Talent on full display for virtual West Indian American Day Parade

NEW YORK (WABC) -- On Monday, the 53rd Annual West Indian American Day Carnival parade took place, but instead of filling Eastern Parkway with the colors, sounds, and tastes of the islands, the show went on virtually on Zoom.

The familiar beat and dance moves of West Indian culture were on display in a whole new way this year.

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The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the 53rd annual parade and carnival in-person.

Instead, a 12-hour event was produced in Brooklyn that included live and recorded performances and messages from government and community leaders.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked members of theCaribbean Americancommunity for their help in the fight against COVID.

"Even if we don't dance in the streets let us dance in our homes and let us dance in our hearts," Cuomo said.

And there was plenty of dancing.Those who linked to the event, and danced along, were highlighted throughout allowing people to feel connected.

"There are so many people in self-isolation having mental health issues and we just want today to be a day of festivity and fun and an expression of freedom and love. And it's back to love this year," West Indian American Day Carnival Association Vice President Rhea Smith said.

Typically more than a million people watch the parade weave its way through Brooklyn neighborhoods, many that have been hard hit by the coronavirus.

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Monday's virtual event was the safest option and a reminder to support each other.

"Yes we are hurting but as Caribbean people when we hurt we celebrate," Smith said.
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