Carnival lover, Events Manager, workaholic and cricket enthusiast, 31-year-old Krystal Yvonne Jean Baptiste is doing it all and she’s loving every moment of it. She lives unapologetically, takes nothing for granted and simply wants to be the best version of herself.
Born a carnival baby, Krystal has been involved in mas most of her life. Her carnival “career” began when she was just thirteen years old as a section leader in Royalites Carnival Bandunder the mentorship of “Aunty Patsy” (Patsy Ritchie). Later she would move on to Red International Carnival Band (now Red Unlimited Carnival Band).
After spending years in the band, working her way up the ranks as section leader and later becoming part of management, Krystal, in 2016, decided to part ways with Red Unlimited.
Her brainchild ‘Fuzion Mas’ would come shortly after.
Says Krystal: “In 2016 I moved on and launched Fuzion Mas, my baby; my vision of what carnival should be after being in it for so long and seeing that it so needed an evolution.”
But this was no spur-of-the-moment idea; this was something which was well thought out—taking the fourth place spot their first time around, was just the icing on the cake for Fuzion Mas.
“I’ve been dabbling with the idea for a while and finally, I decided I was ready,” the “Fuzionista” said, adding that it all started with her brother, who is her business partner.
But though they’ve only been out for just over a year, Fuzion has been making waves even before the band “had one reveller on the road.”
Says Krystal, “We’ve done activities prior to us ever being on the road and we have our merchandise which sells like nothing.”
Speaking on what inspired the name of the band, the mas lover said, “After many years of some members of my current team telling me that I needed to do my own thing, I said I have two conditions: I need a name that is not controversial and one that does not divide.”
And finally, they came up with the name ‘Fuzion Mas’.
The reason,she explained, was because they wanted to fuse the best elements of traditional mas with the best elements of contemporary mas.
“We attempt to do that by supporting local designers in our band every year to the best of our abilities. Last year, we had Taribba Joan do Nascimento (‘Meme Bete’) and this year we have up-and-coming designer Jesse Mitchel. We’ve also maintained The Derek Yarde Project(DYP), a live band,” she said, adding that the band has also promoted the ‘Dennery Segment’ heavily.
Their contemporary version of mas includes designers from Trinidad as well as a number of foreign disc jockeys.
Her heart is embedded in many things: especially events management, cricket and of course carnival.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s Convent, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Trent University and the World Trade Institute (University of Bern), Krystal took an interest in Events Management at an early age.
She wasn’t like most thirteen year olds. At that age, she was section leader in a carnival band and was also planning how to launch successful teen events.
At 31, she is now the Project Coordinator for the World T20 Women’s Tournament; her career path is baffling to some.
“On paper I should be a lawyer or diplomat,” Krystal, who doubled majored in International Development Studies and Hispanic Studies with an emphasis in International Political Economy and who also has a certificate in Project Management said.
“People always ask me how can you study one thing and do another; I actually think cricket is directly linked to what I study surprisingly enough. When I did International Development Studies, the key thing was uniting the region. People think of regionalism as in policy and government agencies but what happened to joining the Caribbean through sports? That’s one thing every Caribbean island has in common because there are people from every island representing this one region,” she said passionately.
When she started, she knew nothing about cricket she admitted, stating that she also thought the sport was incredibly boring back then.
“After I graduated in 2009, my first cricket job was as aProject Assistant for the World T20 Tournament. At that time I knew nothing about cricket but I was an events person. As much as I didn’t know the game, doing an event, that I knew, was second nature. I didn’t go to school for it but I had enough experience and of course I learned the game and fell in love with it,” Krystal, now the biggest cricket fan, said.
Later, she would become a Venue Operations Manager for the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL).
The job, like many others, presented a few challenges.
“I was a 26-year-old female in a male dominated area who had never been in local cricket except for that tournament that I did one off years prior and now I was manager—not everyone welcomed the idea,” she shared.
She continued: “There were a few naysayers but I did a hell of a job. In my head I was like what nobody could take away from me is doing an event. I have been doing this long enough so as much as I was hearing that, I knew my work would speak for itself.”
Three years later, she would move on and go on to work as a Marketing Investor Relations Officer in Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.
Fast forward to today, and she is now the Project Coordinator for the World T20 Women’s Tournament, a job which requires her to move to Antigua.
Naturally, ‘Fuzion Mas’ her “baby”, was one of the first things that came to mind when she was offered the job.
Says Krystal, “I’m confident in the people that I work with and I know that they are able to do the job and I will still be present after all—all it takes is a WhatsApp chat room.”
And come carnival season, Krystal will be in Saint Lucia rain or shine. Simply because, “there’s nothing sweeter than that!”
And when I asked her “Why cricket?”
She responded, “Why not?”
Says Krystal, “I chose making people happy, I chose events, I chose music, I chose bacchanal, I chose culture; that’s what I chose. I always tell people I will only do a job I love.”
And as for her legacy? “I have not given it much thought actually; I don’t’ approach things with the conscious focus to leave a legacy—I just do what I love, what I am passionate about to the best of my abilities and if it leaves an indelible mark, great!” Krystal said.