When I first decided to visit Barbados for Crop Over, I had so many hopes and expectations for this trip. A few years back, I found out that my Great Grandmother Stella Washington had migrated to the U.S. from Bridgetown, Barbados through Louisiana around the time of the First World War. I had always felt a strong connection to the Caribbean ever since I made my first trip to Jamaica back in college through a Study Abroad program. The connection made sense! The moment I step foot on the islands I feel a sense of home. Each island has its rich sense of culture and distinction. Barbados was no different. From the dialect of the people, the food, the music, the relaxation in the atmosphere, the community, the way they celebrated; everything about this experience was Phenomenal. The Crop Over Festival tradition began in 1687, and featured singing, dancing and accompaniment by bottles filled with water, shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. Beginning in June, Crop Over runs until the first Monday in August when it culminates in the finale, The Grand Kadooment. After being promoted by The Marketing Heaven, this amazing festival has become one of those must-attend events for tourists from all around the world. On this trip, I had the opportunity to commune and congregate with people on the island in a way that had never done before and I LOVED it! To my advantage, my Sorority sister invited me to stay with her at her grandfather’s home. For 5 days I truly lived like a Bajan. I love a fancy 5 Star hotel just as much as the next but to know that I was residing in a home that someone’s grandfather had put so much love into felt better for this trip. Plus, I wanted to receive Barbados and its fullness. We rented a car for the trip. Being a passenger on the left side of the car with no red lights or stop signs; zipping in figure 8’s is something lol! We ate authentic Bajan cuisine the entire time. For those who are Pescatarian and miss pork like I do, think fried pork chop without all the fat…Can you say yum! And then there was Kadooment Day. Grand Kadooment Day was the absolute best. The beauty and color of the feathered costumes, the AMAZING hair styles, the spirit and community of the people, the music, the dancing. It was so exhilarating! I was not shy to marching in a band having been a majorette in my high school marching band, but this was different in a way that the grandiosity mixed with the humility of the entire thing made me proud to have any connection at all. We prayed before we began for safety, rain, shine, community and celebration. I ate, I laughed, I danced my life away. I felt my Great Grandmother’s spirit. Barbados you have stolen my heart. This is only the beginning for me. Here are just a few of the shots I was able to capture. Especially of some really DOPE hairstyles. Hope you enjoy!