POTENT Issue #2 - The Women's Issue

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The Women’s Issue


Managing Editor

Staff Writers

Contributing Writers

Graphic Designer

Contact Info

Genice Phillips

Graciano Petersen

Lisa Collins-Haynes

Kristal Roberts

Nneka Samuel

Ligia Forbes

Natalie Goode-Henry

Ariana Gordon

Nida Khan

Email: editor@potentmagazine.com

Website: www.potentmagazine.com

Mail: P.O. Box 92

Norfolk, VA 23504

POTENT Magazine is an independent, online publication dedicated to the lifestyle and breadth of the Caribbean, providing

quality editorial content that illustrates the region’s undeniable strength and flavor. Bringing positive and special

attention to the region, our hope is to foster a growing Caribbean community, connect with the Diaspora, and continue to

unify through a shared history and heritage.

Every effort has been made to ensure the information presented in this publication is accurate and timely.

POTENT Magazine cannot accept responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies, or omissions.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views of

POTENT Magazine as an entity.

Decisions pertaining to the magazine are not influenced by outside or personal interests, or political and commercial parties.

Our editorial integrity is held to the highest standards of journalism to enlighten and engage our reading audience.

Copyright Info

POTENT Magazine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

License. To view a copy of this license, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

No material from this publication may be reprinted in whole or in part unless granted written permission by the publisher.

© 205. POTENT Magazine. All rights reserved.

Editor’s Note

In the midst of putting our second issue together, POTENT took to Twitter

to ask some our female followers why they love being a Caribbean

woman. We received a few responses – one from the up-and-coming

Jamaican singer, Toian, who tweeted back: “being a Caribbean woman,

u know seh we full a style, laid back and easygoing!”

Jamaica recording artist, Keida, replied: “Because we are multicultural

and liberated.”

And we even got a tweet from none other than “Queen of the Pack” – Patra.

The dancehall queen gave us a three-word answer: “Cuz I am!” It was defiant,

bold, and she included a smiley face.

Not only did we appreciate the replies and retweets of support for this issue, but each response was roaring

with pride and awareness of what Caribbean women represent today.

This is a special issue. It is for us and it is about us. We are the starting point. Yes, we are “full a

style,” and “multicultural,” but we are also beautiful and powerful beings - creators, thinkers, lawmakers,

artists. We are forging new paths in society, and our impact and contributions crosses

generations; it is far-reaching.

From that premise, ideas sprung to show women in different realms: women in power, like the first female

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Women in the fight for LGBTI equality in

the Caribbean, like activists Jessica Joseph and Kenita Placide. Women changing our fashion perspective,

like Guadeloupean blogger, Priscilla Delannay, and Trinidadian knitwear designer, Aisling Camps. And our

cover girl, Cuban-American songstress Kat Dahlia, who shows us that being ourselves is always enough.

Being a woman is not easy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Enjoy the Women’s Issue.

Peace and Power,




Graciano is a versatile publications

professional who has a varied

background in editing, writing

and project management. He

brings his talented eye for

content management to his role

as Managing Editor for POTENT.

Graciano is originally from

the Caribbean and holds three

degrees, including a Master of

Arts, from Tulane University.


Nneka is a Washington, D.C. native

with Aruban and Grenadian roots, a

Los Angeles transplant, film school

graduate and freelance writer whose

work has appeared in numerous

print and online publications.


Lisa is a wife, mother and

international travel writer. Her

life’s tagline is, “Living a liberated

life of leisure.” She’s also a passport

stamp junkie and a self-professed

out of control travel spirit (O.C.T.S).

Her bags are always packed and

she’s constantly looking for the

next adventure. She holds a

Master of Business Administration

Management. Follow her on

Instagram @living_a_charmed_life.


Ariana is a celebrity and

lifestyle writer/blogger/

editor who adores Jamaican

food, a good calypso beat and

Caribbean sunsets. When

she’s not brainstorming

her next creative project,

you’ll find her cheering on

her beloved Florida Gators,

traveling, cooking or hanging

with the “man and munchkin.”


Kristal is a professional writer who

loves finding stories that deserve

to be told. She enjoys digging up

quirky, unusual fun facts, but feels

more accomplished when she

can use her words to enlighten

and empower. She worked as a

news writer for several years and

currently does online marketing

and social media management.

You can reach Kristal at Kristal.



Ligia is an English Literature and

International and Global Studies

college student, involved with

the UNICEF Campus Initiative

advocating for children. Born and

raised in Florida by parents from the

Spanish Virgin Island, San Andres,

Colombia; she is very proud and

grateful to have grown up in a home

full of Caribbean culture.


Natalie is a Brooklyn-bred

lover of words that parlayed

her entertainment and lifestyle

musings into a freelance writing

career. Her articles have appeared

on MTV, UPTOWN magazine,

Regal Magazine and Starpulse

sites. In addition to feature lifestyle

and entertainment articles,

Natalie is founder to ifyoublink.

com blog about Black performers’

philanthropy pursuits.


Equal Rights for Women

Women in Power - Politics

Alien in the Caribbean: Jessica Joseph

United and Strong: Kenita Placide

Human Trafficking


Punk Please - Punk Rock

Kat Dahlia

DJ Spice and Team Soca













Jolie Bloom

Island Styling - Guadeloupean Fashion

Transitional Clothing

Aisling Camps






16 Weddings - Bahamas

Spagnvola Chocolatier

Ink Slingers - Tattoo Artists

Travel - Winter Getaway

SocaMom Profile






Inspiration: From the

Voices of Queens



Women's Rights:

Is the



By Graciano Petersen

If you were

wondering, it’s

mostly equal;

there are about

just as many

women as there

are men in the

world. Most

countries lean

to one side or

the other, but

in general,

the world

has achieved

a balance.

However, while

that number may be in balance,

precious few others level out in

the statistics that compare female

life to male life on the planet.

Throughout the world, women

continue to fight for equal rights

and treatment. This struggle

varies in complexity from country

to country and from culture to

culture, but, on the whole, there is

with one unifying fact: women do

not have equal value on the planet

when compared to men.

Several entities, including

the National Organization

for Women, MADRE and

the Global Fund for Women,

have taken on the mission of

advancing the position of women

internationally. The World

Economic Forum, an international

nonprofit dedicated to improving

the state of the world, releases a

yearly report entitled The Global

Gender Gap Report. This report

includes the Global Gender Gap

Index, which “seeks to measure

one important aspect of gender

equality: the relative gaps

between women and men across

four key areas: health, education,

economy and politics.” This report

has been coming out since 2006.

The latest report released October

24, 2014 lists Nicaragua as the top

ranking country not only in the

Caribbean and Latin America, but

outside of Europe period. With

a sixth place ranking, Nicaragua

ranks better than the Netherlands

(14), France (16), the United States

(20) and its nearest Caribbean

neighbor, Cuba (30). This ranking

is due to the improvements

that Nicaragua has made in the

economic participation gap and

by also getting more women into

high-level government positions.

Overall, Nicaragua has seen the

greatest improvement across the

four key areas than any other

country on the index since 2006.

In spite of this superior ranking,

Nicaragua still has some issues

with violence against women

and the small country saw a rise

in femicides, murder of women,

in 2014. The murder rate among

women in the Caribbean and

Latin America as a whole has

become so out of proportion to the

rate at which men are murdered

in the same locales that many

countries have taken to adopting

laws specifically against femicide.

Although, a law passed in 2012

in Nicaragua (Law 779) aimed at

curbing domestic violence did not

keep the femicide number from

spiking this past year, it provides

an understanding for why

Nicaragua has been recognized

for its approach to women’s rights.

Only a few other countries in

the Caribbean, the Dominican

Republic and Costa Rica to be

precise, have adopted laws

condemning crimes against

women in an effort to highlight

what is becoming gendercide (the

systematic killing of a specific

gender) in the region. To further

this effort and to get other

countries of the region to buy into

the issue, feminist activists are

holding public demonstrations,

providing educational programs

and organizing in neighborhoods

and communities.

While the issue of women’s

rights is far from a new struggle,

its awareness in the region is still

growing and gathering support.

One stronghold for awareness

has been the Latin American

and Caribbean Feminist

Meeting. This meeting takes

place every three years in a new

city in the region to promote

equality for women. The most

recent meeting was held in

Lima in November 2014 and

was attended by a large crosssection

of women including

indigenous women, abortion

rights activists, lesbians, sex

workers, transgendered and

anti-femicide organizers.


To continue on this path spearheaded

by the Feminist Meeting and put

these efforts into practice with

things like anti-femicide laws, the

islands and nations of the Caribbean

need to focus on education. By

investing more in education and

outreach to support women,

Caribbean nations can diversify their

talent pools. A diversified talent pool

that includes more women boosts

the overall competitiveness of the

country and the region.

The proof of this pudding can be

seen in the countries that continue

to be at the top of the Global Gender

Gap Index year after year; Iceland,

Norway, Finland and Sweden top

the index largely because of longstanding

equality in education,

large proportions of women in the

workforce, small salary gaps and

strong representations of women

in high-skilled jobs. However, these

countries do also have much larger

GDPs when compared to the countries

of the Caribbean. Although, Nicaragua,

a small country with a small GDP

proves that money isn’t everything

when it comes to women’s rights. The

Caribbean does have a long way to go

when it comes to women’s rights, but

by focusing a little more on outreach,

we can begin to pull ourselves up

the Global Gender Gap Index and

demonstrate our commitment to

balancing out a few more scales.

POTENT Magazine | NINE


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By Natalie Goode-Henry

Politics used to be a man’s game, but those days are long gone. Women

have finally cracked through that elusive glass ceiling and come out

heads of state. While waiting with baited breath for Hillary Clinton

to throw her name into the 2016 US presidential election, POTENT

has named six women, who are also making history; by leading their

country and shaping its path with policies on gender equality and

providing necessary tools to educate youth.




First Female Prime Minister of

Trinidad and Tobago

The honorable Kamla Persad-Bissesar has

ushered in a progressive era for Trinidad &

Tobago as the first woman appointed prime

minister. Persad-Bissessar was officially

sworn in May 2010, and four years later her

passion for gender equality and education is

evidenced by her initiatives. She has provided

free laptops for school children, developed the

Helping Hand Fund, which provides disaster relief

throughout the Caribbean and has inserted more

women into cabinet-level positions.

With the urging of her parents, Persad-Bissessar went

against the norm and pursued a college degree in the U.K.

She returned to her homeland with a degree and desire to teach,

which she fulfilled on college campuses in Jamaica and Trinidad.

Racial discrimination and gender inequality led Persad-Bissessar

to pursue a law degree. Soon after becoming a full-time attorney,

she went into public service, becoming the first woman Attorney

General of Trinidad and Tobago and first woman of a political

party—The United National Congress.



