Wild Card -Research on Display
I am accustomed to being the only Adventist Grenadian in most of my spaces. Telling someone I’m from Grenada is often met with “where is that?”, “ I’ve never heard of it” and “is that the one in Europe?”. To make things short I tell them Grenada is just north of Venezuela and Trinida and Tobago. That place they’re thinking of in Southern Spain is Granada (gren-AH-da). My family is from Grenada (gren-AY-da).
When I came to the University of Georgia my sister and a friend told me about the Caribbean Student Association (CaribSA). Scrolling through CaribSA’s group chat reveals a strong Haitian and Jamaican presence. When a flyer was dropped for the Mr. and Ms. International Pageant (MMIP) I figured what better way to tell people about my country?
Sunday November 4, 2018
The night of MMIP. The pageant opened with a fanfare dance. All eight of us lined in the dark on the stage. The music started and read of us stepped back to display our flags behind. We brought it around our shoulders and presented our flags across our chests. We spun round with those flags and tried my very best to follow the choreography I was taught. When the dance was over we rushed downstairs to change into our cultural wear.
After asking my mother and fishing the internet I found that Grenada doesn’t have a distinct modern cultural wear. Colonial days offer a mixture African influenced clothing with French names. The outfit includes a head rap, a white blouse and a long skirt called a jupe. When women dress in cultural wear today, they usually put on long skirts and white tops with Grenada’s colors. My outfit consisted of a red shirt with a multicolored colored maxi skirt sewn by my mother.
I walked out on stage to showcase my clothes and prepared to give my platform. My Entrance music was “Grenada May God Bless You” by Casimir Pitt. Every once in a while, I’ll catch my mother listening to calypso music on a Sunday morning. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was about my mothers age when this song was released. When the song finished I gave my platform speech based on performing arts in the Grenada.
“Good evening, my name is Liora Hypolite a second year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major representing the Spice Isle of Grenada. Despite all of the STEM classes I’ve taken my most difficult classes have always required public speaking. In order push myself out of my comfort zone I participated in performing arts. My high school’s theater company pushed me to be more confident. When I traveled to Grenada this summer, I noticed there were not many theater program designed for young children. I believe it is important for children to eloquently present themselves in front of an audience they represent their culture. I would like to share my love of theater and public speaking with young people. (If crowned) Ms. International I would create a workshop, the with help of the Caribbean Student Association, for Athens Clarke elementary school students focused on building their public speaking skills because every student should have an opportunity to grow in confidence and stage presence. Again I am Liora Hypolite your Spice girl from Grenada.”
After the platform speech the rest of the night seemed to finish in minutes. For the talent portion I present a monologue I wrote. It was focused on how often people are willing to put themselves in the role of a secondary character when they don’t already know their story. I traded my mellow voice for a more commanding one that even seemed to surprise some of my friends. One of my CaribSA friends escorted me for evening wear. The last event was questioning. Had I given a fuller answer maybe the outcome would have been different. I didn’t win that night.
However, days after I couldn’t stop thinking about the song I had walked out to in cultural wear. Casimir Pitt released that song in 1974, the year of Grenada’s independence. He sings of the pride he feels from being apart of this nation. To him Grenada is the “land of spice where everything’s nice”. I was very proud to represent the land few have heard of.
When my family is asked where we’re from, it think we can relate to Pitt when he says:
______ “We are Grenadians, Who are You?”______