Keyanna Bell – the Face of the Festival

By Lincoln DePradine

Keyanna Bell

Keyanna Bell knows and understands the music and dancing and all the fun of the carnival, which originated in Trinidad and the Eastern Caribbean, and was exported to the City of Toronto as “Caribana’’ in 1967.

However, she wants to highlight more than just the visuals of the celebrations, as the official brand ambassador, or “The Face of the Festival’’, for the 2023 Toronto Caribbean Carnival (TCC).

“The history and the significance of this carnival is so much deeper than just putting on a costume and jumping on the road,’’ said Bell, who studied journalism at Seneca College and also graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto.

Bell is a digital marketing specialist who offers help with social media management, email marketing and copywriting.

In her social media profile, she says she assists people “who often are busy entrepreneurs in the real estate industry, manage their online presence, so they can focus on building their business’’.

In their annual search for a brand ambassador, TCC officials would invite applications from interested candidates.

Bell’s video pitch for the role of “The Face of the Festival’’ was impressive. She was particularly pleased, she said, when she was commended by Trinidad-born storyteller and retired librarian Dr Rita Cox, who has been part of the 56 years of carnival masquerading in Toronto.

“She told me that when she saw my application video to become ‘The Face of the Festival’, said Bell, “that she was proud. Her praises meant so much to me.’’

Keyanna Bell and Dr Rita Cox

Bell describes herself as “a lover of music’’ and a “proud’’ person of Caribbean heritage.

“I’m so honoured to be able to represent a festival that means so much to me,’’ Bell said.

As “The Face of the Festival’’, said Bell, “I’m grateful to be able to do my part and help push the culture forward’’.

The “push’’, for her, includes educating young people about the “real meaning’’ behind carnival.

“All Caribbean carnivals are a celebration of our triumph over oppression. And so, one of the things for me, is for young people to know that and learn more about that,’’ said Bell. “My goal, of being The Face of the Festival, I hope that I’ll be able to facilitate a conversation around the history and the roots of carnival.’’