First Lady of New York

Other than being New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife

and right hand woman, Chirlane McCray has carved out

her own power position. McCray, of Bajan and St. Lucian

descent, is an activist, poet and writer (her work appeared

in ESSENCE magazine and in 1983 poetry collection,

”Homegirls: A Black Feminist Anthology”). She utilized

those writing skills during her husband’s 2013 election;

she edited his speeches. It’s a role she’s familiar with,

having been a speechwriter for mayor David Dinkins in

the early ‘90s. In her role as First Lady of New York, she

manages the Mayor’s Fund, which pools private money

and directs it towards the mayor’s agenda. Recently, the

mother of two, has focused on mental health initiatives, in

light of her daughter revealing her bout with depression,

that catapulted a $130 million plan to regulate those with

mental illnesses without the use of law enforcement.




First Female Prime Minister of Jamaica

The honorable Simpson-Miller is currently

serving her second term as head of state in

Jamaica. The first female Prime Minister of

Jamaica has made her second act worthwhile

by leading a national cleanup effort meant to

combat mosquito breeding sites that spread the

Chikungunya virus. Miller has also expanded IT

centers, which offer skills training, to 182 around

the island to complete the ‘Youth Employment

in Digital and Animation Project,’ a $20 million

initiative designed to boost entrepreneurship and

access to the latest technology for young people.

Miller, nicknamed “Sista P” has had a long-ranging political

career that spans positions as Minister of Defense, Minister of

Labor and Minister of Tourism. The wife of Errald Miller, former

CEO of Cable & Wireless Jamaica, is the second person to serve nonconsecutive

terms as prime minister, behind Michael Manley.



Congresswoman of 13th District in California

Barbara Lee is the first woman to represent California’s 13th

District. In her pioneering role, the congresswoman has

championed diversity legislation (e.g., the United States Caribbean

Educational Exchange, a program allowing Caribbean students to

study in the U.S.). In 2005, the Congresswoman pushed through

a bill recognizing June as Caribbean-Heritage Month to honor

the contributions Caribbean-Americans offer the U.S.

The Texas native and mother of two grown sons, received

national attention as the only member of Congress to

vote against military force in the wake of 9/11. Last year,

Congresswoman Lee became chair of a task force on poverty.

The bill is in limbo and aims to raise awareness for impoverished

Americans and develop solutions to address their needs.




First Female Deputy Prime Minister of

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Nearly four years ago, Girlyn Miguel was

sworn in as the first woman Deputy Prime

Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Miguel also serves as the Minister of Education.

She had a 30-year career as an educator and

principal before entering politics in the late ‘90s—

winning the Marriaqua constituency. Soon after

she ascended to Minister of Social Development,

Cooperatives, the Family, Gender and Ecclesiastical

Affairs, and two years later she was appointed

Minister of Agriculture, followed by her current role as

Minister of Education.



First Female Doctor Serving in U.S. Congress

The Virgin Islands native is used to making

headway in unfamiliar territory as the first

woman (non-voting) Delegate to Congress

from the U.S. Virgin Islands and first woman

physician that served in U.S. Congress.

Christensen started her medical career as an

ER doctor then maintained a private practice

up until her congressional election in 1996.

Among her many glass-ceiling breaking

achievements is being the first Delegate to

serve on Congress’ committee on Energy and

Commerce and subcommittees on Health.

Christensen gave up her congressional seat

this year to run for Governor of the Virgin

Islands, but was defeated by Kenneth Mapp

in a runoff this past November.

By Natalie Goode-Henry

At 19, Jessica Joseph not

only put her homeland

of Trinidad & Tobago in

her rearview, but also left

behind her family’s strict, religious

lifestyle of uniformity. Rebelling

against the norm, the St. Lucia

implant discovered who she truly is

and what it’s like to be a lesbian living

in St. Lucia. Joseph, 38, a “Huffington

Post” blogger, copywriter and LGBTI

activist, pulls back the layers on why

the G-word is so dangerous in the

Caribbean (There are 15 Caribbean

islands that ban same-sex marriages

and gay sex acts known as “buggery,”

are considered a crime.) and what

other islands can learn from her

home country’s shifting attitudes

towards LGBTI rights.

Alien in

the Caribbean:

A Lesbian Living in St. Lucia

POTENT: Before we begin, I just

wanted to congratulate you on your

engagement with your partner—

Jessica Joseph: Oh! I’ve been engaged

for 17 years.

POTENT: Oh wow, any chance of

setting a wedding date as of yet

Jessica Joseph: I would love to one

day have the opportunity to get

married in my own country, but

so far it looks as if we may have to

do it somewhere else. But we have

as much legal protection as we can

have with the given laws. We’ve

had to do things like living wills and

power of attorney to protect us in

case of sickness or accident.

POTENT: There have been a lot

of news reports in Jamaica about

the violence having to do with

homophobic attitudes towards

youth (I.e., Last year a transgender

Jamaican teen was stabbed, shot and

run over by a car for dressing like

a woman at a party.) How does the

experience of LGBT living in Jamaica

compare to that of Trinidad &

Tobago [EDITOR’S NOTE: In a recent

UNAIDS survey 78% of Trinidadians

disagree with discriminating against

the LGBT, whereas a Jamaican

newspaper poll found that 91% of

Jamaicans are against reversing the

country’s anti-sodomy law.]

Jessica Joseph: It’s not that our laws

are that much different from Jamaica

–we still inherited the same colonial

laws from Britain that criminalizes

same-sex relationships between men.

It’s just that in Trinidad, it’s ignored.

Nobody follows those laws and

the society’s more tolerant. I would

say the socioeconomic level is a

little different in Trinidad than it

is in Jamaica. Trinidad has a very

large middle class, so that means

a lot of people in Trinidad have

access to tertiary education. [They]

Have access to being able to travel

abroad; they have a broader range of

experience. As you know, looking at

world trends, the more economically

prosperous a place is, the more

educated the populace is, the less

homophobic they tend to be.

Trinidad is not ubiquitously

Christian. The population is split

between Christians, Hindus.

Trinidad also has a lot of Orisha

influences as well and the

presence of goddesses and the

religious culture…it creates a

very different atmosphere than a

culture where it’s just a male-only

God; and a hierarchy of gender

with males being on top and

females being below that. So you

have a very secular society, very

large middle class, and a much

more religiously diverse society.

I have to talk about Carnivále and

its influence as well on the culture.

You can’t really have this sort of

antipathy towards LGBT people, and

yet have this Carnivále culture at the

same time because so many of the

artists behind Carnivále are LGBT

people. A lot of the mask designers

are gay, a lot of the musicians are gay

as well, and the people love them,

they love their art and support it. So

there’s a sort of contradiction: how

can you be so supportive and love

all these people contributing to the

culture, bring international acclaim

to the island, and yet have this

attitude towards them

We have Parliamentarians in

Parliament, who are openly gay. We

have a transsexual person, who just

won one of the highest honors in

Trinidad & Tobago: the Hummingbird

Award. And he is running a

government seat…she is running for

a government seat in San Fernando,

that’s Jowelle de Souza.

POTENT: In your recent

“Huffington Post” article ‘Influential

Caribbean Country is Leaning

Toward LGBT Rights,’ you actually

list, other than Trinidad & Tobago,


other gay-friendly countries. How

did you evaluate them

Jessica Joseph: It’s based on my

personal travels through the

Caribbean. And also on reports on

gay travel sites, how comfortable

gay people feel on those islands—

from arriving on a gay cruise ship

to public displays of affection.

Reports of any hate crimes, also

just from feedback from gay people

living in those places.

I’m sure a lot of people will

contest how I ordered it because

everybody’s situation is different.

An effeminate gay man living in

Trinidad will probably go, “What!!

Trinidad is very homophobic,”

because every gay when he leaves

his house is probably subjected to

abuse, abuse, abuse, constantly.

I myself have experienced the

differences the class can make in

different islands because when I just

arrived in St. Lucia we were among

the working class. It was very hard

for my partner and I.

POTENT: Can you share one

example of one of the threats you

experienced while living in the

working class neighborhood

Jessica Joseph: One of the scariest

things was when we [Jessica and her

partner] were followed by men. We

were coming out of a cinema and

they just followed us. We could not

go home because they would follow

us to our house. It’s so funny it starts

off, they’re sexually harassing you

and it ends up with them quoting

the Bible. [Laughter]

POTENT: You dub yourself an

alien in the Caribbean. Do you

ever envision that changing in

your lifetime

Jessica Joseph: Peter Minshall, one

of the foremost artists in Trinidad

& Tobago. His masquerade

creations are really popular. He

described himself in the same

way; he’s a freak.

And much like many other freaks

in the Caribbean when they start

out, people don’t understand it.

It may catch on later, but people

are set in their ways. So, to a lot of

people I’m a bit of a freak. Calling

myself an ‘alien in the Caribbean’

is embracing that. And maybe one

day I won’t be a freak anymore and

I look forward to that day.


By Nneka Samuel

You’re familiar with the

hateful slurs. Bhati

boy. Chi chi man.

Hen. You’ve seen

the headlines - like something

out of a Hollywood film, too

grim and unbelievable to be

true. Stories of everyday citizens

hindered, mocked, shamed and

attacked because of their sexual

orientation or gender identity.

But chances are, you’re unaware

of the people working to make

all of the above problems of the

past. People like Kenita Placide,

Co-Executive Director of United

and Strong, a St. Lucia based

non-profit organization aimed at

banishing the stigma, prejudice

and discrimination that plague

the LGBTI community in St.

Lucia and beyond.

Nominated in 2013 by the St.

Lucia Star as People’s Choice

Person of the Year, Kenita Placide

has been with United and Strong

since its inception in 2001. A

branch of the Organization of

Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),

currently consisting of 9 member

countries, the NGO has grown

from an organization focused on

HIV prevention and education

to one catering to the needs of

the marginalized on the whole.

Placide has seen both her title

and job functions change over the

years, rising to meet the demands

of an ever-evolving organization,

but her steadfast dedication has

remained the same.

Whether providing counseling

or internet access, conducting

parent-to-parent outreach

sessions, or documenting human

rights violations, among a host of

other essential services, United

and Strong employs multiple

approaches to reach as many

people as possible. It is lack of

support, particularly of youth,

Placide says, that can lead to fates

of homelessness and poverty. She

and her dedicated team

stand ready to prevent that from

happening. Placide is also the

Eastern Caribbean Coordinator of

CariFlags, the Caribbean Forum

for Liberation and Acceptance of

Genders and Sexualities. Her role

takes her from country to country

where she is able to educate

and sensitize, not only those in

positions of power, but the general

population, the very people at the

heart of change.

In the near future, Placide hopes

to see laws that do not hinder

persons from feeling free or safe.

She wants everyone to be treated

alike and seen as human beings.

Says Placide, “It is not about being

gay, it’s about being a human

being and contributing to society.”

Safety being a top priority, in

2013, United and Strong hosted a

two-week training session aimed

at sensitizing police to LGBTI

issues. This initiative started with

the police commissioner, Phillip

V. Francois, and worked its way

down to deputies, assistants,

officers, and the like. And while

some of those involved may not

agree with the LGBTI lifestyle,

says Placide, “Sometimes you have

to stand against your own beliefs

to uphold the rights of others.”

But what happens when those

given the power to uphold the

law enforce discriminatory

practices Many Caribbean

countries have laws on the

books that not only criminalize

sex between gay partners, but

considers sex other than between

a man and woman, an act of gross

indecency. This discrimination

also includes buggery laws, or

laws condemning anal intercourse

between two men, a distinction

that is not outlawed between a

male and female adult. Though

this particularly targets gay men,

homosexual females also suffer the

same stigmas and discrimination

facing their male counterparts.

When it comes to immigration,

some laws, like those in Belize and

Trinidad and Tobago, go so far


as to deny LGBTI persons entry

into a particular country. Under

Section 5 of Belize’s Immigration

Act, homosexuals, or persons

living on or receiving proceeds

of homosexual behavior as

persons, can be denied entry. It

is no wonder these laws have

contributed to the widely held

belief that the Caribbean is

largely homophobic.

Placide acknowledges that public

attitudes are greatly changing,

however, despite these harsh

and unfair practices. A UNAIDS

survey conducted in October

2013 showed that 78 percent of

Trinidadians and Tobagans polled

believe it is not acceptable for

people to be treated differently

on the basis of sexual orientation.

1 in 2 also described themselves

as accepting or tolerant of LGBTI

persons. According to UNAIDS,

the sample was nationally

representative. Similar surveys

were conducted in St. Lucia,

Grenada, Belize and Suriname.

In 2009, United and Strong

carried out a similar report. In

their presentation for St. Lucia’s

Constitution Reform Commission,

they laid out six recommendations

aimed at targeting insightful

change. The report lead to a

review at the Human Rights

Council, which spawned

successful training on issues like

personal security, and sparked

international dialogue. But much

work still has to be done. Says

Placide, “As we go forward, we

[will] work across borders to make

sure all can access health and legal

services and are not abandoned

by family because of sexuality or

thrown out of their homes. We

hope legislators can talk about

this issue without it being a white

elephant in the room.”

“Some people want to walk

down the road with their

partner,” she continues. Just a

few years ago, that simple act

was not feasible. Kenita Placide,

arguably one of the Caribbean’s

most recognized advocates for

social and governmental change

concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual

and transgender people, continues

to shine a positive light. And

though United and Strong’s home

is temporary, due to burglary

and arson in 2011 - still under

investigation - she looks forward

to finding a permanent address

for the organization that has made

home a little bit safer and more

tolerant for countless individuals.


Silent Crimes

of the




By Ligia Forbes

On an ordinary business

trip, researchers of

Compassion and ABC

News estimate that an

average businessman (or woman)

spends a total of $1854.31.

of global problems, seeing them as

sad but inevitable. Prostitution, after

all, is often described as the ‘world’s

oldest’ profession.”

Many Caribbean islands are

unfortunately a part of this culture

that considers the kidnapping,

passage to other countries. This

usually takes place during their

pursuit for a better life and better

working conditions.

For the third consecutive year, the

island of Haiti has been placed on

the US Department of State’s “Tier 2

An estimated $211 would go to a

hotel room, $1609 for a round-trip

plane ticket, $22.81 for a meal and

$6.50 would be spent on a taxi ride;

all common tasks and forms of selfcare

for a typical traveling trip. One

common category that is often not

described or openly offered in a

traveling brochure is a silent crime

that has been reported in Antigua,

Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba and many

more Caribbean islands. The use of

exploited women, children and men

as a commodity to be forced into

labor, domestic servitude, and sexual

exploitation, also known as a form of

modern slavery: human trafficking.

On an ordinary business trip, the

use of a child victim of human

trafficking for sex has been

estimated at the price of $5.00.

Although human trafficking has

been reported in all 50 states in the

USA, Greece, Italy, France, and many

other countries in Europe and other

countries worldwide, the islands of

the Caribbean are often not seen

as a “target” to this global crime

to many of its citizens. New York

Times journalist Nicholas Kristof

once summed up the feelings that

many Caribbean and global citizens

have towards issues such as human

trafficking when he stated that there

is a “tendency to tune out these kinds

Human Trafficking

is the


organized crime


trade and disappearance of young

adolescents as something that is

normal. As reported in the UNDP

2014 Human Development report

for the Caribbean and Latin

America, there are 20-30 million

slaves in the world today and

victims of human trafficking in

the Caribbean are often lured by

the false promises of employment,

false marriage proposals and safe

Second Largest

Fastest Growing

Watch List” on its annual Trafficking

in Persons Report because of the

island’s stream of reports on cases

in which children are forced into

domestic servitude. In addition to

experiencing forced labor, these

children are extremely vulnerable

to sexual assaults, beatings, and

other forms of abuse by the family

members in the homes in which

they are residing. Since the 2010


earthquake, women and children

who are living in Internally

Displaced Person (IDP) camps have

become more at risk of forced labor

and sex trafficking on the island.

In 2014 alone, the Dominican

Republic is documented in the US

Department of State Trafficking in

Persons Report for cases in which

foreign tourists are a part of the

commercial sexual exploitation of

local children, particularly in the

coastal resort areas of the Dominican

Republic. Also in 2014 on the island

of Jamaica there have been reports

of police officers being involved

in prostitution rings that were

suspected of recruiting children

under the age of 18. Throughout the

island the sale of many children and

adults for sex and labor occurs on

the streets, in nightclubs, bars, resort

towns and in private homes.

Over time it has been a common

belief that prostitution is a choice,

but it is important to understand

the perspective that the victims of

sex and labor trafficking are often

forced into this industry and not

willing participants in their own

abuse. It is also important to realize,

regardless of age, race, gender or

nationality, human trafficking could

happen to anyone.

Know the Signs:

Awareness is key. As documented

by UNICEF, some of the signs that a

child is being trafficked are:

1) The child knows little about his or

her whereabouts

2) Works excessively long hours

3) Exhibits fear or anxious behavior

4) Was hired with false promises

5) Has inconsistences with his or

her story

Labor trafficking occurs often in

the industries of restaurants, bars,

hotels, agriculture, construction,

travel and sales crews, while

sex trafficking has been highly

reported in escort and massage


services, brothels, strip clubs, pimp

controlled prostitution on the street

and on the Internet.

Use/Request for Fair Trade


Fair Trade products are just that.

Fair. From far-away farms to your

shopping cart, products that bear

the logo “Fair Trade” come from

farmers and workers who are

paid fairly and not in forced labor

with no compensation for their

work. According to Fair Trade

USA, much of the Caribbean is a

part of the 70 developing countries

across the world that provide Fair

Trade Certified products and help

farmers in developing countries

build sustainable businesses

that positively influence their

communities. Search for fair trade

products at your local stores and

you can even request for Fair Trade

products if you do not see them. At

the website www.slaveryfootprint.

com you can also take a quiz and

learn how many slaves work for you

based on your daily habits and the

type of products you use.

Teach, Advocate, Fundraise:

Anyone can be trafficked regardless

of class, age, gender or education

and one of the best ways to help

inform others and urge government

officials to pass better laws to convict

human trafficking felons is to teach

your community about the facts of

human trafficking. Organizations

such as UNICEF and International

Justice Mission provide information

and descriptions of their efforts to stop

human trafficking in the Caribbean

that you can teach family members,

co-workers, and other fellow

Caribbean citizens about.

Change happens when enough people

come together and speak up for social

justice. Awareness and action are the

ways in which we will begin to stop

this silent crime of the Caribbean.



By Nneka Samuel

Made famous by American and

British acts in the 1970’s, punk rock

is ska and reggae’s brother from

Not that women the world over

haven’t been present for the

ride. From the late Poly Styrene

another mother, borrowing greatly of X-Ray Spex to Blondie front

Punk rock isn’t dead.

from their innovation, soul and

woman Debbie Harry to the queen

Just ask purists what even sound. But finding punk’s

of rebellion herself, Grace Jones,

the anti-establishment quintessential fast, hard-edged

women have always played a role

rooted music means to resonance in the Caribbean today is in the punk rock scene, whether

them and you’ll get a flurry of

responses - each as personal and

unique as the bands currently

populating the genre.

like finding a needle in a haystack.

Narrow that search to Caribbean

women or women of Caribbean

descent in the genre and we’re

talking significantly fewer numbers.

via music, fashion, or every form of

self-expression in between. Today,

however, it seems that women who

punk don’t reach the same prevalent

heights as their counterparts of

yesteryear. Could this be because of


the very nature of the punk scene -

the DIY ethic that has many bands

producing their own content and

distributing their music through

informal channels, as well as

booking their own shows, creating

their own fliers and disseminating

their own zines Although based

on that argument, many bands

would undoubtedly prosper in

today’s social media climate where

free publicity is a mere hashtag,

retweet or like away.

Perhaps the reason for the lack of

women in punk lies in the dilemma

of wider accessibility with less

visibility. Punk music has, after

all, remained predominantly

male. This lack of expansion in

gender equality gives into the ageold

assumption that all-female

bands or female-fronted bands

are somehow less capable and

talented than male groups or artists.

Less than 20 percent of the 120

bands participating in the 2014

Vans Warped Tour, for example,

the largest traveling tour in the

United States, featured at least one

female - a statistic with which the

event’s (male) organizer found

no fault. Female artists have

claimed time and again that some

male performers are more likely

to assume them groupies than

artists. This patriarchal allegiance

needs to change if women,

particularly women of color, are to

be encouraged to make, let alone

listen to, punk music.

Punk rockers of color are still met

with question marks, as if the music

were intended for a non-melaninrich

few. This very notion is ironic,

considering that the Caribbean

in particular is musically diverse

- reggae, dancehall, salsa, soca,

calypso and a host of other genres

having been birthed in this region.

Nevertheless, these genres are also

much more accepted, promoted and

assumed in this neck of the woods.

Maybe this is the reason why

Cojoba, a hardcore punk band

formed in Puerto Rico in 1995,

is now based in New York City. The

group is fronted by a female singer,

Taína, and a female bassist. Their

presence lends a much-needed voice

to Caribbean punk rock visibility.

Cojoba, whose name also refers to

a tree whose seeds were used by

the indigenous Taino peoples of the

Caribbean to talk to the gods, released

their first demo, Espiritu de Punk, in

1996. Since then, they have recorded

and released numerous albums

on their own distribution outfit,

Anaconda Records, as well as released

music by other artists.

