Dec. 12, 2005 Jose Navarro, a 16-year-old junior at St. Croix Central High, has captured the Junior Calypso crown for the second year in row.
In front of a packed house at the Island Center for the Performing Arts Sunday evening and under cloudy skies, Navarro joined 24 young calypsonians who strutted their stuff, belting out social and political commentary to an appreciative audience.
The event was a production of calypso singer and songwriter Camille "King Derby" Macedon, who founded Calypso Inc. in 1980. Sunday's show was the 25th annual competition.
Singing under the stage name of the "Mighty TNL", Navarro, dressed in his royal cape and crown, captured the judges' attention with a song cautioning adults to leave a better world for the children. During his rendition, Navarro made two quick changes, first into a graduation cap and gown and then into a white coat and hard hat. The outfits emphasized points in his song to graduate college and begin a career in architecture his future goals.
In the song, Navarro also credited his father, Kassan Baptiste, for his achievements so far in life. At one point Baptiste appeared on stage near the end of the song and the two embraced.
Navarro will compete for the Mr. St. Croix crown on Sunday, Dec. 18. (See Two Young Men Vying for Mr. St. Croix Title.)
Navarro is the reigning Mr. CHS, and has held the titles of Mr. African Heritage, Mr. FBLA, Festival Prince and VI/PR Prince.
In a recent interview, Navarro said his goal is to attain 10 crowns competing in various events.
The show featured four divisions of singers, from three years old to 16.
The smallest of the calypsonians sang about topics most important to them. Gislyn Belardo, 6, singing under the name of "Lady Spunky" belted out these lyrics "My mother and father they are nice to me. When it's my birthday they give me a party," while doing her dance moves.
When "Empress K," three-year-old Keturah Nelson, appeared on stage the audience reacted with delight. Nelson's song featured the same refrain sung several times "My mother and father said I can do anything, la, la, la."
"Ninja Queen," also known as Najah Gonsalves, 8, admitted in her song to not being such a good girl in school but wanting to do better. She sang "Teacher I love you, now I realize I gon' be a nice child," while prancing up and down the stage in a glittery denim outfit accented by ruffled madras print and madras covered knee high boots.
"Island Ice," Khalil James, 11, wrote his own song for the competition. Dressed in a chef's outfit topped with a blue apron and a tall chef's hat, James had the audience in stitches as he sang about his favorite dish. "I love chicken. Nobody touch my chicken," he sang. The crowd howled with laughter when James pulled an oversized chicken leg from his pocket to emphasize his point.
As the ages of the contestants got older, the social commentary became more pointed. Contestants decried the condition of schools, the litter around the islands and crime and violence.
In her song, 13-year-old "Sweet LuLu," Risheema Burke, sang, "Young boys playing with guns for toys. We need a solution to help this generation."
Demaris Belardo, 12, performing as "Queen Terror," sang about the poor condition of the schools. "Mommy, I 'fraid to dead, the roof may fall on my head," she sang.
Chantal Barnes, 15, daughter of calypsonian Campbell "King Kan Fu Plentae" Barnes, singing as "Princess Kan Fu Plentae," said she had a hard time coming up with something new to sing for the show. "It's the same old thing. The government ain't got no money, the treasury is broke. I could take my song from years ago and sing it, 'cause it's the same old thing."
Shauna Webber, 12 singing as "Lady Sashy," talked about litter in her rendition. "To be clean was a priority, this used to be America's Paradise, now it's a dirty paradise," she sang. Webber put the blame directly on the residents. "The more they clean, the more we make a mess," she intoned.
Here is a complete list of the Junior Calypso contest winners:
Pee Wee division ages 3 to 6
Winner: "Calypso Dee Dee," Dajah Bruno, 6
First Runner up: "Lady Spunky," Gislyn Belardo,6
Second Runner up: Island Storm," Zion James, 6
Also competing: "Empress K," Keturah Nelson, 3
Pee Wee II division ages 7 to 9
Winner: "Ninja Queen," Najah Gonsalves, 8
First Runner up: "Lady Florence," D Andra Benjamin 9
Second Runner up: "Lady Nia," Nia Weeks, 9
"Irie Tyrie," Tywreh Nelson, 8
"Island Fire," Carl Michael James, 8
"Uncle Nathan," Maurice Liddi, 9
Intermediate division, ages 10 11
Winner: "Calypso Princess," Kayla Galloway, 11
First Runner up: "Lady Kish," Kishuana Webber, 10
Second Runner up: "Lady Pray," Marianella Phillips, 10
"Sweet Butterfly," Khadija Crosbie, 10
"Island Ice," Khalil James, 11
"Lady Lovely," Kafeelia Caesar, 11
"Lady Stretch," Keveesha Wattley, 10
Junior Division, ages 12 – 16
Winner: "Mighty TNL," Jose Navarro, 16
First Runner up: "Island Shadow," Trevon Nelson, 14
Second Runner up: "Queen Terror," Demaris Belardo, 12
"Sweet LuLu," Risheema Burke, 13
"Lord Big Shirt," Steve Douglas, 14
"Princess Kan Fu Plentae," Chantal Barnes, 15
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.