Carnival is no place for hate: Bahamas Carnival Hate Crime
24 year -old Adrian Brown, from New Jersey made his plans just days before Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, to play mas. His band of choice was Bahamas Masqueraders.
On Friday, May 5 Mr. Brown picked up his costume and mingled with fellow masqueraders as the music trucks got ready for the road pirior to heading to Festival Village on Arawak Cay. Early Saturday morning shortly after Machel Montano took the stage, (I) Bahamas Masqueraders representative Africa Allah received a call from Mr. Brown.
“Africa, Africa, I’m in the hospital.”
“In the hospital?” I replied with confusion.
Hurriedly he replied in a calm tone of embarrassment. “I was attacked at the concert.”
Half way home, I made a U-turn to the hospital, only to find Mr. Brown covered in dry blood and bandages on his head. It took everything in me to hold back the tears and anger that I felt. I had spent the last three days corresponding with Mr. Brown getting him ready for Bahamas Carnival.
To walk into the hospital to find him in this condition was shameful. How could we as a people allow these types of injustices against humanity happen on our soil? What does this say about our island? As a resident of the United States myself it raised safety concerns for me as well.
In the blink of an eye, I went into fix it mode. Asking Mr. Brown what, when, who, why and how.
“I think they assumed because the way I was dressed that I was gay and I am gay, but I don’t know anyone here so they would not have known that. This was a hate crime. The police were very good, I went to the police station and they called the ambulance for me. I was still able to participate in carnival. I went on the truck but I couldn’t do what I wanted, I wanted to be on the road but I was hurt and slept most of the time.”
I stayed throughout the duration of his time at Princess Marget Hospital as we waited almost 3 hours for him to be treated. I even called management to assist us with finding a doctor on duty to expedite the process. I cannot imagine the fair and uncertainty Mr. Brown felt with each ticking moment. As the morning began to break he made a decision to leave the hospital untreated. While I urged against it, I understood his position. No one came to check on him or anyone else in the waiting room for that matter. In his eyes, no one cared.
Upon leaving he expressed his desire to continue with his plans to play mas with Bahamas Masqueraders. Later that morning he joined me on the international music truck and was assigned a personal butler. His carnival experience was short lived when he began to feel dizzy and was placed on a lounge truck. We kept tabs on Mr. Brown during his stay and even secured him backstage access to the Machel Montano Sunday, Beach Cool Down Cooler Fete hosted by Alpha Sounds.
As Bahamas Masqueraders, we did everything in our power to change Mr. Brown’s negative experience and exceed his expectations. It is a shame that this happened and that certain members of society are targeted because they look, speak or act differently. There was no proof or confirmation that Mr. brown was indeed homosexual. He was attacked based on an assumption. Luckily for the Bahamas government, Mr. Brown did not lose his life. No matter how you slice it, this is bad for the Bahamas and its tourism brand. There is no room for hate in carnival and or any other product that attracts thousand of people from various cultures and backgrounds to your land. We as a nation, The Bahamas and Bahamians are responsible for the well-being of our guest no matter what.
Mr. Brown vowed to return to the Bahamas and will continue to be a personal guest of Bahamas Masqueraders and the #BahMas family.