After 20 years of Trinidadian leadership, Miami carnival band GenX has revamped and introduced new leadership.
When the former owner, Gregory Antoni sought to retire, in came fellow Jamaicans, Tagyei Belinfante, Marc Christian, Adrian Jones, Ajene Green, and Matthew Waddell as co-directors of the band.
Belinfante had been playing with the band for years, and when the opportunity to become more involved with the band presented itself, it was a no-brainer.
“GenX was just that band that all my friends were playing with at the time. There was no other choice, to be honest. That was the only band I knew about in Miami. I really didn’t look anywhere else,” he told Caribbean National Weekly.
When Antoni sought new leadership for his band, Belinfante says, “I spoke with a good friend of mine, Matthew, who then was able to bring in Ajene green, and the rest is history.”
Under the leadership of the five Jamaicans, a new and improved GenX has emerged. Belinfante says the fact that the band already had a great reputation among masqueraders gave them plenty to build upon.
“We saw an opportunity to present a new aspect to the brand as far as social media. We work on that every day as far as engaging with masqueraders and would-be masqueraders in a positive way,” he said.
“This is our second year doing this and we’re improving upon the experience. Everything from costume selection, how you buy your costumes, how you perceive us on the web and social media. You can definitely see a unified front of what we present. My partners and I know what we want to see from a carnival band; premium beverages, the best international and local acts, the best sounds, and that’s what the Gen Xperience is.”
Carnival is a commonly shared experience throughout many of the Caribbean islands. While Trinidad is often considered the mecca of carnival, much of the Caribbean diaspora lives in South Florida, and for that reason, Miami Carnival brings a unique flavor.
“A lot of people from all over the world come to Miami. So you see the difference and hear the different types of soca. Miami Carnival is kind of the melting pot for carnivals. The Jamaican promoters come here, Trinidadians, St. Lucia, Grenada, they all come here. So if you don’t go to any other carnival, you can visit Miami to get a feel of all of them,” said Belinfante.
After making their debut in 2019, the co-directors are looking to make a much-anticipated return after their COVID-19 induced hiatus.
“We hope to be the #1 band in Miami carnival,” said Belinfante.
“Each year, we strive to improve and give the masqueraders a time they’ll never forget. The carnival we know and celebrate today in Miami presents an opportunity for the larger Caribbean community and its diaspora to celebrate a common cultural bond that transcends the individual nations and unites us through music, dance, and overall revelry.”
All being well, Miami Carnival will make its comeback on Columbus Day Weekend, October 8-11, 2021.