Taína and Cojoba, whose core

members have changed over the

band’s nearly 20 year history, have

performed all over the world. This

was initially thanks in part to

the band’s early days and Taína’s

involvement in their DIY publication,

Zine Vergüenza. It featured

interviews with local bands, show

reviews and took up the role of

educating its readers on issues like

civil rights and social resistance, often

prevalent in the music.

Cojoba’s lasting presence on the

punk rock scene lends more than

visibility. Their music speaks to girls

and women in the Caribbean and

beyond who aspire to be more than

just fans or yearn for more diversity

in the very genre that claims to be

diverse and politically correct. But

they can’t be the only punk rockers on

the scene. Where are the Cojoba’s and

female punks of Cuba, Trinidad and

Tobago; Jamaica, Haiti With so many

movements and subgenres, punk has

the potential to tap into the unheard

voices from countries throughout the

Caribbean. The only way punk rock

can expand is if it has more voices.

Following the path set by Cojoba,

here’s hoping it will.





A Girl and her Garden

comes to sexuality.

At the start of her career, the

24-year-old singer went through

several stylists who encouraged

more revealing, peekaboo clothing

to create an image that didn’t fit

her. “They would send me off

with mini dresses and things like

that,” she remembers. “But it’s not

what I’m comfortable with. It’s not

necessary for me to show my tits,

my ass. That’s not what I’m about.

I don’t like bowing down to that.”

By Genice Phillips

Photography by Donald Wilson

There’s a seismic shift happening

in the music world. Indie artists

are forging ahead without the

massive backing of a major label

and if they are signed to the

“machine,” then they’re trumping

expectations. Sonically, and

lyrically, there are a few standout

artists reshaping the industry,

pushing the dusted “mainstream”

sound into a new, progressive era.

Suffice to say, Kat Dahlia is one

of those artists liquefying the

standard definition of pop music.

Her artistry is not reminiscent of

days past, when pop princesses

reigned. But it’s also not obscure

or mystifying to today’s crowd.

She pours her reality in the songs

she creates. Her songwriting is

weighty; at times, full of pain. And

her demeanor, while humbled, is

headstrong and independent. You

can tell that she is on a mission.

During a stop in North Carolina

on her first headlining U.S. tour,

I spoke with her about what

that mission was. From what

she relayed, and from what I

gathered, she wants to preserve

the integrity of her message in the

music, while connecting with the


Simplistic in wording, but

challenging in application.

She’s done well so far.

She’s been through a few

roadblocks and setbacks, as any

artist experiences in an industry

that is always looking for the next

“Rihanna” or “Taylor Swift,” often

giving those on the come up one

shot to propel their career, before

someone with less baggage, or

someone more compliant, is

taking their spot.

And it can be particularly

harrowing for female artists,

vying for an autonomous,

unique voice and image, without

relinquishing some aspects of

themselves, especially when it

As her music developed, some

attempted to steer her toward

being solely a Latina artist (her

parents are Cuban). But Kat saw

restriction and entrapment.

“In my mind, I felt like it was

being exploited – ‘Oh she’s

Latina, let’s milk this.’ But I was

like no; let me be me,” she says. “I

love my roots and my family. I’m

so happy and proud to be Latina.

It’s just in me, naturally, but I

don’t want it to be forced.”

And then, as her breakout song,

“Gangsta,” accelerated her career,

everything abruptly halted when

she discovered a pseudocyst on

her vocal chords, early last year.

Her debut album, “My Garden,”

was pushed back. Her first U.S.

tour, canceled. There was a

looming question as to whether

this would be permanent.

“It was such a hurtful thing when

I wasn’t able to sing for six months

and really not know if I was going

to get my voice back. It was an

emotional rollercoaster.”


Through the struggle, she’s had to

learn some hard lessons - starting

with her childhood in Miami

Beach, Florida as Katriana Huguet

– her given name. Growing up

with six brothers and sisters,

her parents went from having a

successful, affluent business to

scraping for rent money.

“We were doing well for a while,

but as I started getting older, little

by little, it dwindled,” Kat recalls.

“We were living in this huge

house and then, you know...it was

weird. You wake up one day and

we’re crashing with my dad in his

little two-bedroom apartment and

there’s eight of us,” she explains.

“My parents weren’t even together so

I was like, ‘why are we even here’”

“And we don’t even know where

we’re going to be in the next two

months because we have to get

out of there to move to another

space,” she continues. “It taught us

to adjust, all of us to adjust. You

learn to adjust with anything.”

Her singing ability spawned from

those adjustments, listening to

legendary Cuban artists, like the

Queen of Salsa, Célia Cruz, but also

delving into rock’n’roll, reggae and

pop. Her childhood imagination

went from pen to paper as she

began songwriting at age 15.

“I was always reading and writing

about my feelings and writing

stories,” Kat explains. “When I got

a little older, I started to put songs

together. Then three, four years

ago, I started recording.”

Her move to New York came at

18, after she realized that music

was an attainable pursuit. But a

turbulent relationship derailed her,

and she toiled through a period of

heavy depression. She eventually

broke free, but not without some

emotional scarring, and a collection

of songs, like the dark, abrasive

confessional, “Gangsta.”

As the track took hold of radio

and YouTube (almost 1 million

views, two weeks after the single

dropped), people rocked with her

telling, personal narrative and the

name “Kat Dahlia,” christened by

producer and friend, J. Dens, arose.

Her lessons of survival and

adaptability in the commotion

of everyday life - that for some,

can dampen the soul - for Kat,

extracted strength and humor.

“I feel, like, constipated; artistically

constipated,” she admitted when

we discussed “My Garden,” back in

November. “I’ve had this baby in me

[referring to her album] – 24 months

pregnant – and it’s just gotten so

big and fat. And oh my God, I’m a

terrible mother,” she jokes.

Her personality is often a mix of

sarcasm and optimism, but the

layers of vulnerability aren’t fully

present until you hear her music.

“You shut your light, you left

me blind/ But I could never turn

away/ Whether you’re black,

whether you’re white / You

always left me in the gray,” she


If I can make music that

actually affects people and

affect the way that they think,

and changes things for them –

that’s the moving shit.

hauntingly sings on “Walk on Water,”

one of the 11 tracks off “My Garden.”

The slate of songs she’s written for

her first studio album, capsule the

receiving end of contemptuous

love, among other topics that

follow the natural progression of

a “girl meets boy” scenario. You

hear it in “I Think I’m In Love” and

“Just Another Dude” – both songs

of discovery, though going in

opposite directions.

And then there’s the attitude. Not

in a gruff, off-putting way, but

tenacious. She holds conviction. It

shines through on “Tumbao,” Kat’s

personal nod to Célia Cruz’s 2001

Grammy-nominated single, “La

Negra Tiene Tumbao.”

Or when she sings the feisty hook

on the kinetic, dancehall hit, “Mash

It Up,” alongside musical heavyhitters

(singing and productionwise)

- The Kemist, Nyanda (of

Brick and Lace), and The Wizard

who all hail from Jamaica.

It’s a combination of her dogged

willfulness, signature rasp and

purposeful songwriting that

makes Kat prevail. It’s why

influential producer and hitmaker,

Timbaland, called her “this

generation’s Nina Simone.”

“She’s that powerful,” he said in an

interview. “Her rasp and her whole

swag game is just incredible.”

She’s since recovered from the

cyst that struck her vocal chords.

Her U.S. tour wrapped up in

mid-December. Her debut album

released just a few weeks ago.

She hopes her music will show

the mistakes and lessons that

she’s witnessed and experienced

firsthand – in love, family, and

other components of her life.

But through that, she wants the

honesty of her message, and her

personal growth, to resonate with

the fans.

“I go through, and have gone

through, the same struggles –

depression, animosity toward

people…questioning the point of

life. It can take you to an honest

and scary place,” Kat explains.

“But that’s where the music comes

from. And If I can make music

that actually affects people and

affect the way that they think,

and changes things for them –

that’s the moving shit.”



By Kristal Roberts

Just about any major reggae or

soca artist you can name, this

DJ has worked with---meet

DJ Spice.

He’s an internationally

respected DJ whose reach stretches

from hit makers in the Caribbean like

Beanie Man, Sean Paul and Rupee to

hip-hop legends, including KRS ONE

and RUN DMC. He’s also performed

for the likes of Bruce Springsteen.

The 38-year-old has won

International Soca DJ of the year

seven times. He’s a top requested

DJ for carnival celebrations across

the globe, from Boston to London,

to the mas in Trinidad.

But before he got big breaks with

superstar artists and international

gigs, he was a little kid who grew up in

New York and fell in love with music.

“I been deejaying from young,”

DJ Spice said.

DJ Spice, born Calvin Collins, has

been spinning records since the

tender age of 3, and you could

say it’s in his blood.

Born in the U.S., but raised in a

Trinidadian family, Collins grew

up watching his father, the late DJ

Rocking Mills, make a name for

himself spinning soca records.

DJ Spice would tag along with his

father, deejaying at Caribbean

parties, weddings, concerts and a

number of events.

“He showed me the ropes,”

DJ Spice said.

Because his father was also the

soccer coach for Team Caribe, Spice

would also travel with his father to

the international games and play

music afterward.

If you ask him about his musical

tastes, he’ll tell you that growing up,

he was all about hip-hop; from the

music and the clothes to the swag.

He played for artists like Funkmaster

Flex, and he felt that hip-hop was

where his heart was.

However, the more exposure he had

to different approaches to soca music

from different islands, the more he

fell in love with the music of his

Caribbean roots.

Over time, DJ Spice’s star rose, and

deejaying gigs took him all over the

U.S. and around world.

He won the International Soca

DJ of the Year award for the first

time in 2003, but a memorable

turning point for him was in 2004

when he was invited to spin at the

carnival in London. It was his first

European carnival performance,

and it hit him then that he was

truly respected as a Soca DJ.

He continued to reach significant

milestones, including hosting a

number of AM and FM radio shows,

and becoming the first Soca DJ to

perform at the Barclay’s Center in

2012. There he shared the stage with

the likes with Doug E. Fresh, Alison

Hinds and Machel Montano at a

massive Caribbean concert.

When he’s not traveling to play for

artists, he has a radio show on New

York’s popular urban station Power

105.1 on Sunday at 10 p.m. called

“Anything Goes” with DJ Norie.

While he has accomplished plenty as

a Soca DJ, Spice said the passing of his

father in August 2014 put things into

perspective about what he wants out

of his career long term.

He decided to work toward leaving

behind legacy, and that’s spreading

the heart and soul of soca.


“I came to the point in my life

where I saw that the world needed

to understand the culture of soca

and calypso. Not just Trinidad but

all the other islands. I asked myself

what could I do to help out the

industry,” he said.

