RIT Caribbean Student Association hosts comedian Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis

Entertainer is part of a weeklong showcase of Caribbean culture, music and food

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Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis, an internationally known comedian, will bring his unique blend of comedy and island patois to RIT as part of the annual Caribbean Student Association Carnival Week. Ellis, accompanied by his band, performs at 8:30 p.m. on April 22 in Webb Auditorium. Admission is $3.

The RIT Caribbean Student Association opened its Carnival with traditional steel pan drummers, Urban Steel. The performance was a prelude to a week of music, dance, foods and history focused on the native cultures of the Caribbean islands.

“This will be the second year we’re doing this event and will bring even more excitement to the week of programming,” says Dominique Simmonds, Caribbean Student Association president. As part of many of the performance throughout the week, the audience will have a chance to participate and students in the club will give a history of the musical genres most associated with the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Our nations may be small in size but they are large in pride and rich in culture,” says Tanya Gizzarelli, Caribbean Student Association vice president. “The events and programs that have been planned for this week will prove that there is more to these nations than palm trees, crystal clear water and a warm island breeze.”

The student club will also be collecting donations for Relay for Life, a fund for the American Cancer Society.

The following events are during Carnival:

  • Club members will discuss the similarities and differences of culture, foods and traditions of the variety of Caribbean nations during The Taste of the Caribbean at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Clarks B and C in the Student Alumni Union.

  • Local Latin Band and musical favorite, Ritmo Seis will return to the Carnival performing at 9:00 p.m. on April 23 in the RITz, located in Student Alumni Union. Ritmo Seis will play traditional Latin songs and selections from recent years. Admission is $5.

  • The highlight of the week is the Carnival Parade. A grand parade, spanning the length of the RIT Quarter Mile, begins at the Sun Dial on the residential side of campus at noon on Saturday, April 25. Participants representing their organization and country will wind their way through campus, across the Quarter Mile to the Infinity Quad and ending at the RITz in the Student Alumni Union.

“Our Carnival will mimic the traditional Trinidad and Tobago carnival held annually in the month of February,” says Gizzarelli. There will be a trophy awarded to the Best Represented Organization participating in the parade.

Carnival closes with the Caribbean Competition and Last Lap Party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on April 25 in the RITz. Local disc jockeys participate in a ‘DJ sound off.’ Participant DJs have to display their diversity through musical selections in a competition for one of two $500 gift cards.

“Carnival is an event where people can express themselves musically and embrace the Caribbean culture. Normally, each group, representing the different island nations, generates a creative costume and color theme to perform and represent their country,” says Simmonds. “Our rendition of Carnival will incorporate RIT groups, organizations and clubs to show as much school spirit as possible.”

The full schedule of programs can be found at http://people.rit.edu/csawww/index.html