Trinidadians charmed the ears with their traditional steel pans that transported the spectators to the pristine beaches of the Calypso island.
Haiti at the Super Bowl
Haiti closed the parade of the Super Bowl Live’s Caribbean Day . Rara Lakay musicians were playing drums, bamboo trumpets (vaccines), maracas, güiras while the dancers of Nancy St. Leger Danse Ensemble band executed traditional dance moves. “It was beautiful to see Haiti represented at the Super Bowl Live event, especially since we see so many young Haitian boys playing American Football”, said Sandy Dorsainvil. “The Haitian American community makes up a big part of Dade county. It’s important that they are present when the City’s culture is on display”, she added. According to Randi Freemen, vice-president/producer of Super Bowl Live event,
“Having representation from some of the Caribbean nations that make up the diversity found in Miami was a must for the Host Committee. Those communities play such an integral role in what makes Miami unique and we are honored to be able to give them a stage to be recognized.”
Rara Lakay and Nancy St-Leger were not the only ones to represent Haiti at Super bowl Live, the international Haitian singer J. Perry hoisted, so to speak, the blue-and-red on the stage of the Bayfront Park Amphitheater. The singer of hit songs “Bouje” and “Dekole” made the Haitians present at the event proud by singing almost in Creole. To the non creole speakers, he said, “You may not understand what I’m saying but music is a universal language”. J. Perry sang his heart out and was able to entertain the Miamian audience. The evening ended with the performances of Nu Deco Ensemble and Grammy Award Winning Producer, and Miami native, Walshy Fire. At the Super Bowl, Haiti was not playing on the field but dancing on Bayfront Park.