He created Teamsoca.com, a site that

serves two functions:

1) Have an online source where

listeners can tune in and listen to

a soca set 24/7.

2) Have a retail store that sells

merchandise with the Team Soca


and to promote the website.

DJ Spice’s site features fellow Soca

DJs from around the world.

DJs can play a 3-hour set on the site

uninterrupted and anyone can go

there to listen. Soca DJs from all

around the world can share their

styles as well as listen to what

the latest soca trends are in other

parts of the globe.

When it came to the retail store,

DJ Spice, who is also a computer

technician and graphics designer,

was very hands-on, from building

the website to designing t-shirts. He

wanted a way to spread the word

about TeamSoca.com while giving

people a way to represent the genre,

so he started printing T-shirts with

the Team Soca Logo and started

giving them out all over the globe

when he traveled for work.

The retail store is already seeing

success, and DJ Spice says the

range of customers he’s getting

pleasantly surprises him.

“People are contacting me and ordering

from the U.K., Germany and Finland…

like some places I haven’t even been

and they’re going on the website, that

tells me there are people out there that

love soca music. Love Caribbean music.”

He’s looking to expand into winter

gear, accessories, gym wear and

pieces for carnival goers.

He hopes to continue promoting the

brand by having fellow celebrity

DJs like Angie Martinez or DJ Clue

wear the items, but right now he

is working toward linking up with

large Trinidad clothing stores to

distribute Team Soca gear.

When describing his goals for

teamsoca.com and his career at

large, DJ Spice says he will not be

done with soca music until every

person on the planet understands

and appreciates it.

“I come from a happy culture

with happy music. When people

understand it, they will love it as well.”



Follow Us on Social Media:


Bath and Body


Good Vibes:

Carribbean Coconut

Salt Scrub— $14

Royal Oats

Shower Bar— $10

By Genice Phillips

Brownie Bliss

(Chocolate and


Shower Bar— $10

Oats and Lavender

Bath Tea— $30

Momtreprenuer Jhéanell Adams has

melded her experiences of island

life in Jamaica with her passion

for beauty and fashion, creating a

superior line of organic, all-natural

bath and body products.

Memorializing her baby daughter,

Jhéanell launched her business under

the name, Jolie Bloom. And it’s been

blossoming ever since.

A range of decadent body scrubs,

candles, bath bars and lotions that are

excellent for your skin (and healthy,

too), Jolie Bloom is an “eco-luxury

beauty brand” for everyone. Check out

POTENT’s top picks:

1. Good Vibes: Caribbean

Coconut Salt Scrub - $14.00

2. Royal Oats Shower Bar - $10.00

Rose and

Chocolate Soap

3. Brownie Bliss (Chocolate and

Peppermint) Shower Bar - $10.00

4. Oats and Lavender Bath Tea - $30.00


Another product coming soon, and

just in time for Valentine’s Day,

is their Rose and Chocolate Soap.

Sounds blissful!


Guadeloupean Fashion





By Ariana Gordon

Photography by IDLine Studio

How many people can

say they get to live in

paradise while living out

their dreams Priscilla

Delannay can. This media maven

spends her days on the beautiful

island of Guadaloupe, working her

way up the ranks in the world of

communications and PR.

Her real passion though, lies in the

words and photos that she shares

with the world on her fashion

blog, Indiz (pronounced “in-deez”).

Priscilla, who grew up on the French

island and was educated in Europe,

got the idea for the blog with a little

help from friends. “A lot of friends

were asking me if I wanted to start

something like a blog, because I’m

always giving advice to everybody,”

she said. “I wanted to do something

to share my passion for fashion.”

Where does that passion come

from Delannay confessed that

her obsession might be genetic.

“My mom is a fashion lover,”

Delannay said. “So maybe that

came from her. She raised me up

like a little doll…carefully choosing

my outfits and everything.”

Her mother used to be a local model,

so even as a young girl, Delannay

was immersed and enthralled: “I

always followed the runways and

the collections…this world was

always a part of my life.”


With love of the fashion world

and her experiences in it, Delannay

cultivated her own personal

style, which she calls a mix of

the French-soaked culture that

Guadaloupe maintains — one can

find Paris’ top magazines, brands

and shops on the streets of the

island — with hints of Caribbean,

European and African influences.

That style can be seen on the

webpages of Indiz, as Delannay often

shows off her uncanny ability to put

a killer outfit together — including

accessories and sometimes makeup

— using herself as a model. She also

highlights various fashion shows

and designers, street styles or even

notable red-carpet moments.

And while she’ll sometimes mention

international brands, Dellanay

always comes back to her roots —

even when it comes to the name of

her blog, which is a reference to the

West Indies and the fact that she is

partially Indian. “[The word] Indiz

meant a lot to me,” she said.

The blog also means a lot to

Delannay, who started this journey

two years ago with her best friend,

who’s a stylist for a well-known

magazine in France. And in just

these past two years, the blog

has over 40,000 unique views

and 3,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Delannay also has a Twitter and an

Instagram, and credits social media

for much of her blog’s success.


“[Social media] is very

important,” she said. “If I had

only the blog, it would be

very, very different. Now that

everything is linked — from

Twitter to Instagram and

everything — a lot of people

started following the blog. So

it’s really important and I’m

reaching so many people from

everywhere around the world.”

Delannay confessed that

sometimes balancing it all can

be difficult, especially with a

full-time job and a full-time

blog that both need tending.

But she seems to manage it all;

working as a stylist for various

magazine shoots in addition to

her job and her blog.

The blog is a great way for the

two worlds [fashion blogging

and communications/PR] to

meet,” she explained. “I’m doing

what I’m trained to do — I’m in

communications and media —

and with my passion, I’m adding

fashion to that.”

I Wanted to do Something

to Share my




Delannay has some big hopes

for the future of her blog, which

she said started as a hobby but

has now become so much more.

“I want it to be a place where the

girls from Guadaloupe and all

over the Caribbean find some

advice and important tips to

shop,” she said. “I want it to be a

place where everybody can find

something interesting to add to

their style .”


Dressing for


And the Ones In Between

By Ariana Gordon

As we bid winter farewell and say hello to spring, there’s a little space

of time between seasons where sometimes our wardrobes get a bit

confused: Not quite warm enough for short-shorts and flip flops, but

not cold enough for heavy sweaters and gloves. Turn that dreaded

period into a time of experimentation and learn how to embrace the

cold-to-warm transition. Here’s how.

Melanie Fiona

Joan Smalls

1 2

Layer it up “Blouse

Invest in some good layered looks. Take

a little winter and combine it with a

little summer, and if you do it right,

we promise you’ll be taking on the inbetween

season in style. Cardigans,

denim jackets and lightweight scarves

in all colors (sometimes the brighter the

better) are great ways to layer your look,

and take you from chilly mornings to

warmer middays.

an’ Skirt”

No, literally, blouses and skirts are some

of the best ways to keep from getting

too hot or too cold. A pretty blouse in a

pastel or jewel tone can brighten any look.

Combine with a light jacket toward off

early morning chills.

Meanwhile a long, patterned skirt (or even

a short one paired with lightweight tights)

combined with some cute booties or even

a closed-toed sandal, can do wonders in

getting you in the mood for springtime.






Non-commitment doesn’t have to be a bad

thing: Your toes still have time to flirt with

a sexy transitional shoe, like an open-toed

bootie or closed-toed sandal, before it’s

time to invest in fully-covered fashions.

Letting your feet breathe without too

much exposure is a great way to greet the

upcoming weather without saying so long

to cooler temperatures quite yet.


Just Pulling

Your Legg-ing

Leggings — no matter the hue — are a

fantastic way to transition from winter to

spring. Bright or patterned leggings with

a long, single-hue blouse and booties (or

sandals) is a low-maintenance ensemble

great to fill in whatever holes spring

cleaning has left in your wardrobe.

Tatyana Ali

Speaking of wardrobes, plain black

leggings are a staple that you can mix and

match. Use that as a base to start to your

outfits, then layer with long shirts, short

skirts and light jackets. Don’t be afraid to

try new things!



When in Doubt,


Nothing can pull an iffy outfit together quicker

than some stunning statement accessories.

From dangling earrings in various shades to

eye-catching bangles and bracelets, adding some

oomph to an ensemble can go a long way while

the seasons change.

5‘No White

After Labor Day’

is No Longer a



This is the time to start adding white

(resort white, not winter white) back to

your wardrobe. Whether it’s the form of

white pants with a bright or patterned

shirt, or a structured white dress paired

with a girly cardigan or an edgy denim

jacket, have fun playing in the snowwhite

of fashion, and getting your style

together before summer rolls around.

If wearing layers, pieces like a statement brooch

can give an ensemble a fashionable focal point,

and also keep you from having to worry about

earring lengths and wrist-wear getting caught

somewhere between your sleeves. Statement

earrings go well with blousy looks, as does KIS

(Keep It Simple) ensembles, such as leggings.

If sticking with white, colorful accessories —

jewelry, clutches or other handbags — are the

way to go.

Selita Ebanks

knitwear luxe

Aisling Camps

By Genice Phillips

Our penchant for knitwear heightens during the fall and winter, closets filled with thick, cozy

sweaters and bulky scarves. But Trinidadian designer Aisling Camps is redefining the knitwear

staple. Her intricate, imaginative designs are lightweight, relaxed and gender neutral.

With a background in mechanical engineering from Columbia University, the Bayshore local

has a distinct eye for her craft and others have taken notice. Renowned fashion designer and

mentor Meiling recently collaborated with Camps for their 2015 collections, each offering a

fresh take on menswear-for-women with their theme, “Borrowed from the Boys.”

Purple hues with splashes of white and yellow lined the bodies of models who showcased

an array of defined, naturally sophisticated pieces from the knitwear designer. She’s now

overwhelmed with orders – and we’re not surprised. Her eponymous label, Aisling Knits, is a

one-woman show moving with a striking edge that is changing the attitude of knitwear and

making us rethink our wardrobe.




A Bahamian Wedding

By Lisa Collins-Haynes

Photography by Gabretta Guerin

They say every dream

has to start somewhere;

but not even in her

wildest dreams did she

really believe that all her dreams

would come true. There’s a

Cinderella tale in all of us, as life

has its ups and downs, but the

one that gets the glass slipper at

the end—now she’s winning.

Funnily enough Deana Whitlow

and Henry Coleman’s love

story starts with a missing

item, much like Cinderella

and her Prince Charming, I

mean—Henry—located them.

In a magical place, we’ll call

Houston, Deana misplaced her

car keys at church one Sunday.

Prince Charming, I mean—

Henry located them. Which

led to a whimsical, whirlwind

romance. Okay, maybe not so

much whimsy and probably

a little less whirlwind, but a

budding romance was definitely

blossoming between the two.

