Caribbean J'ouvert celebration returning to Crown Heights following pandemic hiatus
The annual Caribbean J'ouvert celebration is coming back to Crown Heights after a two-year hiatus.
While the event has been plagued with violent incidents in the past, organizers are aiming to reclaim the narrative.
The festivities start before sunrise every year on Memorial Day and kick off the West Indian Day Parade.
J'ouvert, which comes from French "jour ouvert," or "breaking dawn," has a rich historical meaning.
It was established in Trinidad during the time of slavery. Slaves were not allowed to be part of the French's masquarade balls.
Incidents of gun violence in past years, however, have cast a negative light on the festivities.
This year organizers are determined to restore its reputation.
"It's love for culture, love for nature, love for music, love for togetherness, this is what J'ouvert is about and carnival is about. It's about bringing us together to celebrate who we are," explained Betty Blue Jazz, singer and drum circle facilitator.
Organizers are working closely with the NYPD and city officials to ensure the event runs smoothly.
"Brooklyn, we are bringing you back to life, and this is our culture that we are lending to you, so please accept it gracefully and respect us," said Yvette Rennie, of J'ouvert City International, Inc.
The parade is on Sept. 5, beginning at 6 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza.