Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just because we love it

Looking through some of the previous posts here on Islandista, you may have picked up that one of our favourite current trends is origami folds in clothing.

So with that said, there is no further point to this post than to show you the fabulous black and white dress worn by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson at the Producer's Guild Awards.

Even though Taraji isn't an islandista, we heart her and this dress.


Gorgeous. Love the little splash of red she introduces with the clutch bag too. Black, white and red is one of the hottest colour combinations.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Political relationship commess in GT and TCI

Ok, so for some reason, baaaaare dirt has been spilt in the last two weeks on some high-profile political relationships- the former or soon to be former 'First Ladies' of Guyana and Turks and Caicos have been talking out a lot in the last two weeks about their estranged husbands and their relationships.

The most fascinating commess has been with Varshnie Singh, estranged wife of Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo who went public in a press conference last week accusing her husband of "high-tech domestic violence".

The two announced their seperation in 2007 and have been working out a settlement since then, which seems to be part of the problem. In the meantime, Varshnie was still in an apartment in the Presidential complex... until Bharrat allegedly put her out with only the clothes on her back. Cha.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Islamic party protests Rihanna concert

A conservative Islamic party in Malaysia called Parti Islam SeMalaysia,  has been protesting Rihanna's upcoming concert in their capital Kuala Lumpur.

From the Barbados Nation:
The youth wing of the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) called for a cancellation of the concert on Wednesday, saying Rihanna's performances were unsuitable because of her daring outfits and raunchy dances.

Ok, fair enough - after all, the same party has also protested concerts by The Pussycat Dolls, Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne in the past on similar grounds.

However, this is the part that kills me - and you would think people who are in politics and opening their mouth in public would be better informed before they spout foolishness:
The protesters also said inviting the United States-based Rihanna, who turns 21 on February 20, would be akin to supporting US ally Israel, which does not have diplomatic relations with Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion.

I also read in the Malaysia Star that they have said this would be insulting to Palestinians.


This seems like a pretty damn tenuous link. I could maybe... maybe! even understand if she was an American, since the U.S. supports Israel and you go from there. Still a tenuous link since an artiste is not a politician - it's Rihanna, not Condoleeza Rice... or even Susan Rice.

But what irks me as an islandista is I suspect that these people do not even know that Rihanna is not an American citizen. She has to go to the US Embassy in Barbados and renew her visa just like everyone else... which she did up to last year when she was here for her Grammy celebration concert.

She is NOT AN AMERICAN. She is a Barbadian and Barbados does not have an embassy or even an honorary consul in Israel because ummmm ... it can't afford it? Countries that are 21 by 14 miles don't have the time or money to concern themselves with the Middle East peace process the way Parti Islam SeMalaysia clearly does.

Utterly ridiculous. It is comforting to see that other Malaysians agree, with one commentator writing in to the Malaysia Star to say:
I am a proud Muslim and I’m not a fan of Rihanna nor will I attend her concert, but I found it offensive and embarrasing to read the article.

Time and time again PAS will come out with some laughable comments. They made the same noise when previous foreign artistes came and also when Chelsea were about to tour Malaysia, just to name a few.

Who are they to impose their interpertation of Islam upon others? We, the Muslims in Malaysia, young and old, are wise and mature enough to decide for ourselves what is good, bad or “un-Islamic”.

And as has been so accurately described by your writer Raslan Sharif in his article on Jan 23, the reasons given by PAS are just ridiculous.

Exactly. If you are going to protest, at least get your reasons together. How exactly does the presence of a Barbadian performer show support to Israel? Because she lives in the U.S. for a few months out of the year? Give me a break.

Anyhow, Rihanna has promised to be a good girl gone back good for the concert. From the Nation again:

Barbadian R&B sensation Rihanna will shun skimpy outfits when she performs in Malaysia next month, the concert's organisers said yesterday, becoming the latest international star affected by the Muslim-majority country's strict rules on performers' dress.

Recent concerts by Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne faced protests by conservative Muslim Malaysians over immodest clothes.

Under government guidelines, a female performer must be covered from the top of her chest, including her shoulders, to her knees. Rihanna, 20, favours black leather bustiers, shorts and boots.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thanks to poster bandi who not only commented on the post about Fay-Ann performing while pregnant but gave us a link to Synergy TV where there is a video posted of Fay-Ann herself performing and commenting on the reaction to her pregnancy. Fay-Ann's message to the tut-tut-tutters?