Not only is Deana beautiful,

talented and intelligent,

but Henry also felt that she

possessed five distinctive

characteristics that solidified her

being the woman of his dreams.

He said, “First, she is a woman

who is spiritually focused, loves

God and I am inspired with

her love and relationship with

Him. Second she is a woman

who is emotionally strong, even

through failed relationships,

she still has a positive outlook

on love. Third, she is a woman

who is capable of fitting into

any setting. She has the ability


to carry on conversations

with doctors, lawyers, parents,

coaches, athletes, dancers or

bankers. Fourth, she is a woman

who is economically sharp. I

am impressed with how Deana

handles her finances and she has

a financial plan for her present

and her future. Fifth, she is a

me; we just spoke of our hopes

and dreams, our hurts and

disappointments which created

a bond quickly.” She wasn’t

looking for a life partner that

was a divorcé with two children.

But Henry was different and life

teaches us not to judge a book by

its cover. Deana realized how

share my love of God with.”

Their relationship strengthened

and soon Henry was making

that call—the one to her parents.

With best wishes and Godspeed

from Deana’s parents and

brother, Henry picked the place,

time and cued the music. As K-Ci

The newlywed couple,

Henry and Deana Coleman,

cut their wedding cake

woman who has unquestionable

character. Whether at work,

church, home or [in] public no

one had anything bad to say

about her. She is everyone’s

favorite friend, niece, sibling

and co-worker.”

It speaks volumes when a man

can break down and pinpoint

exactly why he’s in love with a

woman. Deana shares the same

sentiment and says, “When

Henry and I would talk, it was

like he spoke directly to my

heart. He never tried to impress

true this was, as he had read

all the same marriage books

she had. He had listened to

all the different teachings on

marriage that she had listened

to as well. “I was impressed, he

had read ‘Five Love Languages,’

‘Seven Habits of Highly

Effective People,’ and so on. He

was passionate about being a

teacher, father and a football

coach. He also was a man that

would pray about everything

and this alone was something I

had longed for my whole adult

dating life; someone I could

and JoJo belted out “This Very

Moment,” Henry dropped to

one knee and presented Deana

with a very important question,

and a little box. Cue trumpets

and horns here. The royal scroll

reads: She said YES!

Without a moment to spare

the pair began planning for

the destination wedding of

their dreams. Deana recently

discovered her family roots

in The Bahamas and decided

it’s where she wanted to get

married. Her great-grandfather


was Ebenezer Woodberry

Franklin Stirrup, a carpenter

that migrated to Coconut Grove,

Florida from Harbour Island,

in The Bahamas. He went on

to become one of the largest

landowners of his time in

Coconut Grove, as well as one of

Florida’s first Black millionaires.

This must be where Deana

received her financial acumen

from, one of her characteristics

Henry noticed early on.

The saying that everything

happens for a reason rings true

throughout their relationship.

Just as a pair of lost keys led

them to each other, a series

of missed connections with

a wedding coordinator led

Deana to visit the official

www.Bahamas.com website.

There she saw the yearlong

promotion being spearheaded

by the Bahamas Ministry of

Tourism (BMOT), “16 Weddings,

16 Islands, 1 Priceless Day.” The

promotion was an effort to

showcase the many personalities

of the different Bahamian

islands as prominent wedding

and honeymoon destination

options. While the world is

familiar with Nassau and

Freeport, the BMOT wants to

invite more people to get to

know the Family Islands of The

Bahamas; with over 700 islands

and 2,000 keys, each one is

uniquely different.

Deana and Henry entered the

contest, had all their family and

friends vote online, shared their

love story with the judges and to

their surprise, were selected as

one of the 16 winning couples to

have an all-expense paid dream

wedding in The Bahamas.

With the assistance of the

BMOT’s Director of Romance,

Freda Malcolm, Deana was able

to select her dream dress, dream

set of rings, dream wedding and

dream destination, as she was set

to marry the man of her dreams.

On Jan. 16, 2015, 16 couples

on 16 different islands in the

Bahamas, all marched down a

powdery beach isle to say their

vows at 16:00 hours (4 p.m.). On

their own piece of paradise on

Harbour Island at the Valentines

Resort and Marina, Deana

and Henry were among those

couples. Their two children

served as the ring bearers and

40 of their closest family and

friends witnessed the intimate

ceremony and the traditional

Junkanoo performance.

“To say being a winner is a

dream come true is not enough

to describe how we truly felt.

It’s a full circle,” says Deana. “My

family origin in the Bahamas,

the winner’s reception at the

Atlantis’s Oceans Edge – where

we wanted our original wedding –

our rings; the ease of the planning

and the sheer joy seen on our

family and friend’s faces. It felt

like we received a kiss from God.”


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Bean-to-bar Chocolate

from the Caribbean


By Graciano Petersen

There is a burgeoning trend

among chocolatiers to have

more knowledge about

where the cacao bean, which

comprises their chocolate, is sourced.

From that we have the bean-to-bar

chocolates that are manipulated as

beans by manufacturers following

the farming to ensure a higher

quality result. At Spagnvola, a unique

chocolate company that offers farmsourced

Dominican chocolate, beanto-bar

doesn’t fully encapsulate the

experience, but it comes close.

The husband and wife owners of

Spagnvola, Eric and Crisoire Reid, ship

their farmed cacao beans from the

Dominican Republic and transform

them into premium chocolate for

their bars, bonbons and truffles at

their micro-factory in suburban

Maryland in the United States. The

Reids grow, harvest, ferment, dry

and grade their cacao on a familyowned

hacienda in the Dominican

Republic run by Crisoire’s sister.

As Eric, who handles most of the

business relationships, describes it,

he and his wife are “farmers first.”

They are firm believers of ensuring

the quality of the final product from

the onset; and for chocolate, that

all starts at the farm. The Reids are

working on finalizing the genetic

diversity of their farm. On the

hacienda, they have fingerprinted

the genomes of the trees and found

about 13 different genomic makeups.

Eric hopes that this will help to set

Spagnvola chocolate apart by being

able to give the consumer information


on quality from a genetic level.

As “you have to control the

quality from the harvest to the

finished product,” Eric says.

And with their close watch on

what beans are shipped from

the Caribbean, the Reids are

conscious of the quality.

At their micro-factory in the

U.S., the Reids make smallbatch

chocolate. Crisoire is

head chocolatier, and in charge

of making the confections.

She decides on the flavors

of the bonbons and truffles

and assures that the roasting

and winnowing of the beans

is carried out properly. The

bonbons and truffles come

in many flavors including

Olive Oil, Honey, Amaretto,

Cranberry and Dominican

Rum Raisin. “They are all

delicious,” says Crisoire, but

she is partial to Cappuccino,

Passion of the Sea, and

especially Passion Fruit

because it uses Dominican

fruit in the recipe. As someone

from the Dominican Republic,

Crisoire believes that “when

you eat a piece of [Spagnvola]

chocolate, you are taken back

to the Dominican Republic.”

Eric and Crisoire do not have

a big outfit; from the family

hacienda to the business

partners and small staff they

employ at their boutiques,

Spagnvola is a family

business. The children help

out and even the staff at the

boutiques are behind the

Reids’ approach to chocolate.

This may be because the Reids have a simple

chocolate philosophy: “the best chocolate can

only be produced by farmers.” This belief not

only inspired the Reids to begin their journey

in 2009 to create their own chocolate, but it

has kept them on their continued commitment

to transform the cacao industry. Eric and

Crisoire are giving back to the Caribbean with

education on how to grow and make premium

chocolate. This education is important to the

Reids because many Caribbean nations are

exporting the raw ingredient,

but have no connection to

the final product. “We have

to work with the farmers to

participate in the value chain,”

Eric explains. In May 2014,

Eric signed a memorandum

of understanding with the

University of the West

Indies in Barbados, to open

a chocolate academy where

people from all over the

Caribbean can come to learn

about growing and harvesting

cacao, and also how to make

chocolate bars and confections.

They are also taking the

knowledge of Caribbean

chocolate to West Africa.

Currently, Nigeria ranks

highest in the world for

the export of chocolate, but

according to Eric, the majority

of the chocolate made in West

Africa is bulk cocoa. Bulk

cocoa goes from “harvest to

drying,” while premium cocoa

gets a more refined flavor

from the “fermenting and

developing of the flavor,” says

Eric. Since the countries of

West Africa have the same


Crisoire and Eric Reid

picture at the Spagnvola

boutique in Maryland

kinds of cacao trees, Eric feels

it’s important that they learn

how to improve the quality

of their final product and

export that chocolate as West

African chocolate.

The Reids have come a long

way; they have taken their

business from an idea and a

small start in the basement

of their home, and expanded

it to two boutiques all by

embracing the idea of quality

from beginning to end. From

the trees and beans in the

Dominican Republic, to the

bars and confections in the

United States, people of the

same family are handling the

making of chocolate from bean

to bar. Though, Spagnvola

chocolate exceeds the idea of

bean-to-bar and embraces what can be

considered “farm-to-table” chocolate.

The Reids’ “table,” so to speak,

includes their website (www.

spagnvola.com) where you can

purchase bars, bonbons and truffles

of “the world’s best chocolate,”

according to Eric. Crisoire offers

chocolate making classes at their

main boutique in Gaithersburg,

Maryland, while Eric extends

his educational knowledge on

chocolate via tours of the microfactory

in the basement of the

building. On my tour of the

building, I learned quite a bit about

chocolate. The most important

takeaway for me was how to

properly eat chocolate. I didn’t

know it, but I was eating chocolate

all wrong. Don’t misunderstand me;

I’ve been enjoying chocolate, like

really enjoying chocolate

most of my life, but all those

times I bit into a square of

chocolate to enjoy, it was

all wrong. When I sat down

with Crisoire and Eric, they

told me to “put it in your

mouth, let it melt and enjoy

the flavors. No biting.” I

didn’t know, but now I can

truly enjoy chocolate for

the rest of my life as I did at

Spagnvola café.

With Eric’s background from

a mixture of different parts

of the Caribbean, Crisoire’s

heritage form the Dominican

Republic and cacao sourced

from the same island, the Reids

bring powerful flavors of the

Caribbean to the Mid-Atlantic.



Meet 3 of the



F m l

a t o

By Nneka Samuel

The stigma of tattoos on the

female body bears a long

history - one steeped in

religion, the “tramp stamp”

assumption of promiscuity and

societal norms that dare dictate what

women can and cannot do with their

own bodies. Being simultaneously

an inked woman and a female tattoo

artist Not exactly something you

would expect of most Caribbean

women. But these aren’t your

everyday, run of the mill chicks.

From Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and

Jamaica, three pioneers and

businesswomen are making names

for themselves in a largely maledominated

industry; one still deemed

taboo by Caribbean society at large.

