Haitian Mas Band to Debut at West Indian Parade

Artist Patricia Barthe at Banboche Mas’ fundraiser in Crown Heights on Aug. 10. (Photo by Photo by Stefano Giovannini via Caribbean Life)

At the West Indian American Day Carnival in Crown Heights on Sept. 3, the sole Haitian masquerade group this year will make its debut. Caribbean Life‘s Alexandra Simon speaks to Andrew Vieux, co-founder of the Banboche Mas Camp, based in Crown Heights.

Vieux and three of his friends officially created the camp last year after realizing at several previous parades, a customary and Haitian carnival tradition did not always translate well and caused some aggressive interactions because of shoving and pushing. He also noticed that Haiti was underrepresented with mas camps and figured with more of a mas camp presence, a bigger avenue to showcase Haitian culture could reduce tense encounters.

“Even though it’s not done in a malicious way, it can get wild and some people don’t understand it and might get into fights or fatal accidents,” said Vieux. “I felt that if we had more Haitian representation, and something that represents Haiti in that element — there’d be less people only behind the tee shirt bands, and more people into the costumes, so we came up with it to change the rhetoric.”

Go to Caribbean Life to find out how the group will present Haitian history and culture in their debut on Labor Day.

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