"Somebody say I am not supposed to be performing because I am pregnant! I want allyuh to tell them for me - I am pregnant - not sick! There is a difference!"

As if to underline that, here is a clip of her performing at the Fire Fete just two weeks ago and mashing up de place, even though as she told the crowd, she can't jump up as much because of the belly.

And moving on from soca's First Couple to the First Couple of the United States, we just had to show you some more of the sweet and moving pictures from the Obama's big inaugural night. Have we mentioned before that we just love this family? Love them? Love the genuine, natural affection that just emanates from them? It just makes us all want to work harder at our relationships  and ourselves, I think - you can't get a Barack if you're not a Michelle and vice-versa, you damn sure can't get a Michelle if you're not a Barack! :)

[caption id="attachment_552" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Photo credit: Pete Souza/ White House"]Pete Souza/ White House[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_553" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Photo credit: Pete Souza/White House"]Pete Souza/White House[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_554" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Photo credit: Pete Souza/White House"]Pete Souza/White House[/caption]

Cuhdear... dey too sweet!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Carnival baby - performing while preggers

As we all know by now, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, Trinidad's Road March queen, wife of Soca Monarch Bunji Garlin and half of soca's First Couple is nuff months pregnant.

The news was announced back in November, when Fay-Ann started wearing ... well wearing clothes! Since  Fay-Ann's ridiculously flat belly has always been her best and most flaunted feature, when she started sporting a lot of cloth, eye-brows were raised.

When I mentioned it to my other half and also mentioned that she would keep on performing during Carnival (the baby is due in April so she will be 7 months along at the height of Carnival), he grunted in disapproval.

"Huh! That could never be you!" he said.

His response reminded me of the reaction five years back when Soca queen Alison Hinds was also pregnant and kept on performing, right through to her ninth month. Many (like myself!) were admiring, but a lot of people also had a lot to say. Alison spoke to it in a SHE Caribbean interview some months after giving birth to her daughter Saharan.
"The fact that I did that was amazing to people. If I wasn't feeling good, I wouldn't have done it. I had to remain active. I couldn't stay in the house and draw up."

Which to me at least sums it up. If a pregnant woman is feeling good, why wrap her up in cotton balls? A little wukking up on stage (in reasonable shoes of course - some sexy gladiator sandals or cute sneakers or shoes with a wide platform heel) isn't going to make the baby drop out - it's held in place by a womb and that is a damn strong muscle! Getting them out is the real hard thing.

What do you think islandistas? Should our soca queens keep performing even while they are becoming soca mummies? Are they setting an example of female empowerment and strength or are they taking it too far?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

[caption id="attachment_545" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo credit: Associated Press"]Associated Press[/caption]

Washington D.C. is only just coming down from a crazy, once in a lifetime weekend of parties and celebrations to  herald the inauguration of the first black president of the United States.

One of my favourite sights of the night (and I say one of because it happened ten times and YES I watched all ten goopy-eyed and sentimental) was seeing President Obama and his First Lady Michelle dancing. Absolutely beautiful. It was like there was a force field of love and 'I got your back' sentiment around them. We could all see it and not a soul wanted to break it - we were just honoured to watch. Celebs and ordinary folk at the balls were crying their eyes out at the sight - check Kerry Washington in our video below.

It's ok, you can still cry even thought it was yesterday.

Of course, islandistas were in attendance at several of the events. Alicia Keys was one of the performers at the first ball of the night, the Neighbourhood Ball and belted out Stevie Wonder's 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' along with the man himself and other stars.

[caption id="attachment_540" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Photo credit: Reuters via the Daily Mail"]Reuters via the Daily Mail[/caption]

Read more to see pics of all the fab islandistas and islandistos who celebrated this fabulous night in fabulous style.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First Lady picks Jason Wu, Isabel Toledo

Absolutely exhausted (in a great, elated cried with joy a lot way)  islandistas so this will be a short post.

First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama continued to buck the trend by going for little known designer Jason Wu for her inaugural gown and we say to her - well done!

Her inaugural gown is a fluffy cream coloured confection with a cold shoulder bodice which shows off her great arms and shoulders. It has a long train which caused a few problems for the President at the Home States Ball - she had to keep lifting it away from his feet but that may be because the President, bless him, dances like he's feeling his white roots.

For the inauguration ceremony itself she went with a sparkly gold sheath dress and coat by Isabel Toledo and showed her penchant for mixing high fashion with the high street as the Brits would say by rocking it with green J.Crew gloves. She finished it off with green Jimmy Choos.

