WASSI ONES BAND LAUNCH, THE AFTERMATH

Before I get into this review, I need to say that Giselle, "D Wassi One" has been in the mas business for more than half the time she's been alive.  Every presentation is a personal one for one reason or another but this year's presentation was not a personal decision alone, it was risky to present this kind of mas.  Often the true pure in heart, just like designers aren't perceived the way they'd like and the vision doesn't come across correctly to their 'crowd'. The desire of every designer, is for the public to see things through their eyes and that in itself isn't always accepted by the public and on Sunday night, it was. Many don't know what goes on behind the scenes annually with Giselle but right before her models are set to hit the stage, she has a moment of anxiety and looks to her mother and the Lord.
The business is hard, especially when it's done solely for the love of the craft and for the continued spread of the Caribbean culture, not the money.  It's a pretty expensive love affair.  In South Florida, where she has lived for all of her adult life is where she gets the least reception and the most rejection. That in itself is a hard pill to swallow and knowing this; this woman continuously shows and spreads her love to everyone. She loves, encourages and supports every mas band, whether they sprung out of Wassi Ones or not. She supports each band that others see as her competitors when she actually sees these bands as just another outlet to promote her culture that she loves so much.  Wassi Ones is a band that is going on it's 28th year on the streets of Miami, so she's in competition with no one.
"AS WE EMBARK OUR 28TH ANNIVERSARY IN MIAMI CARNIVAL, WE TAKE A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE AND PAY TRIBUTE TO CARNIVAL WITH AN UP TO THE TIME FLAVOR! HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED IF A JAB MOLASSIE CORNERED YOU TODAY WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE? WONDER NO MORE! TAKE A PEEK INTO A BLAST FROM THE PAST THAT WILL SHOW YOU THAT OUR CULTURE IS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE, VERY MUCH REMEMBERED AND VERY MUCH LOVED!!!  WASSI ONES, "HAND UP MEH SAY! IS WE TIME TO PARTY"!!!... WE DEFINITELY "DEY IN IT!"" - Giselle D Wassi One

Now with that being said, let me begin this long awaited review.  When Giselle came up with "Dey In It", I was like 'oh Lord, here's another generic theme' but after explaining her vision, what it would be and how the story would unfold, I was hooked.  Although I didn't agree with the name of the 2015 presentation, I fully endorsed everything it represents.  At the band launch, she gave a brief description to the audience because many haven't a clue as to what the origin of carnival entails and can only identify with what it has become.  "Dey In It" is an attempt to educate the masqueraders of their culture by using the Traditional Carnival Characters while it incorporates the more trendy designs of today.

Traditional BabyDoll: Believed to be extinct, The Baby Doll character dressed as a baby doll.  The most important prop in this mas is the doll held in hand.  The dolls symbolized an illegitimate child. While in costume, the roll of The Baby Doll was to stop random men (whether they were alone or not) and ask them if they fathered the baby.  This is the way slaves left their problems behind, by making of mockery of their very real realities.
 
 
Wassi Ones Baby Doll
 
*costume designed by Shop Frosting/ Chade
The colors of this costume has a candy cane, childlike appearance, perfect color combination for a Baby Doll costume.  It is not as traditional as some of the other sections in the band but as a section leader, you have to know your crowd and cater to them all.  This costume does it for me.  I liked it as soon as I saw it and I know most will as well.  It's a definite seller!  I would have loved to see this costume displayed (just for the launch) with a baby doll in hand because on the road, it will never happen.  A baby doll, in hand is not at all practical for the behaviors of the Wassi Ones masqueraders  :-) so on to the Fire Man.
Traditional FireMan:
 
Wassi Ones FireMan


 
  
*designed by Marlon Smart of Ramajay Mas NY
 
BANG!
*That was the noise from the hammer hitting the nail on it's head!  Marlon honey, you nailed it!  If ever I have a fire, I'd like the carnival God's to send any of them to out it.  This is a perfect combination of the old meeting new and THIS is what carnival and mas portrayal is about.  This costume is literally FIRE!   The use of the striped mini standard was genius and I hope this starts a trend of bringing back the all mighty standards!  Besides the Wassi Ones Website, you can email the designer Marlon Smart at designedbymarlonsmart@gmail.com for any questions, concerns or registrations.

Traditional Animal Mas: The Dragon  The Dragon is designed as a dragon with scales and large head that usually has a movable tongue.  This character is the dragon from hell and it's job is to do 'The Dragon Dance" as it captivates and frightens it's audience.
Wassi Ones Dragon
  
 
*designed by Shop Frosting/Chade
Loving this as well!  The material used on the frontline of this costume look like what I'd expect a dragon's skin to look like.  The colors used in this costume are dark but what are we trying to portray? A dark dragon from hell.. The pink used still gives it a light feminine look and I love!  I could see this being an easy costume to maneuver on the road with both the frontline backpack and the one sided shoulder piece. This costume is simple and effective.  Kudos!

Traditional Dame Lorraine:  The Dame Lorraine mimicked the french women in their lavish ballgowns cooling with their fans.  The French women were often members of the elite and wore masks.  Slaves used readily available materials such as sheets and rags to make their 'gowns'.  Over the years Dame Lorraine has become quite the bacchanal lady with her heavily exaggerated 'bam bam' and breasts, she is scandalous when she walks and she will be walking all throughout "Dey In It"!
 
Wassi Ones Dame Lorraine
If you know Giselle, you know she's a huge Breast Cancer advocate and for this her  Dame Lorraine rocks on in Giselle's signature pink!   
  
*section leader, Karen Flatts
Once again, we have a winner!  This was wonderfully done.  The decorated bodysuit gives women enough leg and upper body skin to show off without losing the traditional look of the character.  The use of that pillow may seem crazy to some but that is exactly what makes it traditional and makes this costume one of my favorites!! 

