STORIES

Cooler Party

Them: "Do you speak english?"

Me: Yes

Them: "Are you from America?" 

Me: Yes

Them: "North America?"

Me: ...Yup

Them: "What's 4+4?"

Me: ...

No, that wasn't a conversation between me and a slightly ignorant, potentially well meaning white person. I was shooting at a Boys and Girls club and an inquisitive child, certain that I was Jamaican or something other than a "normal" black person hit me with this barrage of questions. It's something I've come to expect over the years, even before I started mounting a massive bun of locs on top of my head. I've always been asked if I was from somewhere else, to which I usually reply: "nope, Baltimore." It often seems like such a downer for those who so badly want me to be "exotic" and I wish I could apologize for the inconvenience, but that's just silly. Nevertheless, I have personally shared my own level of intrigue and appreciation for Caribbean culture. I joke with my friends that I probably haven't made it to the Caribbean yet, because I'm certain I won't come back. It's such a natural connection, for one because we all come from Africa, whether you're Baltimorean or Bajan. The food is awesome, the accents, the music, the weather, the overall vibe of the Caribbean. The Pride.

Atlanta Carnival has been growing every year in the city as it becomes publicized even more and I definitely notice more outreach due to the advent of social media and international transplants. One of the fresher additions to this growing landscape is the Igloo Atlanta Cooler Party. To sum it up briefly; a cooler party is a Caribbean tradition that requires a cooler or Igloo for libations, music, a location and the spirit of fellowship. Everything else comes together on it's own after that. This particular festival happens in Lithonia Park, about 2o minutes east of Atlanta, twice a year. The festival turned 3 this year and I've been lucky enough to go twice.

 Most interesting to me are the layers of energy at this party. There is a very obvious acclimation period as people flock in, pick a nice spot to post up and get some drinks and food in them. Then people start moving around more as it gets cooler because for some reason, black folks are always too hot. You start working the kinks out of your rusty hips by dusk and then by moonrise you better be fully stretched because once the sun goes down...well perhaps you should just come to the next one. Some things are better left experienced.