[caption id="attachment_536" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo credit: Associated Press"]Associated Press[/caption]

Mrs. Obama has been making some under the radar designers very happy with her fashion choices ever since the campaign. Some hardly seem to believe their luck.

When asked in December if he thought he would design Mrs. Obama's inaugural ball, Wu reportedly said:

"Oh, that's a long shot!"

Toledo was equally awe-struck when she was interviewed on Inauguration Day, saying:

"There is nothing that comes close to this moment."


[caption id="attachment_537" align="aligncenter" width="255" caption="Photo credit: Associated Press"]Associated Press[/caption]

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chrisette Michele @ Jazz on the Hill in Barbados

The Barbados Jazz Festival wrapped up tonight with the second day of Jazz on the Hill and Chrisette Michele closed it with a bang.

In islandista's view, she was the ideal happy medium between 'pure jazz' and 'contemporary enough to get a crowd' that 'calling themselves jazz to sound high brow but really are just music' festivals in the Caribbean often struggle with. No-one could argue that Chrisette's voice and style isn't jazz but she comes with a hip-hop edge that makes her sound current and hot.

Not to mention that she... can... SING! She knocked it out of the (Farley Hill National) park! Even though there were only two songs in her set (Best of Me and Be Ok) that the crowd could sing along with, not a damn soul minded as she unleashed her powerful voice, impressive vocal runs and scatting on Farley Hill. She was fantastic.

In fact, the whole day was great. Unlike yesterday, the rain only threatened but never came down and it was mostly sunny and breezy even if it was still very muddy underfoot from yesterday's rain. It was a great lime all day, wine and good music flowing and Chrisette's set was the icing on the cake. She's one artiste who actually sounds better live than she does on recording - quite some feat in these dark days of Autotune artistes.

Check out some pics below from her set.





Friday, January 16, 2009

US Vogue hearts Jourdan?

Jourdan Dunn is continuing her domination of the fashion pages with yet another appearance in the February edition of US Vogue. Yes, that would make back-to-back appearances in the fashion bible - is this really a sign of change we can believe in? Say it's so, Anna!

She is in the Steven Meisel feature 'It's a Madcap World' showcasing witty and modern interpretations on the fashion of the 1930s. 

[caption id="attachment_516" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo source:"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_517" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo source:"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_522" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo source:"][/caption]

And speaking of supermodel islandistas, Naomi Campbell has settled with the most recent maid who accused her of assault back in 2006.

Her lawyer said:

"Everybody's happy with the way it ended and everybody's happy that it's over."

Oh Naomi ... we still love you. Our advice to you - you clearly need help that can stand up to you so get a maid from your parents' native island of Jamaica. Preferably one born and raised in one of Kingston's meanest garrisons. Bet you won't try hitting her then.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Carnival Costume Review I - Island People

Ok, ok you might say the point is moot since all but one section (Sonia Mack's Paradisius) is sold out but I beg to differ. If you know the right strings to pull or the right sites to check, you can still get your costumes this close to Carnival.

To be honest, I am not overwhelmed by IP's presentation this year. The costumes are beautiful yes, but there is no real wow factor. For example, Carnival Tribe's 2007 presentation 'Old Time Someting' had that wow factor as I have discussed previously. Their 2009 presentation, Birds of a Feather is fantastic too - beautiful but actually depicting something. Full disclosure - Ihave a weakness/bias for costumes with lots of feathers  and big wing-like arm-pieces, which is probably why I love Tribe's presentation this year.

So now that you know that, it should come as no surprise that my favourite costume from IP's presentation is the hot-pink Touch costume.

[caption id="attachment_509" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Photo credit:"][/caption]


Featherrrrrrrrrrs! Purrrrty! I LAV it! I'm also pretty partial to their Midnight Bloom section.

[caption id="attachment_510" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Photo credit:"][/caption]

One costume that I am NOT impressed by is Afrodisiac. US$550 for this?! There is not enough all-inclusive food and drink to make me pay that much for such an ordinary-looking costume. There was so much more that could have been done with this theme.

The thing at the top leads to a teeny little burst of feathers. Mehhh. Dey even skimping on de beads. Booo!

On the other hand, we love the costume Dream. Yes, they have a big, feathered head-piece but the feathers are done in a way that is so ethereal and wispy that it really does seem dream-like.


