Reels and Riddims Celebrating Caribbean Artists In Music and Film

On June 16, amid Caribbean American Heritage Month, the “Reels & Riddim” event brought together members of the Caribbean diaspora at Players Club in Gramercy, New York City for an evening of communal joy and thoughtful discussion. For hours, West Indian voices filled and spilled from the venue, flowing steadily from performances of reggae, calypso and soca music, panel discussions, and short films featured in the event’s programming.

The event, brought together by a partnership between the V&P Foundation and Mprojekts Creative Group, and hosted by Dennis Creary, the president and CEO of Blacks on Wall Street, put on full display the vibrancy of Caribbean culture. A panel of entertainment industry leaders, including Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin, the co-founder of VP Records and the V&P Foundation; Meschida Philip, filmmaker and founder of the 12’N 61’W Grenada Film Festival and MProjekts Creative Group; and screenwriter Tricia Keens-Douglas, was moderated by Natasha Sam, the director of influencer marketing at Live Nation, who led a discussion colored by odds-defying, boundary-pushing stories.

“Reels and Riddim,” as the name suggests, also placed emphasis on highlighting some of the music and films that continue to bring Caribbean culture and narratives to the world. On the music side, there were sublime performances from Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-nominated singer N’Kenge; the pannist Kendall Williams; the violinist Majid Khaliq; and Alma Boy, the soca showman.

The films, including “Scars of Our Mothers’ Dreams” by Meschida Philip; “From Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens,” by Repartee Films; “NYC Locals Legends – Angela Hunte in Flatbush,” by Orian Barki; and “Raw Material” by Sosiessia Nixon-Kelly were curated by the 12’N 61’W Grenada Film Festival theme and stoked conversations centered around identity, loss, and perseverance.

A fashion show featuring pieces from Riddim Driven’s latest collection stirred the crowd as well. All in all, the event proved to be a success, not only in showcasing and celebrating the bright tapestry of Caribbean culture, but in raising money and awareness for the V&P Foundation and the 12’N 61’W Grenada Film Festival’s respective charity-focused missions.