In the Beginning…..The USA, Sxm Carnival, Travel and Fun & in The-then Europe Caribbean Blogs Vlogs 2009
The Entyce band is one of the veteran St Maarten bands. Back in 2009 I had two little digital cameras. They were my first experience shooting digital photos and videos. Yes, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I am self trained. I am including what I consider to be my best and worst videos. I make mistakes every day, and I like it when people correct as opposed to criticize.
I returned to my native country St Maarten in April of 2009. Just by chance April is carnival season, so we were in the middle of Dutch St Maarten 2009 carnival. I had been shooting my own quite weird dance videos to youtube, which consisted more of body isolations, than dancing. I had quite a following in North America, South America and Europe when I got back to St Maarten. Some were Reggaeton fans (perreando). Reggaeton is the Latino (South/Central America and the Caribbean) version of Dancehall. I will concede that I’m the world’s worst dancer, but I was very good with isolations. So when I got my cameras for about a year, I did self videos, someone I would co-host the neighbors, and the cats.I posted to Youtube, and ran an informal blog that was quite popular, because like everything else it was a bit unconventional. It consisted mostly of belly control, isolations, tricks and belly dance both traditional and tribal fusion.
Many people would ask me on Youtube about my culture, the music that I chose, and my …ahem.. dance. I would try to explain, but ‘culture’ can be very difficult to describe in mere words.
When the 2008 Election campaign was kicking in in the United States, I switched to politics, and gained a completely new and different following online.
When I returned in the middle of Dutch Carnival 2009, I saw it as a sign. I stopped recording myself, and started recording my people in action.
In 2009 many people were still not internet savvy, some refused to use computers at all . There were no fiber optics in St Maarten, the internet service was archaic and terrible, worse than dial up. The electricity company GEBE was worse.
I used to head to The Boardwalk, which is in Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch Sint Maarten. My friends Ali Brooks and his family had their own little business on the Boardwalk on cruise ship days. “$1.00 Heinekens on ice, and other beers all for $1.00. It was a very cool, mellow place. And the Brooks treated me like family, sometimes during terrible times. I put this together for Ali June 2009
In 2009 I was the only female recording carnival, and I was the only person using tiny digital cameras as opposed to the huge analog cameras everyone else were still using.
After staying in St Maarten for a while, one of my dreams/goals was to convert all of the analogue content to digital. Preserving the original copy, and having an online, digital copy. Every time a big hurricane devastated the island, thousands of memories, photos, videos, information, documents were forever lost.
I tried to convince people about about digital technology, but was met with a lot of resistance and suspicion.
People would see me video recording and photographing daily, and automatically assume that I was doing something wrong, or that I was up to no good.
I think that has to do with personality and perspective.
When I shoot videos and photos, it almost seems like I’m shooting obsessively (I can shoot thousands of photos in one day), but to me shooting videos or taking a photo is the same as capturing a moment in time.
Many people who resented my constant photo taking of every detail, eventually came back to me to request photos of videos of their children, or someone who was deceased.
It took a while for people to actually realize that what I was trying to do was archive my island, St Maarten’s history.
What was at first a disadvantage… The only female carnival videographer, tiny and cheap looking cameras, very small in stature. At first the ‘big boys’ who shoot videos and photos for the local television stations and radio stations tried to punk me.
So I had to treat them with the same aggression. You can’t be a ‘victim’ just because certain jobs are dominated by men. By 2010 after I had shown them what cheap digital cameras and Youtube could do, they did not try to bully me again.
By 2011 and on I had become acquainted many of the local photographers and videographers. Some I got very cool with, others who did not like my strong willed attitude kept their distance.
Many of the musicians and dancers in my St Maarten St Martin carnival and j’ouvert videos are relatives, friends or people that I’m acquainted with.
After I had Youtubed and promoted St Maarten Carnival, the musicians involved, and even the process, people quickly began to recognize me at carnival, and they knew exactly what I did.
The people who wanted to ‘free up’ and go wild on camera for the world to see would come looking for me.
As a quite tiny female, I am also less intimidating or threatening. The dancers also knew that I would show my moves back in the day. Some would watch my videos and tease me that they were better.
After seeing themselves on Youtube and the shock, awe and admiration from around the world to millions. The dancers, and even the musicians got more serious.
They started to come to the festivities ‘fashion’ ready. Some watched their videos, were not happy and spent the whole year training. In 2010, they let me know… “hey girl, I’ve been practicing my headstands, dimbolos and splits since last year.
I will continue this blog at another time.
99% of the work that I/We do is NON-PROFIT.
Even the work that was supposed to be paid for…. well…. it is St Maarten, there is $1000’s owed to me, but I can’t hunt people down for the money that I worked hard to earn, and I shouldn’t have to.
There are over 1000 groups, pages, blogs, websites and more in the Network. Only three sites generate revenue right now, and it’s not even enough to cover the costs of maintaining a site, but I’m used to that.
On Facebook you can check out “like” our pages and/or “join” one of our groups.
Here are our Facebook links. The groups, when you join are also a place to promote your relevant content for FREE. The groups were created to and assist islanders, Americans and Canadians. Now also Europe has joined in. The Groups cannot be successful without people realizing the advantages of posting for free online to an audience which can reach into the millions, or running down to Bushroad, and paying hundreds to advertise in the on land papers. Basically hundreds for paper that will be used as cat litter the next day.
I maintain over 100 Groups on Facebook alone. They range from Finding Employment/Employers finding workers. Buy, Sell and Trade groups which allows you to personally interact with whoever you are doing a business transaction with, so there is no middle man, therefore it is a free platform. And many are now taking advantage of it.
Because I am no longer actively working. I am working on bringing in more editors, admins, moderators and contributors, but that will take a while right now I’m working mostly in the back and middle end. There are also political and activist groups, which allows anyone to post their experiences both negative and positive when it comes to businesses, especially those run by government.
There are also Tourist and traveler blogs such as I LOVE ST MAARTEN! etc…
Right now I realize that the pages are not fully update, and they are mostly getting feeds. But most of my followers know by now that I surgery coming up, I am being forced to relax a little, so it will take some time to update the pages. Right now my main focus is the groups, profiles, aggregators, websites and blogs. The pages are being updated regularly by feeds, but I also have to add a lot more info directly to the pages, which will take time. There are over 100 of them.