That is it for now - obviously that is just a sample of IP's costumes and you can check out the rest at their site Look out for more Carnival costume reviews in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Islandistas on vacay and the red carpet

The glamour of the Golden Globe awards returned to Hollywood last night after being reduced to a press conference last year because of the writers' strike.

Latina islandistas Eva Mendes (Cuban-American) and Jennifer Lopez (boriqua - of course!) were both stunning on the red carpet . Eva wore a white Dior dress with a dramatic fan on the hip and J-Lo was in a slinky, daring gold Marchesa gown that reminds everyone of that Versace dress from back in her Diddy (or was he P.Diddy then? or Puff Daddy?) days.

[caption id="attachment_500" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="Photo credit: Granitz via"]Granitz via[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_501" align="aligncenter" width="365" caption="Photo credit: Granitz via"]Granitz via[/caption]

Haitian islandista Garcelle Beauvais was present at one of the myriad after-parties in a dress that even though it was a bit prim and boring in cut, had such a gorgeous, lush print that it made up for it.

[caption id="attachment_502" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Photo credit: Weiss via"]Weiss via[/caption]

Far away from Hollywood, X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke is on her first vacation since winning the British singing contest and snagging the coveted Christmas number one (that is such a big deal for Brits - still don't get why). She and fellow X-Factor contestant Ruth Lorenzo are on vacay in Mauritius.

[caption id="attachment_503" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="photo credit: Splash news"]Splash news[/caption]

Looking fab too - still sticking to that X-Factor diet we see.

Speaking of Alexandra, Rihanna reportedly wants her to stay far away from her man, Chris Brown.

Apparently during X-Factor, Alexandra used to make no secret of her huge crush on Chris and it was all cute and giggles then.

Now... not so much.

According to the Daily  Mirror's 3 AM column, Rihanna banned Alexandra from an after-party after Chris performed at a show at London's O2 arena.

"Alex was mortified. She had no idea she had been banned from meeting her idol.

"She's a massive fan of Chris Brown – she said numerous times on The X Factor how much she fancies him and wants to meet him.

"Since she and Chris are both with Sony, she asked label bosses if they could arrange for her to meet him at the after-party.

"They said that was fine, they would sort it out.

Again... not so much. 

Apparently, it's all part of Ri-ri keeping Chris on a short leash. It's not by accident or for work that Rihanna has been all over Britain with Chris since the New Year. The London Paper's thebuzz blog says she has a set of rules for him while he's on tour.
She has banned female members of his entourage from being alone with him in his room and said no girls can be there past midnight,” a source close to the star tells theBuzz.

We’re also told she doesn’t want to see any pictures of him dancing with girls in clubs, as she knows how far fans go to get his attention.

And to that we say - yuh damn right! Crack that whip! Her actions seem perfectly practical to us - after all, Chris is 19 and his teeny bopper fans are some other kind of crazy about him. The temptation for an ordinary 19 year old boy to cheat is huge, far less one that has coochie shamelessly thrown at him every single day.

So do what yuh got to do, girl.

Carnival coming!

Islandistas, it is that time of year again - as I logged on to the Trinidad Express site this morning I was feeling it! Their front page pic let you know that Carnival is definitely in the air. Of course, our fellow islandistas over at Trinidad Carnival Diary been feeling de Carnival feeling from when and they have lots of useful tips and advice over there where they breathe Carnival.

[caption id="attachment_497" align="aligncenter" width="321" caption="Photo credit: Curtis Chase for the Trinidad Express"]Curtis Chase for the Trinidad Express[/caption]

Here at Islandista, we LOVE, love, LOVE Trinidad Carnival. Love it!

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of a recession so the likelihood of us making it down to TnT is slim to none - especially with the rampant eye-jooking going on by regional airlines these days. A few years back when we went to play mas, a ticket to TnT, even at Carnival time, was around US$150. When we went last summer, that same ticket was US$300-plus. In other words, more than TWICE as much!

These airline prices really crimping the islandista lifestyle - how can you island-hop, play mas from island to island, attend music festivals and holiday weekend events and watch cricket like a true islandista when LIAT and Bwee (ye ye Caribbean Airlines whatever) charging no less than US$250 for a plane ride that lasts as long as a maxi-taxi ride to town? Stupssseee...

Meanwhile, de eye-jookers are gloating that bookings are strong for them for Carnival. In an interview with the Express, CA CEO Phillip Saunders said:
"We have very strong bookings for Carnival, some flights are even fully booked. It shows whatever the economic situation is, people remain committed to traveling in the Carnival period."