But their work, talent, and sheer

determination to be at the top of their

game is helping to change negative

perceptions, all while ushering in a

new wave of ink-slingers.

25-year-old Lidiette Del Valle, owner

of Crazy Tattoos in Carolina, Puerto

Rico, is fully aware that being a

female tattoo artist is not a common

practice in her native country.

Currently the sole artist at her shop,

Del Valle has deliberately taken a

female apprentice, Jojo Colón, under

her wing. Fully acknowledging how

“women in the tattoo world are

marginalized,” Del Valle’s plan is to

transform her growing business into

a one-of-a-kind venue that solely

employs female tattoo artists. She

even wants all of the art on the walls

to be made by women. And while

the majority of her former work

colleagues have been men, Del Valle

admits that they gave her a warm and

cordial welcome to the tattoo industry

when she first began in 2009. But, she

still had to prove herself.


that [tattoos] should be covered for work.” In

addition, Fraites claims some customers only

want a female tattoo artist and that many clients

treat her better, if at all different.

With over a decade of professional experience

under her belt, it is safe to say that Fraites

has created a lot of work. Asking her to pick a

favorite tattoo to date The proud mother of

three says that task is “analogous to asking a

parent which is their favorite child.”

St. Lucian tattoo artist Melanie

Fraites of Dragonfish Tattoo describes

herself as “a bit of a mad scientist

environmentalist” who dabbles in

everything from the cannabis movement

to website design, computer repair

and of course, body art. She has

been tattooing for over 11 years and

in that time has witnessed a change

in social norms. “The taboo about

tattoos is wearing off,” says Fraites.

“People are more concerned with the

design being tasteful and professional

and safe, but the majority still believe

“At [the] early stages of my career, I was treated

differently. In the shop where I first worked, I was

the only female tattoo artist. When male customers

came to the shop, they doubted my ability and

asked first to see my previous work to make sure

that I could tattoo, something they did not do to my

male co-workers and boss.”

Despite being called crazy by family and friends when

she decided to open her own tattoo shop, Del Valle

nonetheless had ample support. The “crazy” label

clearly stuck and became not only the name of her

business, but a means by which to gain ground on an

art she says was once deemed diabolic and obscene.

Ocho Rios-bred Candice “Needlez”

Davis has a law degree from Jamaica’s

University of Technology, but she’s way

too fun for law. Specializing in cover-up

tattoos, this self-proclaimed Olivia Pope

of tattoos, is “completely and hopelessly”

in love with her job. And while she has

been treated differently being a female

tattoo artist, she says it has its benefits.

“Being treated differently isn’t always a

bad thing. Most women prefer to come to

a female to get tattooed. They like to think

I’m gentler and more compassionate,

[which] I am. And of course, most men

like being touched by a woman.”

Davis opened her shop, NeedleZ Body

Candy Services, in 2010, and in addition

to cover-ups, enjoys portraits and

designs inked in black and grey. Like

her counterparts, she is well aware of

the fear that body ink conveys - fear of

its lasting permanence and of the pain

often associated with the needle. Her

take on the matter

“I believe tattoos are still taboo because

the morals, teachings and culture of most

Caribbean islands are founded on the

teachings of Christianity,” says Davis.

“Most Christians view the body as the

temple and as such, have taken this to

mean we ought not mark our bodies. I,

on the other hand, say if the body is a

temple, why not decorate the walls”

It’s a good thing she won’t be putting her

law degree to use any time soon. Davis’

passion is much better suited in ink. “My

work immortalizes me,” she exclaims.

“Who doesn’t want to live forever”

While Davis, Fraites and Del Valle have

already made a lasting mark with their

clients, the paths they’ve boldly forged

as women, artists, and history-makers

might have even more impact. For that,

they deserve all the respect.



Be Warm

for the


By Graciano Petersen

It’s February and if you are above the 31st parallel (about where the Florida-Georgia

border is), it’s cold and maybe even snowing, but the Christmastime joy of that soft,

fluffy precipitation has started to wane. So, why continue to be cold for the winter when

the Caribbean and its warm waters and white, sandy beaches are a short flight away

Whatever your excuse may be for keeping yourself on ice, here are POTENT’s top choices

for Caribbean destinations to visit and a total of 25 reasons to be warm for the winter.



The warm waters of the Caribbean

bathe the eastern border of this Central

American nation making it part of the

Caribbean experience. Even so, many

people skip it when thinking about a

Caribbean getaway. Here’s why you


1. English. Maybe you’ve forgotten those

years of high school Spanish and aren’t

looking to be embarrassed by your lack of

language knowledge and that’s steered you

away from Central America, but Belize,

formerly British Honduras, was a colony of

the United Kingdom so most people speak


2. Diving. This pastime has been a main

attraction for visitors to the country. With

the famous Blue Hole, Belize Barrier Reef

and whale shark season beginning in

March, Belize’s warm waters are waiting to

be deeply explored.

3. Fiesta de Carnival. There are a lot of

Carnival celebrations around the world

the weekend before Lent, but in Belize the

celebration is quite unique. In San Pedro,

there is body painting and flour fighting

instead of parades and costumes.

4. Belizean Tamales. Central Americans

love their tamales and each country has

a unique spin on the dish. In Belize, the

influence of the Caribbean comes through

as the typical maize meal mixed with

spices, beans and your meat of choice, is

wrapped in a plantain leaf instead of the

typical cornhusk.

5. No Currency Exchange. While prices

are normally in the local currency, the

Belizean dollar, American money is widely

accepted. This means that you won’t have

to worry about pesky exchange rates.


POTENT Magazine | FOUR




The beautiful beaches on this attractive island have been frequented by

college spring breakers for decades. Here’s why you should get in on the

fun before they get there:

1. Geographical Diversity. The

island of Hispaniola has four distinct

ecoregions. In the DR you can go hiking

and climb mountains in addition to

relaxing by the beach. The DR is unique

enough to house both the Caribbean’s

highest point (Pico Duarte) as well as its

lowest (Lake Enriquillo).

2. Waterfalls. The DR boasts the

Caribbean’s highest waterfall. At

492 feet, Salta Aqua Blanca is not to

be missed! Although, swimming into

crystal-clear pools of water beneath a

plunging waterfall should be enough

of a reason to visit.

3. Santo Domingo. The nation’s

capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest

city in the Americas. Founded by

Bartholomew Columbus in 1496,

Santo Domingo has the largest

population of any city in the

Caribbean, with diverse dining and

happening nightlife to support its

inhabitants and visitors.

4. Rhythm. Put on your dancing

shoes and hit the town! You can’t

visit the DR without taking part

in one of the island’s most beloved

traditions: dance! Domincanos have

brought the world dances such

as merengue and bachata, but no

other dance truly resonates with

the sounds of the republic more

than perico ripiao – also known as

merengue típico.

5. Carnival. Dominican Carnival is

usually celebrated during the whole

month of February culminating

on Dominican Independence Day,

February 27. Carnival is celebrated

throughout the nation with each

town putting its unique spin on the

colorful and joyful event.







This island paradise has a rich

history of food, music and culture,

which is all summed up in its

name. Puerto Rico translates to

“rich port” and it definitely has an

abundance of attractions:

1. No Passport Needed. If you are

a U.S. citizen, traveling to Puerto

Rico doesn’t require a passport.

You can jump on a flight to the

island with just a state-issued ID.

2. Varied Archipelago. Though

known as one island, Puerto Rico is

an archipelago of one main island,

three smaller islands and several

islets. The diverse archipelago has

mountains, a bioluminescent bay

and several coral reefs to explore.

3. El Yunque Rainforest. On

the eastern side of the Luquillo

mountains lays El Yunque,

a mountainous, subtropical

rainforest that you can drive

through and hike the small cloud

forest at its top. The forest is home

to several unique plant and animal

species including the endangered

Puerto Rican parrot and coquis

(indigenous tree frogs).

4. Old San Juan. Old San Juan,

the historic colonial section

of San Juan, is the oldest

settlement in Puerto Rico. The

area is characterized by its blue

cobblestone streets and flat-roofed

brick and stone buildings. Get

absorbed in the colonial past of the

Caribbean with a stroll through the

city and to the beach where you’ll

find Fort San Felipe del Morro.

5. Mofongo. Considered among

many to be the leader of Puerto

Rican cuisine, this dish can be

found everywhere from a finedining

restaurant to a roadside

shack. Mofongo is a delicious and

filling mix of mashed plantain,

seasonings and the chef’s or the

guest’s filling of choice (veggies,

seafood, beef or pork). Every

Puerto Rican household and

restaurant does mofongo a little

differently so you can experiment

until you find your favorite recipe.



u.s .




Beautiful calm bays, white sand and

crystal clear waters are all features of

the beaches of St. Croix, St. John and

St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands. A

frequent port for many cruise ships,

here’s why you should think about

docking in one of these islands:

1. No Passport No Problem. Like

their larger, commonwealth neighbor,

the U.S. Virgin Islands are a territory

of the United States, so no passport is

needed for U.S. citizens to visit.

2. Cruzan Rum. Frequently

recognized to be among the world’s

best, Cruzan Rum is made in St. Croix

and sold at outrageously low prices

throughout the Virgin Islands.

3. Duty-Free Shopping. St.

Thomas is known for being the

biggest tax-free, duty-free shopping

hub in the Caribbean. Visitors are

allowed to leave the island with

$1,600 in duty-free goods.

4. Virgin Islanders. Virgin Islanders

are full of personality. In the Virgin

Islands people are talkative and direct,

but it’s also a place where manners and

Good Mornings are commonplace.

5. Snorkeling. I am not exaggerating when

I say that you can walk off the beach, jump

into the water and snorkel amid schools of

tropical fish. There are several great sites off

the coast of St. John, but you can snorkel

anywhere in the U.S.V.I.







Technically, the Bahamas are not

in the Caribbean, but Bahamians

have always been culturally linked

to the Caribbean so this stunning

archipelago gets to make the list. Keep

reading to find out why you should

skip over to the Bahamas now!

1. Proximity. The large archipelago

of islands that make up the

Bahamas stretch achingly close to

the coast of Florida. Only 50 miles

away from Miami, there are many

ways to get to the Bahamas.

2. Day Trips Available. Big-game

fishing is a short boat trip away

from Miami on the Bahamian

island of Bimini. The Bahamian

Ministry of Tourism has recently

opened up a new port on the island

to ease the welcoming of foreign

visitors to the paradise.

3. Nassau. The capital and largest city

of the Bahamas is only a 45-minute

plane ride from Miami. Nassau has

diverse attractions and a rich cultural

history. Festival Place is where the

artists gather to show off their work,

and it’s definitely worth a visit.

4. Numerous Islands. The Bahamas

has more than 700 islands with

hospitable people, fascinating

traditions and beautiful nature.

