It is always a beautiful and encouraging thing to see black men doing something positive.
Now, seeing black Caribbean men hard at work, enterprising, building their brand and being an example to others ….well….that’s not only positive but commendable and hella sexy!
Let me introduce you to a few of the men that dominate the Caribbean party promotions in NYC.
Shorblu has etched their name into the Caribbean market and have proven their commitment to providing signature upscale events that showcase the Caribbean culture, music and people.
JAY BLESSED: How did you guys come up with the name Shorblu?
CURTIS: The name was the brainchild of Shorne. He came to us with the name saying that he got inspired from the Shores of the Caribbean Islands and the Blue waters that caress it…lol…But in reality we knew he just used him name in there…lol
JAY BLESSED: Shorblu’s founding members are Curtis, Dre and Shorne, right? How did you guys even meet?
CURTIS: I met Shorne 6 years ago when he was doing the Friday afterwork event in the now defunct Eugene’s . Dre and I went to school together some 18 years ago in Poly ( Six form Government for those younger heads ) in Trinidad. He used to sit behind me and quote Sesame Street phrases or sing Sesame Street songs during class…lol
JAY BLESSED: Sesame Street? Sounds like you guys had a ton of fun in school! Tell me a little bit about each member.
Curtis: I’m the quieter one in the group. I only open up to friends and family. I like my private life to be private, hence I rarely take pictures for public galleries. Outside of ShorBlu work I usually keep to myself and my group of friends. I am a nerd at heart. I am always doing research on people, places, things. I am a very hands on sort of person and very detail and goal oriented. So much so that people sometimes think I am anal and snubbish …lol..but it’s not true, I’m just very particular.
DRE: I used to be quiet but gradually even though I’m still quite shy I am night and day better than I used to be. Can’t be doing promotion and not network and be willing to strike up conversation at will. Curtis might be a nerd in his own right but I consider myself a technology geek. I’m always up on the latest gadgets, tech and web. I’m also into photography, multimedia and web development. If you can’t tell by now I have a career in Technology.
JAY BLESSED: So Shorne resigned from the group. What’s the real reason behind Shorne leaving ShorBlu?
CURTIS: Shorne left to follow his heart and pursue his passion in the culinary arts. He’s a good Chef and God’s willing he will be great one day. It became hard juggling time between a chef’s working hours and maintaining a event planning business. So he decided to follow his heart and concentrate on becoming a great chef. There is no ill will between us, it was a business decision he made and we understood and respected it. No matter what, he is still, and always be, one of my closest friends and I wish him well.
JAY BLESSED: You’ve made a name in NYC with your weekly Thursday event – Vice. How long has it been existence?
CURTIS: 4 years and counting.
JAY BLESSED: Wow! Congrats on the success! What’s your most memorable VICE experience?
DRE: Watching DJ Back2Basics turn from being a DJ into a our very own “Pop Star,” so to speak. One night under the influence of non other than Uncle Johnny (Johnny Walker) off course we were at our old home in Aura. Party was in full swing and everyone was having a time. Ricardo (DJ Back 2 Basics) left the DJ Booth with the mic. Went on top of the speaker boxes and gave a Kes like performance! Real talk…. that dude could sing a soca tune and give real people a run for they money! Dude killed it and had the whole crowd following along and in a frenzy… Crazy!
CURTIS: Mine is Vice on the Thursday before Christmas 2007. We thought people might be doing last minute shopping and what not and figured it would not be a good night. By 7pm the place was mobbed with people and the line outside was about 100 people deep. A close friend of ours, who has there from the beginning, walked up to me and said “Don’t ever stop growing, keep pushing the envelope, the people need VICE to be around for years to come!”….and that is what we have been doing ever since.
JAY BLESSED: What is Shorblu’s objective within the Caribbean-American scene?
CURTIS: To break the stereotype. There is an unwritten hierarchy of desired demographics in the Manhattan circle. It’s starts with the Europeans and ends with Urban… Caribbean geared events are not even on the charts and most times they just group it as urban events, at best. Our goal is to change that view and show not only the Manhattan elite, but also people outside the US that you can have a great Caribbean event in Manhattan elite venues & other taboo places. Yes, we can be Wotless in Amnesia, trample it in Pranna and Palance in Union Square Ballroom while still being sexy and classy. Not because it’s Caribbean means it has to be a backyard event.
JAY BLESSED: Are you guys actively involved in anything else in the Caribbean community besides parties?
CURTIS: Not just the Caribbean community, but the community as a whole. We are a product of our environment and we cannot just take and not give back. This is how we were raised, to always give back and give generously, without asking or expecting anything in return. Like my grandmother always says, “Cast your bread upon waters and it will come back to you ten fold in many days.” It means always give without expecting return and when you least expect it, God will smile on you. So to that end we try to do many fundraising events and donations as we can. We have donated proceeds of our events to the St.Lucia Hurricane Relief Fund; We have donated canned good and money to the homeless shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan, We were involved with Natalie in the Haiti I’m Sorry event to raise funds for the earthquake victims. And every Thanksgiving morning, we get together and go to feed the homeless and those less fortunate than ourselves. Even on a smaller scale we try to help anyone who we see trying to make a difference, not just in our community, but in other communities or countries. Once we believe it’s a worthy cause we always lend a hand.
JAY BLESSED: Apart from Vice, Shorblu has been known to create very upscale Caribbean events. Tell us the names and dates.
CURTIS: All the names and dates ?…LOL…I’ll leave this to Dre to answer, cause our list of events varies year to year. There are staples like Sutra, Risque, Miami Vice and our popular VICE etc. We are always coming up with new ideas for events.
DRE: BluVino:: Wine & Music Festival – Saturday June 11th At Brooklyn Children’s Museum
JAY BLESSED: Last year I had the opportunity to attend the first ever BluVino, what can attendees look forward to this year?
CURTIS: We plan to build on what was successful from last year and fix what we didn’t like. Thus, expect more good wines, great music and outstanding venue filled with beautiful people. This time around we made the food complimentary and worked with our chef to create dishes that would pair well with all the wines on hand. We also are offering the wines for sale by the glass also this year, to accommodate those who don’t want to buy an entire bottle. On top of that we also included added a wine cocktail menu to the list. So people can have Mimosas, Bellini’s and sangrias.
JAY BLESSED: Last year it was later on in the summer, why the change in date? Was it the unbearable heat issue?
CURTIS: The heat was a consideration yes. We also have some other new events coming up in July and we didn’t want to overload the month with events, so we decided to bring up the date of BluVino by a month
JAY BLESSED: Who’s the wine connoisseur in the group?
CURTIS: That would be me. I love a good glass of wine. I love scotches also, but there is so much more diversity in wine. Johnnie Walker Blue will taste like a Johnnie Walker Blue, no matter what year it was bottled. But with wine, the year plays a large importance in the taste. A Merlot from the same vineyard in Chile, bottled in different years will have different totally different tastes.
JAY BLESSED: Indulge me, what are some of the wines that we’ll be tasting at BluVino?
CURTIS: Well seeing it’s the summer time, white wines are more in now. So We will have a German Riesling on display, California Chardonnay, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (one of my personal favorites ) and two Moscatos from the Bartenura line, including the new Sparkling Moscato Rose…I think that is enough to wet the palette for now…lol
JAY BLESSED: In one sentence give us a short promo for BluVino.
CURTIS: With all our events, we can only use one word to describe it, Different!
DRE: Our Events Speak For Themselves….