Betty West: Soca Royalty Band Launch 2018

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The theme for this year’s Betty West Band is “Soca Royalty”, an ode to and celebration of the works and lengthy career of one of Barbados’ most celebrated musical artiste, Stedson “Red Plastic Bag” Wiltshire. This is reflected in the section names of the band, with each one being named after a popular song from his extensive body of work: We Are, Royal Visit, I Love It, Boat Ride, Roller Coaster, Volcano and Something’s Happening. The artiste himself was present at the launch and was able to witness this commemoration of his life and his work.

The models at the band launch were, overall, very good. The models in the first section, We Are, were kind of boring – not just in their performance, but also their choreography – however, the models that came after them were quite charismatic, had a lot of energy and genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves and that was quite infectious. Some of them even sang along to the songs that they were modelling to.

The most exuberant models were in the final section on stage, Something’s Happening. The two female models were Riddim Tribe dancers and that is very likely the reason why that is. It’s also why, if they didn’t have the best choreography of the bunch, they certainly had the best executed choreography without question. They had a lot of personality and were very playful, they were hands down the best of the night. It’s no wonder that they were saved for the last.

A special shout out has to go to the male models at this launch. This was the only band launch I went to all season in which the male models weren’t boring or looked bored, actually did something and brought just as much life to the costume presentation as the female models did. In fact, one of the male models in the We Are section was one of the only male models at Baje’s launch to do any of that. It was a pleasure to see him again. These male models were actually what all male models at band launches need to be. Not the immobile, stoic, trying-too-hard-to-be-too-cool-for-school male models that were present in other band launches.

The costumes have a kind of nostalgic, “throwback” feel to them in that they don’t have the design aesthetic that a lot of – if not, all other – bands are doing right now with the wire bras, thongs, etc. The Betty West costumes seem to be in line with Crop Over costume design trends from the era(s) before wire bras and he like became the norm.

Most of the costumes represent their section names well. We Are is very on the nose with its blue and yellow colour scheme and trident shaped backpack on the women’s costume, Royal Visit has crowns, is very “blingy” and is purple (the colour of royalty), Boat Ride doesn’t scream nautical with its design but the colours are reminiscent of the sea and Volcano is orange and yellow and has a volcano shaped headdress from which feathers “erupt.” My two favourite costumes in the presentation were Royal Visit and Volcano. They are the best looking costumes in my opinion.

Watch the highlight reel from the launch below and visit our Facebook page for photos. Follow us there and on Instagram for more!

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.