For years Jouvert, the popular yearly melting pot of Houston’s various inhabitants who share blood ties to Caribbean communities, has had many a story told about it. Of the colors displayed, the fun shared by many of its goers and the complete chaos that occurs within it. Paint being thrown, multiple women scantily clad and draped in the colors of their homeland. A radio broadcaster likened it to a Caribbean Festival or Carnival in Brazil. “You’re gonna think you’re at the World Cup!” he said.

Last night however felt nothing like the beaches of Copacabana for attendees. The usual bickering and fighting takes place most years but last night proved far more violent. A shooting happened. Four men are injured, two women were trampled in the meele trying to leave the scene, the shooter is still at large.

Instead of Jouvert maintaining its position as a “you had to have been there” party, it’s now marred by this one incident.


Jouvert in 2013 (The Box Houston)

The concept of Jouvert was to bring the traditional J’ouvert celebrations Trinidad & Tobago to Houston, an already large melting pot of people. It’s seen as the direct, in-your-face and raucous cousin to the iFest which is held every year in the Spring. It’s now reduced to headlines about being a crime scene and too dangerous for the general public.

There’s no real idea of what went wrong last night, how someone was allowed to bring a gun inside of a venue that held 5,000 people trying to party on the Fourth of July. There are reports of their being outside security and off-duty police officers but none of the 30 or so that were hired were inside the venue when the shooting took place.

What’s going to occur more than likely are questions being asked, tons of them. There’s going to be outrage, both faux and realized from people who either went or have badmouthed the event because it’s “too ratchet”, “too overcrowded”, “too wild”, etc. Some are going to bring up the youth for not knowing how to police themselves and some are even going to call for stricter security or even the shuttering of the entire event all together.

There’s going to be all-caped out Facebook posts, but no real calls for change. Community organizers are going to hold press conferences and the promoters are going to be held to a stake for endangering the lives of so many people. The police are going to be befuddled and angered because they don’t have many witnesses to the shooting due to people trying to run away from the shooting and at the end of it all, we’re going to be left with the thought of why should we even come back?

For years the festival has gone on without incident. Now all we’re going to be left to hear is how disorganized it is due to the actions of a select few. Congrats, we’ve just added to the demonization of black events — all because violence seems to be the quickest answer.