"When I think of Mas
, one of the first words that comes to mind is freedom. For me, there's nothing more liberating than being myself, living in my truth, and embracing all the aspects that make up who I am,” says Tennesse Biswah to Unbothered, who goes by she/her pronouns. “I want them to see and know they're not alone, and we're in it together. It's our responsibility as queer Caribbean people
to encourage others to feel free to be themselves as well." Biswah is, of course, referring to Caribbean Carnival and the long, centuries-old tradition of “playing mas”
, which sees individuals assume roles of traditional characters and adorn themselves in ornate costumes to march and dance alongside carnival bands. From its origins in Trinidad to the parade routes on Kadooment Day in Barbados
to London’s Notting Hill
, “Mas” is an honored feature of Caribbean Carnivals; however, as time passed, I observed that there was no photo series dedicated to capturing queer individuals who participate in Mas or those who have refrained from doing so due to concerns about acceptance. Given that Mas is widely recognized as a form of expression and liberation, it seemed only fitting to create a platform for those who have felt marginalized.