Every Labor Day Monday, Caribbean swagger and New York style come together at the West Indian American Day Carnival (aka the “West Indian Day Parade” or “Brooklyn Carnival”) on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. We decided to bring our street style feature Pop Style out onto the Parkway this year, and the cast assembled did not disappoint, reflecting the mixture of national pride and personal style we’ve come to expect from this most visually stimulating of days. We’ll be sharing shots and stories from some of our favorite people we met popping style pon di parkway all day here.
Kalique and Jaden
Representing: St. Vincent
Spotted: Rutland Road, Brooklyn
Why did you choose to be a stilt walker today?
Kalique: Ever since I was small, I wanted to do it. But, at the same time, it’s fun to me yuh know, and it keeps the culture alive.
Tell me about the first time you saw someone stilt walking.
Kalique: Well, that was my cousin, right here. I mean I saw him—to be honest—I said one day, imma do it, and one day, I got it; and I’m doing it right now.
How long did it take you to master?
Kalique: I practiced one day, and I got it down pat.
Jaden: About a week.
How long have you been doing this?
Jaden: Since I was 12.
Who taught you how to stilt-walk?
Jaden: I was in a group called Brooklyn Jumbies, with a guy named Ally Sylvester.
What are some of the essentials that you need on the parkway?
Kalique: Well, you need straps, 2x4s, wood. These are called “shaggies”—they’re made out of sand bags, and they just take it out. I build them myself. You need an old shoe, you gotta drill it down, and stick it with glue. You see that part that’s sticking out right there? Yeah, that’s my shoe.
Tell me about your outfit.
Kalique: I have outfits way better, but I just come out simple today. The other ones cover me—you won’t even see me. That’s why its called “Muko Jumbies.” You’re covered up, you’re not supposed to be seen. Because, it’s known for sending spirits back up in the mountains. That’s the story. My cousin was telling me that how [the] spirits normally come down, we’re supposed to dress up and cover up, so they won’t see us and just push them back, up in the mountains.
Can you wine in this?
Kalique: I can’t wine, but he could wine.
Now if a girl wanna wine on you, how are you—
Kalique: I’m gonna come down [laughter].