The Uber Soca Cruise: Magical Freedom at the Dawn of the Trump Era

Posted on

By Marlon Peterson

Fifteen hundred people, including me, left America for a magical experience the day after Donald Trump became the president-elect. We boarded the Norwegian Pearl in the port of Miami for the first ever Uber Soca Cruise, a five-day fete, aka soca party, to Jamaica and back (though many of us seriously considered not returning).

We left for freedom.

Branded as “an experience beyond the music,” the cruise was the perfect excursion from the immediate trauma of the presidential election. It was self-care, soca style. Parties and performances almost 24 hours a day, a comedy show from Majah Hype, and a beach paint party in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It was epic. Sleep was profanity, good food was abundant, fun always came first, and people sharing Black joy was dominant. Respectability politics didn’t exist…not for those five days.

International soca artists like Kes the BandLyrikal and Kevin Lyttle are known for inciting licentious, hip gyrating, sex synthesizing movements with their music. Soca music is not synonymous with militant resistance like her artistic cousin, reggae. Soca is known as the ditzy jock, while reggae is the class president.

Stereotypes limit.

But, everyone and everything has a biography. Reggae is the child of ska and rocksteady music, a genre with roots in the militant ideology of resistance to colonialism of the Maroons. It was associated with poor people music. Soca is the daughter of calypso music. Calypso at its core is the political resistance and truth telling of enslaved Africans. The rhythmic motions associated with soca music are a direct repudiation of the respectability politic of French and English colonial powers. It is its own style of resistance to the system of colonialism that is birthed in white superiority and the othering of everyone else.

Read more at EBONY
Follow us: @EbonyMag on Twitter | EbonyMag on Facebook