From Andros’ freshwater blue holes

to the fantasy vacation appeal of

the Out Islands, the Bahamas has

something for everyone.

5. Conch. Many Bahamans see conch

as the official food of their islands.


With conch fritters, cracked conch

and stewed conch, it’s hard not to get

your fill of this Caribbean delicacy.

No matter which of these five

destinations you choose, you will not

only have the sun to keep you warm,

but the secure knowledge that with

the help of POTENT, you’ve chosen a

great getaway for the winter. Now go

book that vacation!




By Genice Phillips

Eva Wilson is the woman

behind SocaMom.com,

an award-winning site

for Caribbean-American

parents. Wife and mother of three

children, Eva has shared parenting

advice, children’s activities, news

and other facets of Caribbean

culture on her site for the past four

years. Building a community that

empowers parents and children to

learn more about the Caribbean,

POTENT caught up with Eva to learn

more about the start of SocaMom

and how she has bridged her love of

technology and Caribbean culture

with the everyday struggles and joys

of parenting.

POTENT: How did Soca Mom start

SocaMom: I got the idea to create a

place to help Caribbean American

parents connect their children to

the culture and reserved the domain

name in 2008. I stay busy, so at that

time with three kids, 2, 3, and 7, I

had no time to do anything with it,

so I just waited. In 2010, I went to

a blogging conference at the urging

of a friend of mine from college, and

in 2011 I just started. I am a big geek

at heart – and married one, so we

worked on the website together. He

did a lot of the more complex coding

for special things that I wanted,

and I did the basic coding, graphics,

and writing. I had a great group of

American and Caribbean friends

and family who helped me get the

word out – commenting on posts and

sharing my content. The community

has been very supportive.

POTENT: Why do you think it’s so

important for children to learn about

Caribbean culture today

SocaMom: When I was young, I

knew my family was different, and

that often made me feel isolated. I

couldn’t just go across the street, or



the state, to see my extended family.

The only way that I really could feel

a sense of belonging was after I was

able to really experience Caribbean

culture, and it changed me for the

better. The “where do I come from”

conversations that parents have with

children are important. To me, our

Caribbean roots are just like tree roots

– we go up from there. They provide

stability, and even though you can’t

see them, they matter so much to

who we are and what we become, the

branches and leaves. Without them –

we die. Immigrant communities that

keep that connection for four and

five generations are so much more

successful than those who don’t. I

think that is the best way that I can

explain it – it just matters.

POTENT: For American youth of

Caribbean descent, what resources

are available for them to learn more

about their culture and history

(websites, music, etc.)

SocaMom: There are a lot of great

websites out there, but unfortunately

a lot of them have been abandoned

and aren’t updated frequently

because of the lack of support. Most

are not based in the states, but with

some digging, there are plenty of

resources on YouTube. One that

I really enjoy, but isn’t specifically

geared to youth is from a Trinidadian

based in Canada, CaribbeanPot.com.

I always believed that one of the best

places to start introducing kids to the

culture is through food. The way to

one’s heart is often through the belly.

Some of the best old soca and Calypso

is on YouTube as well. The older

music is reasonably safe for them to

listen to because they won’t get the

double entendre in the lyrics, but the

newer music can be quite explicit – so

be careful when introducing your

children to some new and popular

artists. One song may be harmless,

but the others on the album can take

a disturbing turn.

POTENT: What Caribbean traditions

do you and your family participate


SocaMom: Most of them are focused

on food and family – we love to eat

and lime. I would like to make going

to Trinidad annually a tradition, but

with five of us it is very expensive.

After the last visit, they were ready

to move! My family (cousins, in-laws

and immediate family) helps me with

the Anancy festival every year, so

that has become an annual tradition.

We take them to festivals and events

like Caribana when we can, but as

far as annual traditions go We hang

with family on Boxing Day every

year. See… more food.

POTENT: You wrote the children’s

book, “Anancy’s Family Reunion,”

last year. Explain the importance of

this book and the feedback. Is there

another “Anancy” book in the works


(as part of the series)

SocaMom: It was supposed to be

a play actually, but when I wrote

the story and read it to my mom

and family, they loved it so much

it became a book. Feedback has

been great, but honestly, my favorite

feedback came from my grandmother

when I took a copy to her in St.

Vincent. She is the funniest lady I

know, and I made her laugh. That

was the biggest moment for me. The

next is “Winston Won’t Go” – also an

Anancy story, but a picture book. I

introduced it this year at the Anancy

Festival, and it will be available in

paper back at the first of the year.

POTENT: You’ve interviewed several

Caribbean artists – Fay Ann

Lyons, Iwer George, etc. What

were some memorable moments

from the interviews

SocaMom: Each one was amazing in

its own right. One of my favorites

was the late Bunny Rugs. He was so

encouraging. My son was 12 at the

time, and he was the camera man.

He [Bunny Rugs] could tell he was

nervous, and was so patient with

him. It was great. Another one that

I love is with Skinny Fabulous. He

was incredibly funny, and opened up

about his childhood dream of being a

pilot. That is what I love most about

interviewing people – you find out

that they are really people. When

I hit that perfect question, it is like

hitting the lottery for me. Whenever


I hit that question, those are my

favorite moments, and the ones that

seem to resonate with my audience.

POTENT: Naming your site

“SocaMom” it’s clear you have an

appreciation for soca music and music

of Trinidad, where your parents

are from. Do you have a favorite

soca song or artist

SocaMom: My mom is from Belmont

in Trinidad, and my dad is from

Tobago. My mom is a big soca fan,

and my dad enjoys Calypso. I like

artists that are mashups of the two.

While I love a good jump and wine

– if an artist can merge that with a

message I am in. Right now I really

can’t pick a favorite, but Bunji Garlin

is pretty high on the list. His BBC

freestyle was amazing. You have to

check that out. He’s the real thing.

POTENT: As a blogger, explain

some of the hardships you’ve had to

endure, and how have you been able

to balance running a website with

family life

SocaMom: I wouldn’t say it has

been a hardship because blogging

is a choice for me. It isn’t my bread

and butter, so I still enjoy doing it

without too much stress. When

I take on paid opportunities, it is

a job, so there are deadlines and

things like that, but I try to keep

it as light as possible. Do the

work, get it done on time, and

respectfully decline the things

that aren’t a good fit for me. My

husband is extremely supportive,

so I don’t have too much balancing

to do as far as family life, but now

that I am in law school, I have even

less time to blog – but I make it

work. It is a stress reliever for me.

When I have a lot on my plate, I

stop and design a coloring page for

parents to share with their kids,

or make a quick video. It is my

creative outlet.

POTENT: Caribbean women have

made significant contributions

to American history, culture and

communities across the world. But

there is still progress to be made.

What can we do to continue to make

a positive impact

SocaMom: I believe that one way

is to make progress is to continue

to push ourselves. You can’t wait

for someone else to tell you that

you are doing a good job, and you

can’t stop when people say you

have done enough. Figure out what

you can do, and do that better than

anyone else has done it, is doing it

or ever will do it… ever.

POTENT: What was a sage piece

of advice you received from your

mom growing up that informed you

about what it means to be a parent

and mother

SocaMom: None of my mom’s advice

was specific to parenting. I learned

what to do by just watching what she

did. She worked and she expected

me to work. She made sure I traveled,

and I learned as much as possible

outside of school. She supported me

in all of my dreams – every single

one. She thought outside of the

box and let me know that there

nothing wrong with being first to

try something. One of the most

important things that I learned from

watching my mom that I pass on to

my kids is that not every has to get

it. Do what you do, do it well and the

world will just have to catch up. And

if they don’t That is still okay.

POTENT: What do you love about

being a Caribbean-American woman

SocaMom: I love the connection

that I have with Caribbean and

American people alike. I can talk

to people about why you can’t eat

everyone’s curry and why you can’t

eat everyone’s collard greens. People

talk about how diversity unites

people, but I see it firsthand.

POTENT: Any future projects for

Socamom in 2015

SocaMom: So many! I can’t even

go through them all. 2014 was

an amazing year for Socamom.

My goal is to top it. This year

we were able to work (all with

our trademark Caribbean flair)

with great American companies

like Disney, Walmart, AT&T

and LeapFrog, and worked with

Caribbean companies like Beaches

Resorts. Right now we are set to

do some really amazing things in

2015 – some of them have been in

the works since we started! It will

definitely be the best year yet.





From the


Voices of

NSBy Nneka Samuel


This collection of quotes by Caribbean

women from all walks of life, reminds

us to be our passionate, authentic,

POTENT selves.

The biggest battle that I have

is being a woman in the world.

That takes center stage for me.”





“I don’t have to be perfect. All

I have to do is show up and

enjoy the messy, imperfect and

beautiful journey of my life.”




“To live is to cross barriers.”



AUTHOR Guadeloupean author

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence,

it is self-preservation, and that is an act of

political warfare.”

“To acknowledge privilege is the first step

in making it available for wider use. Each

of us is blessed in some particular way,

whether we recognize our blessings or

not. and each one of us, somewhere in

our lives, must clear a space within that

blessing where she can call upon whatever

resources are available to her in the name

of something that must be done.”

— Excerpts from the essay:

A Burst of Light.

“And when people tell you that you

are crazy, or it will never happen, or

that you’re not black enough or white

ain’t right or you’re too fat or too thin

and too young or too old or too smart

of just not dumb enough Well,

who said they know everything or

anything at all They are people just

like you and me.”

Sheryl Lee Ralph




There’s always a place where, if you

listen closely in the night, you will

hear a mother telling a story and at

the end of the tale, she will ask you

this question: ‘Ou libere’ Are you

free, my daughter”

– Excerpt from Breath, Eyes, Memory

Audre Lorde



Edwidge Danticat


“I believe nothing to be impossible; nor do

I absorb myself in any particular moment

or new discovery. For that reason, I find

no idea to be utopian. The essential thing

is to put each idea into practice. To Begin!”




“It’s easier to be simple and

natural than to be stretched

out and phony.”





“To heal…it’s all about having

no fear, no boundaries, and

no limit. It’s about forgiveness

and finally loving yourself. It’s

all about owning your power

as a woman and a queen.”

“Everyday I get better at knowing

that it is not a choice to be an

activist; rather, it is the only way

to hold on to the better parts of my

human self. It is the only way I can

live and laugh without guilt.”






“Life has a truth to it, and it’s

complicated - it’s love and it’s

hatred. Love and hatred don’t

take turns; they exist side by

side at the same time. And

one’s duty, one’s obligation day

by day, is to choose to follow

the nobler one.”




“When you realize who

you live for, and who’s

important to please, a lot

of people will actually

start living. I am never

going to get caught up in

that. I’m gonna look back

on my life and say that I

enjoyed it - and I lived it

for me.”




agazine | NINETY-THREE


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