Paynesville — President George Manneh Weah has joined scores of Liberians at home and abroad in applauding La Queen Entertainment and partners, the lead organizers of the first ever Liberian carnival in Monrovia.
The all cultural extravaganza, began with a grand parade through the streets of Monrovia on Saturday, December 19, and climaxed at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville with captivating cultural performances.
Traditional cultural and mask dancers, representing the various counties, dressed in colorful costumes dramatized the Liberian way of life through dances and songs, while some of the country's leading musical artists wooed the crowd with their best and latest hits.
President Weah lauded La Queen Entertainment and its CEO, Miss Wokie Dolo, and Ambassador Kekurah Kamara, President of the Liberia Cultural Union and head of the Malawala Balawala Group for their innovation and pledged his continuous support to any effort geared toward promoting the country's cultural values.
The President noted that the ceremony was a unique and innovative way of uniting Liberians using their culture, while also developing artistic talents and improving the country's economy.
The President called on Liberians to emulate the example of the organizers by taking pride in their cultural heritage, and expressed hope that the event will grow from strength to strength and become an annual affair, as the idea resonates with more people.
Speaking at the main entrance of the SKD Sports complex, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Zeogar Wilson also commended the organizers and announced that the Ministries of Youth and Sports and Internal Affairs will partner with La Queen Entertainment and partners to make the carnival as part of the pre-tournament activity of Liberia's biggest sporting event- the National County Sports meet.
On behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we say thanks to Miss Wokie Dolo and the organizers of this first ever carnival. The make this an annual event and as a sign of appreciation, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Internal Affairs will collaborate with the organizers to make this as a pre-tournament event for the County Meet," Minister Wilson revealed.
Miss Dolo, mounting the podium with her stunning costume, thanked those who attended for embracing the event and called on Liberians to unite and promote their rich cultural heritage.
Thousands of Liberians at home and abroad, watching the event, which was streamed live on various social media platforms lauded the organizers for the event, with some openly pledging their support.
"This is what we call patriotism. This act of innovation showcasing Liberia's rich cultural values will forever be remembered. Thank you and may God bless you, La Queen and partners," writes Maylene Boakai, a viewer who claimed she was watching from the United States of America.
Another viewer, Alexander Gray adds: "Thanks to the organizers for the great display of our beautiful culture. We hope this will attract national attention to make this an annual event in Liberia to unite and reconcile our beloved country."
At a joint news conference prior to the event, the CEO of LA Queen, reigning Miss Liberia 2017, Wokie Dolo and the President of the Liberia National Cultural Union, Kekura Kamara revealed that the event, which has been months in the making, was all about showcasing Liberia's culture including its arts and crafts.
"The essence of the Liberian Carnival- the overall goal is unity. Promoting unity is the overall goals and objective because without unity, there will be no development. So, the first mindset is unity," Mis Dolo averred.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Kamara underscored the importance of the event, saying the carnival is taking place at the time Liberians are just returning from a special senatorial elections which has fueled some level of division among the citizens.
"It is important at this time because we are just coming from the elections. It is time to come together and celebrate Liberia through our culture, healing the wounds of the elections, bringing peace and national reconciliation. Because at the end of the day, we got only one country, Liberia," Mr. Karmara said.
Kamara, who became a household name following his popular Malawala Balawala television series in the 1980s, said the Liberian Carnival will invoke the spirit of oneness and appreciate the nation's rich cultural heritage that was once cherished and celebrated in the past. He said the festival will also inspire the young generation to embrace the country's unique cultural values.
He thanked the lead organizer, LA Queen Entertainment and its CEO for the effort and sacrifice in the planning of the event.
"It is the first of its kind in Liberia. For many years, I have not seen something like this. It used to happen way back in the '60s and '70s during July 26 Independence Day celebration," he added.
"I think we need to bring it back. In this post-war era, we must continue to bring our people together. We must preserve and develop our culture. That's our identity. There is a big saying that a country without culture is like a big tree without a root."