On Feb. 18, Wellesley for Caribbean Development (WiCkeD) hosted its annual cultural exposition. The event was a vibrant occasion featuring dances, music performances, fashion shows and a talk given by Lecturer in Africana Studies Liseli Fitzpatrick. The theme for this year’s event was “Melting Pot,” highlighting the multitude of cultures that make up the Caribbean.
For Amadi Mitchell ’24, president of WiCkeD, emphasizing the rich variety of cultures was especially important. This was the inspiration for this year’s theme.
“Every island has its own culture. Every island has its own traditions … But every island is also influenced by one another,” Mitchell said.
In Fitzpatrick’s talk, she focused on the amalgamation that is Caribbean culture and the ways in which intercultural diversity and its celebration is crucial to Caribbean community. While there is a diverse range of languages, religions and traditions, it is still one united community. This is even exemplified through the national motto of Jamaica, “Out of many one people.”
One of the ways this “Melting Pot” aspect was incorporated at “Expo” was through the series of dances. As explained by Jivonsha Ffrench ’24, vice president of WiCkeD, the dances were not only from Fever Dancers, a dance group currently part of WiCkeD, but also from other cultures and organizations on campus. There were dance performances from Yanvalou, Cielito Lindo and BabsonSOCA. A highlight for Ffrench was also the last dance featuring WiCkeD’s e-board members.
“It [was] nice to show … that while we’re all from different places in the Caribbean, we can come together … work cohesively and put on a culture show that represents everyone,” she said.
In addition to the dances, there were singing performances, poetry performances, and people reading short stories that originate from the Caribbean myths and folklore.
Starting off the event, a pop-up shop was held to support small businesses. Vendors sold items such as waist beads, candles, and wire jewelry. The wide assortment of small businesses was intentional on WiCkeD’s part.
“We … really worked on creativity to diversify the aspect of ‘Expo’ by including vendors which we had not done previously and [also] presentations on Wellesley courses,” Sylvette Dupe-Vete-Congolo ’25, co-social chair of WiCkeD, said in an email correspondence.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the Authentic Caribbean Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Boston that is dedicated to providing education, training, health and support services to people within the Caribbean and the Diaspora. The group is especially focused on transforming the lives of Caribbean children and adults who are impacted by disabilities and HIV/AIDS.
Spotlighting the vivid nature of Caribbean culture through “Expo” furthered WiCkeD’s goals of improving the campus’s knowledge of Caribbean culture. Dupe-Vete-Congolo emphasized the importance of this event for the members of WiCkeD.
“‘Expo’ made us reflect on what WiCkeD and the Caribbean meant to us, as well as how both influenced our upbringings (the storytelling) and our history (intersectionality of different cultures).”
Corrected on March 9, 2023. A previous version of this story misspelled Amadi Mitchell‘s name. The News regrets this error.