On Tour: Bringing BEATBOXING to the US Virgin Islands

7 Nov
This screening was the busiest off all seven.  Taking the ferry over from St. Thomas to St. John, I was greeted with a rainbow and pelicans diving into the water enjoying a feast of fish.  In the tree outside my apartment at a condo located in Cruz Bay, I watched  an iguana chomping on the leaves, overlooking turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
I have experienced all the beaches around the island, enjoyed snorkeling in the Caribbean waters, and introduced to a cactus fruit that only blooms on a full moon!
 Meeting local writers; Musicians, such as Angel Exodus Bolguess of http://www.reverbnation/exodusmuzik,  and Doug “The Whistler” Van Nostrand; restaurant and hotel owners; Web developer Jon Eichner of www.joneichner.com; Premium Ice Cream vendor and musician Michael Beason, who shared his video of Jyde Lyve’s last show in St. John, April 1999, performing wonderful beatboxing, Local DJ Davidson Verdant, DJ St. John, St. Thomas and St. Lucia, you can contact DJ Davidson at Topshotta_wildfyah@hotmail.com, has been a delight.
Angel Exodus Bolguess, Musician
Spending the past few days with Andrea E. Leland, an award winning film maker and the founder, St. John Film Society www.stjohnfilm.com,  and her assistant Kathy Guidi, who hosted and organized the screening for Beatboxing-The Fifth Element of Hip Hop screening, has been a cultural education, held at St. John School of the Arts.
They had a raffle drawing, donated by Caravan Jewelers.  Hung posters up throughout Cruz Bay village.  Created cards, advertising Beatboxing -The Fifth Element of Hip Hop documentary, printed and distributed all over St. John Island.  There was a terrific turnout at the screening held at The St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay.  It was very well received.
See www.andrealeland.comfor additional information about Andrea Leland Productions, and her award winning documentaries, including Voodoo and the Church In Haiti, The Garifuna Journey, and my favorite, Jamesie, King of Scratch.

The night after the screening, locals were invited to The Gallows Resort, www.gallowspointresort.com/ which is where I have been privileged to stay, to speak about the process of filmmaking and the documentary.  It was an inspiration to us all, discussing experiences, visions, and political point of views.

One of my desires was to screen at local schools here in St. John to see a child’s perspective on Beatboxing as a music art form.  Fantastically, Kathy was able to set up with a screening at the GiftHill School, http://www.giffthillschool.org/ with an audience of  40 children – from 7, 8 and 9th. grades.  Gifft Hill School rests on 14 acres contiguous to Virgin Islands National Park land, overlooking the Caribbean Sea beyond and has a history of 34 years.
The students at GifftHill School sat silently and intently and were so enthusiastic some students who were music students and also not music students, performed their own beatboxing, rapping and breakdancing demonstrations for their class mates and teacher audience.  Some of the comments that were made by the students were:’I loved Beatboxing because it is free’.  ‘It is a good way to express your frustrations and anger’.  ‘Beatboxing is fun to do’.

How enlightening to hear these children respond to Beatboxing-The Fifth Element of Hip Hop music in this positive influence.

Gifft Hill School Principal

Saint John is an island in the Caribbean Sea and a constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), an unincorporated territory of the United States. St. John is located about 4 miles east of Saint Thomas, the location of the territory’s capital, Charlotte Amalie, and 4 miles south and west of Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands. It is 19.61 sq mi in area and has a population of 4,170. Because there are no airports on St. John, the only access to the island is by boat.   Approximately 60% of the island is protected as Virgin Islands National Park.

St. John was first settled by the Arawak Indians who had migrated north from coastal Colombia andVenezuela around AD 300. The Arawaks inhabited the island until around the year AD 1300, when they were driven off by the more aggressive and warlike Carib Indians.

The Danish West India and Guinea Company represented the first Europeans to settle the island in 1718. They are also credited with naming the island St. John (Danish: Sankt Jan).  In 1917 the United States purchased the U.S. Virgin Islands for $25 million from the Danish government in order to establish a naval base whose purpose was to prevent German expansion in the Western Hemisphere. They also agreed to recognize Denmark’s claim to Greenland, which they had previously disputed.

In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller donated most of the land he had acquired on the island to the United States’ National Park Service, under the condition that it must be protected from future development. The remaining portion, the Caneel Bay Resort, continues to operate on a lease arrangement while the park owns the actual land.

What a beautiful, cultural experience.

Post by Angela Viscido, OSIP Touring Filmmaker. Thank you for touring with us, Angela!


One Response to “On Tour: Bringing BEATBOXING to the US Virgin Islands”

  1. hillcreststjohncom April 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Here are some more pictures of Trunk Bay Beach, US National Park, http://www.hillcreststjohn.com/trunkbaypic.html

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