The Caribbean Diaspora stretches far across the globe – from the Atlantic edges of Ghana to the small, Midwestern towns of Michigan. People often forget the breadth and reach of our culture. It was with this mindset that DJ Stephen and Lisa Small came together along with her Hibiscus Entertainment company and organized the first ever Carolina’s Caribbean Culture (CCC) Festival in Columbia, South Carolina last year.
DJ Stephen – the official tour DJ for Machel Montano – and Small, who had no prior background in entertainment, thought it essential to coordinate a large event in the Carolina area to expose our exciting, colorful, beautiful culture. Small stated, “I just knew there was a need for Caribbean influence in the Carolinas, and I got with Stephen, and we just tried to make it happen.”
Now, in its second year the pair is looking forward to a larger audience and platform to showcase Caribbean culture. As DJ Stephen explained, “Based on last year, going into this year, I think there’s a lot more buzz. A lot of people, who don’t know much about Caribbean culture, are intrigued.” Though people are interested in experiencing the Caribbean culture, organizing such a massive event has not been without difficulties. Stephen continued, “One of the biggest challenges has been sort of selling the vibes to the locals. And of course, trying to get people to come into the city being that there’s not a major airport. But, the bigger challenge is just trying to sell what we’re trying to do to people who have no clue about it or about the culture. That’s one of the bigger challenges that we’ve faced.”
In spite of these potential hindrances, Small and DJ Stephen have pressed forward and experienced greater success. Both encourage masqueraders, locals, and visitors to “expect excitement and just a fresh energy. Something different, something fresh, and vibrant. Be open-minded.”