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Reboot -- Who Give Them the Okay? — A Brooklyn J’Ouvert Story -- by Garvin Blake

Most people claim Brooklyn J’Ouvert officially started in the late 1980s in Flatbush. But here’s Kitchener in 1974 singing “Who Give Them the Okay”, a tune about a J’Ouvert in Bedford Stuyvesant. Assembling on Fulton Street and Franklin Avenue, the group then proceeded east up Fulton towards Utica Avenue and eventually to Eastern Parkway. Bed Stuy was a hub for West Indians in the 60s and 70s, therefore it's not surprising Trinidadians, after feting, would form a band, and, without permission, head to the Parkway.

New York City and J’Ouvert have survived endless setbacks, only to come back stronger. Next year ole mas will replace surgical masks. A hug will replace an elbow bounce. Six feet will be the size of a head piece, not the distance between friends. The alcohol-based liquid tucked in handbags and front pockets won’t be hand sanitizer. And 10,000 people will rejoice when Hearts of Steel come down Nostrand Avenue playing “How Great Thou Art.”

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Great piece of historical writing. Very informative and very entertaining.

Garvin, I love the lyrics. I felt like singing while I was reading.

In the calypso you cited, Kitchener introduces the intriguing idea of an overcrowded band.

Garvin great history my beloved. I think you have to write your book on our carnival history in NYC starting in Harlem. If we don't tell our history no one else will. You have a gift don't waste it. Your trini writing style is awesome. 

Thanks! Mr. Blake a vivid presentation, I see you didn't have my name, your mention of my presence is all the acknowledgment I needed, Eye, like the rest can relate... "Liming on the sidewalk, listening to pan with friends and strangers, some dancing, others ole talking, was a quasi-J’Ouvert"

Mas in Brooklyn

A picture as only the Lord could paint with his lyrics and melody.  Thankx Garvin for the information!

Excellent read Mr. Blake.


......Very informative article Grvin, hope you are included in the new initiative Leah Clark Brisard is advocating....stay safe...


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