A true story about Sabrina Cupid (known as Carnival Sabrina).
When masqueraders swarmed the islands of Trinidad and Tobago at the start of 2020 no one knew then that Caribbean Carnival would from that moment be in definitely changed. Sabrina Cupid, known best by her stage name Carnival Sabrina, was is among the revellers on the island that year. As COVID-19 spread around the globe she watched her social media timelines show a ripple effect of cancelled Caribbean carnivals as far east as Japan. She herself was looking forward to her first carnival in Barbados. It too was cancelled and it has been for two years now.
With so many carnivals still unsure of their future there have been glimmers of hope. The test case for the entire Caribbean was Miami Carnival 2021. The year before it too had been canceled. But when news surfaced that Miami indeed decided on hosting a carnival masqueraders came from around the nation and the globe. Carnival Sabrina was of course one of them. Jumping with Ramajay International Mas Carnival Sabrina squeezed her way through a bottleneck park route in Florida. Just before nightfall she was crossing the stage with her section. A moment of exhilaration after an exhausting and emotional year and a half of Carnival suspension.
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Born in Oakland, California, and is now residing in Los Angeles at Carnival in Miami, Carnival Sabrina found herself among like-minded masqueraders but from all parts of the globe. At Mas Camp for costume pick-up she ran into a group of New Yorkers eager to take selfies after more than a year of watching Carnival Sabrina go live in anticipation of this moment. An actual Carnival on the Internet on the international stage. But fete after fete she met masqueraders from across the Caribbean diaspora. Some from Bermuda, others from the Bahamas, designers from London and a photographer in Trinidad and Tobago, WI.
While there is no shortage of social media post taking fans to task on the need to improve customer service the general consensus was that everyone was thrilled that Carnival may indeed be back again. One indication was the sheer amount of masqueraders that descended in Florida for a Miami Carnival. To be fair many fetes were overwhelmed and it was one fete that came to a quick end. Glasshouse having been over sold ended in a mob of feterans rushing the entrance. Carnival Sabrina hadn’t attend it but watched as her friends shared their live posts. She said “ Soca Brainwash was a dream.” It was a good thing because the theme of this year Soca Brainwash Miami was a pajama jam. “The fete to top all fetes was SSS Blue. This was the perfect ending to an amazing and highly anticipated Carnival Weekend” Carnival Sabrina stated.
In many ways the success or failure of Miami carnival was a test for Carnival committees across the Caribbean diaspora. “If Miami failed then there was a good chance the carnivals across the globe in Atlanta, New York, Jamaica and Hollywood wouldn’t happen in 2022.” Said Carnival Sabrina.
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But weeks after Miami carnival despite its challenges it was in fact a success. “One concern was whether after such a mass event of people gathered in one place it would be a Covid outbreak. They call them super spreaders. From what we can tell that didn’t happen. Testing was required prior to attending.” Says Carnival Sabrina. Things went so well at Miami Carnival, Carnival Sabrina post a 2022 Carnival Calendar that nearly went viral across Caribbean carnival social media pages. Some thought Carnival Sabrina was being too optimistic and openly criticized the social media influencer. “It was hard dealing with all of the outrage and fall out after I posted the calendar but having good friends on the inside as well as contacts with carnival committees I think people are saying now that my calendar is at least 90% accurate. But it was never about me it’s that we’re all just so excited to get back to some sense of normal bachanal.” Says Carnival Sabrina.
You can follow Carnival Sabrina at IG @carnivalsabrina