Damn them. Still, do what you got to do islandistas. If I could squeeze out the vacation, I would squeeze out the money for Carnival too. Even in the midst of these hard times, yuh got to play mas - in fact, especially now.

Anyhow, we digress. CARNIVAL IS COMING! And we here at Islandista are determined to get into the vibe of it so any of you who are going to Carnival or living in Trinidad already have to make sure and help us.

The official launch of Carnival was Friday night and there were four big fetes  over the weekend to start the Carnival festivities -  the  St Francois All-Inclusive Fete,  the Soca in Moka All-Inclusive at Trinity College, the Blazing Soca Fire Fete put on by the Fire Services Association and the Amnesia New Inclusive.

In the coming weeks, we will be reviewing some of the Carnival band costumes, the music coming out of Carnival (which we found disappointing last year - hoping for better this year) and of course, reporting any suss and drama coming out Carnival!

Speaking of suss, we forgot to mention this one when we heard it. Apparently a big soca diva got a huge pay cheque for her New Year's Eve performance - the equivalent of ten grand per song! Unfortunately she only got to sing three songs at the swank NYE event at Barbados'  poshest 'platinum coast' resort before the dissatisfaction of the stoosh crowd forced management to ask her to roll out. tsk...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jourdan Dunn conquers US Vogue and French Elle

So yuh know that our favourite islandista fashionista Jourdan Dunn is still running tings in 2009.

Fresh from her Model of the Year victory at the British Fashion Awards at year end, she has landed two major, major magazine appearances to start the year -  a spread in the January edition of US Vogue magazine, alongside Chanel Iman and the cover of French Elle.

Check out her shots from the Vogue spread below.


[caption id="attachment_484" align="aligncenter" width="284" caption="Photo credit: David Sims via fashion junkii"]David Sims via fashionjunkii[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_489" align="aligncenter" width="276" caption="Photo credit: David Sims via fashion junkii"]David Sims via fashion junkii[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_490" align="aligncenter" width="283" caption="Photo credit: David Sims via fashion junkii"]David Sims via fashion junkii[/caption]

Now while we can see clearly through US Vogue's clunky attempt at finally getting with the 21st century and acknowledging that black has been in style from when, Jourdan is so damn fierce  and bad to rhatid that we are almost willing to overlook the obviousness of their attempt. The world has a black US president now - time to get with it Vogue - tokenism will not do in '09!

As she continues to blaze, Jourdan has also made it onto the cover of French Elle's December issue. Check it out below.

[caption id="attachment_491" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption="Photo source: Make Fetch Happen"]Make Fetch Happen[/caption]

And we have finally been able to pin down which island Jourdan's family hails from - though if we had studied the last name, it should have given us a hint cos Dunn is a pretty yaadie surname and sure enough she is of Jamaican descent, as is mentioned very obliquely in this Sunday Observer profile on her.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rih-rih romance rumour rumblings

Not that we're much ones for suss (ok, we lie!) but we can't help but notice the rumblings around our favourite islandista, Rihanna and her boo Chris Brown, over the holiday season.

She spent Christmas in Virginia with his family and her younger brother Rorey and they looked extra comfy and couple-y in the pics that leaked (damn  second and third cousins!).

[caption id="attachment_478" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Photo credit:"][/caption]


Awwww... that is cute in truth. The Cosby-esque sweater dress not so much and the band-aid on Chris' top lip is kinda funny (I know he was not trying to shave that peach fuzz!) but that shows it must be true lurrrrv.

On an aside... what did Ms. Fenty FEED her children? Breast milk with steroids? Look how puny Rih's 'little' brother makes everyone else look and it's not like she's short either. Jeez...

Then they stoked rumours even further the next few days when they celebrated New Year's Eve together in London and Rihanna's finger-less gloves exposed a big-able ring when she was photographed leaving the Movida night club in Soho.

[caption id="attachment_479" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo credit:"][/caption]

 Christmas with the family and a big, shiny ring? Hmm...

Jizelle Salandy dies in car crash

Sad news for the new year coming out of Trinidad, islandistas. One of our young stars who was literally both fierce and fabulous as only an islandista can be, has gone.

Champion boxer Jizelle Salandy died on Sunday morning in a terrible car accident on the Beetham Highway in T&T.

[caption id="attachment_474" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Photo credit: Trinidad Express"]Trinidad Express[/caption]