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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jaycees Carnival Queen Show To Return In 2010

After  more than 30 years of absence from the Carnival Calender the Jaycees Carnival Queen Show is set to take place on February 2nd. The queen show is being hosted by JCI Trinidad and Tobago, with the official launch of the Jaycees Carnival Queen Show carded for January 4th 2010.

Contestants will participate in interview, talent. carnival costume, swim wear and evening gown with the topic of focus being Cancer Awareness.

For those who may not know, the Carnival Queen Show was a part of Carnival history in Trinidad and Tobago having been staple of Dimanche Gras night in the 1950s until the Government Appointed  Carnival Development Committee handed over control of the pageant to the Jaycees in 1959. The show was then moved to the Oval on Carnival Saturday night until it's return to the Queens Park Savannah in 1963 until it ended in 1971.

The Carnival Queen Show was not without controversy however, Calypsonian Mighty Sparrow boycotted the Calypso Contest on Dimance Gras 1956 to highlight the unfairness of the prize money awarded to the Calypso King ($50.00) compared to the Carnival Queen who took home over $10,000.00.

When the Jaycees took over the Carnival Queen show the controversy continued as organizers of the event were charged with discrimination as seemingly only contestants of a particular ethnic group were chosen for the show. You can read all about the racism charges leveled against the Jacyees in the book Producing power: ethnicity, gender, and class in a Caribbean workplace By Kevin A. Yelvington, link to Chapter 4 HERE. Suffice it to say that there was never a winner of African descent in the Jaycees Carnival Queen Competition held in Trinidad and Tobago.

In the spirit of the Jaycees designer Wayne Berkley also held a Carnival Queen Show in 1999 where contestants  paraded in gowns and costumes. As diverse as the contestants were the winner who was chosen followed in the Jaycees footsteps as Cherisse Guaranito ,Miss Goldfinger, was crowned Carnival Queen that year.

Hopefully the new Jaycees Queen chosen in 2010 would prove that old stereotypes have been broken in a new century !
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