When I went to San Miguel Arena on Friday, July 5th I knew nothing about J’Ouvert or the Caribbean community in Houston. Once I arrived, I saw swarms of black people pouring into the streets from every direction, with cars parked on the sidewalks, in grassy fields, the driveways of surrounding homes and businesses, or anywhere a car could fit without the guarantee of being towed before sunrise. Thousands of men, women, boys and girls anxiously shuffled towards the single arena entrance, the majority of them dressed as if they were headed to the beach, with tank tops, flip-fops and swimsuits. But there were no lakes or oceans nearby, only the sea of black bodies flooding in and around the stadium walls. I’ve been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and I’ve been in Brazil post-Carnival, but I had never seen such an enthusiastic turnout of the black community for a single festival. Inside I was immediately greeted by the bouncing rhythm or reggae music blasting from a truck piled 20 feet high with speakers, and around it people were grooving, some of them rolling on the ground carelessly and others dancing in groups with their faces speckled with different colors of paint and their hair white from sprinkles of baby powder.