Traditional Fancy Indian: The Fancy Indian hasn't changed at all because this is actually one of their many traditional dresses. There are different types of Indians that can be portrayed such as The Chief , The Chief and His Family or Warriors.  The Chief as shown below is the most popular.  There has been controversy over the use of traditional head dresses among the Native Americans because they see this as religious attire and do not believe that it should be used anywhere in carnival.
 
Wassi Ones Fancy Indian
 
 
 
*section leader, Wassi Ones
I look at the small things.  The use of what looks like 'teeth' in this costume kills it.  Kill in a good way.  It looks tribal, savage like and wild.  This screams traditional Indian but has also fused the modern day 'look' of mas.  The headdress/headpiece like all traditional Native American costumes is beautiful and is an attraction all in itself but does not overshadow the costume which is equally gorgeous.

Traditional Jab Jab: came from the French words 'Diable Diable' which is supposed to mean 'Pretty Devil'. The Jab Jab is supposed to mimic what we would call a mid-evil jester whereas the Jab Molassie that came from French patois 'Diable Melasse' meaning 'Devil Mas'.  The Jab Molassie walked around with chains and carries a pitchfork.  The Jab Molassie would dance and gyrate to the beat of any rhythm or drum.
 
Wassi Ones Jab Jab
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*section leader Damali Mas/ Tiffany
The use of the pitchfork, the horned headpiece on the male costume and the use of chains in the section is what made me realize on sight that this costume is the Jab Molassie.  So for the second time for the Miami Carnival season, I am renaming a section lol.  This section (for me) is the Jab Molassie!  I loved the wings on the frontline, it's different from what I've been seeing for the last three or four carnival seasons.  Not too many feathers and the use of the mesh.  LOVE.  Well done Tiffany!  I am hoping there are bikini options available for the females opposed to the boyshorts modeled.  Aside from that, the Jab Jab/Jab Molassie is good to go!

Traditional Pierrot Grenade: For the Pierrot Grenade, I had to look it up.  I was not at all familiar with this character.  This character is known for his elegant costume and fierce fighting powers with a whip or bull pistle.  The Pierrot Grenade is normally followed by a band of female supporters who fought on his behalf against other Pierrot groups.  (I too am being educated).
Wassi Ones Pierrot Grenade
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*section leader, Wassi Ones
I don't remember seeing a male for this section which makes perfect sense as with the Pierrot Grenade there is that band of female supporters that follow him.  Very Amazonish!  The use of the 'crown' as a headpiece shows who's boss.  The colors used are exactly those of the traditional character and that shows the extreme effort in trying to mimic it.  All accessories shown come with this costume (and are recyclable). Win win.
WASSI ONES ORIGINAL
ENERGY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*section leader Mixx Bartenders
EVERY band needs ENERGY and this Energy gives me energy just by looking.  I can see how the sun would enhance the neon colors in this costume.  Energy by far is the most daring of the costumes with all the strings used.  Daring as it is, it isn't too revealing. The wire bra and monokini options both rely completely on the strings for support.  I've FULLY inspected them and they both seem to be strong enough to keep the breasts in tact without a malfunction inside the wassiest band in South Florida.  

Sen-Saytional: The Sensay is another character that I had to look up.  This traditional character is from  Dominica.  Sensay came from the Ghanian word "senseh" which meant a chicken with ruffled feathers.  Sensay costumes were made from sisal rope, derived from natural fibers from the agave sisalana plant which gives the costume a 'frizzle fowl' appearance and can be displayed in any assortment of colors.
Wassi Ones Sen-Saytional (The Sensay)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOVING this collar. Literally!  The traditional character uses a whole pieced suit that has an enclosed collar and this collar captures that and manages to remain pretty. 
  
  
*section leader, Riverland Mas/ Elka
Sen-Saytional was inspired by The Sensay.  I believe the fringe was used to represent the shaggy "frizzled" look.

WASSI ONES TRIBUTE: BRIGHT AFRICA
"FROM THE MOTHER LAND WITH LOVE... "PRETTIER THAN A RAINBOW....SMILE BRIGHTER THAN THE DAYLIGHT..." A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE, GREAT MAS PIONEER GEORGE BAILEY... HIS LAST PRESENTATION... A VISION IN 1969... A VISION IN 2015... BRIGHT AFRICA... WE NEED MORE LOVE 'DEY IN IT' ".
 
*section leader, Wassi Ones
Regal.
Royal.
Respect.

Overall I am extremely satisfied and impressed with the presentation of "Dey In It" and not because I am a die hard or a loyalist but because there is actual meaning and an attempt to educate behind this mas. Stories are being told here. After playing mas for over 30 years it becomes repetitive and boring.  It takes a lot to impress someone playing mas for so long.  Yes, I too get excited after seeing feathers, bling and beads but I think that the majority of the people have lost touch of what mas really is.  It's more than that and it's been restored in Wassi Ones.  I am pleased that Wassi Ones didn't follow what seems to be the norm in modern day carnival costume production by launching different colored strings with feathers. I am appreciative and thankful that the costumes are also practical, I can still enjoy a burger (or two) and still fit into a costume for the season.  Do not get me wrong, I am not taking away from ANY of the carnival bands out there because we as masqueraders do see that is where mas has headed but to see some practical costumes that allows me to behave like the leggobeast I know I can be without costume malfunction, is refreshing.  Bless.

For the FULL GALLERY of the Wassi Ones "Dey In It" Closeups, click HERE! Feel free to follow the new Instagram page @dcarnivalbaby and "like" the DCARNIVALBABY Facebook page by clicking HERE.

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