She has set her eyes on Hollywood and is not stopping till
she gets there. Racquel Weekes is a dramatist/poet/musician
and model who was recently called the next Angela Bassett
by judges at a local screening for the World Championship
of Performing Arts to be held in Hollywood, California later
Thirty-year-old Weekes, who has been involved in the performing
arts since she was six years old, was presented with the
opportunity to fulfil her life-long desire of showing her
skills in the movie capital in November 2005.
Born and bred in Diego Martin, Weekes spent her teen years
at Corpus Christi Convent competing in poetry and public
speaking contests, never letting those chances to show her
talents pass by. It seems her competitive nature has paid
After years of hoping and praying for her Hollywood break,
Weekes finally got her chance when she stood in front of
various judges from the entertainment industry who ventured
to T&T to select a team for the championships. The judges
included international agents, managers, producers, casting
directors and record label reps.
Locally based entertainment and modelling agency, Carivog
International, in collaboration with World Championships
of Performing Arts, hosted the local leg of the competition.
Weekes and Patti Ann Ali, daughter of former Rikki Tikki
host Ian Ali, emerged two of the top winners of the night.
They are also being awarded partial scholarships to The
School for Film and Television in New York and entry into
the World Championship of Performing Arts.
The competition has been held for the last ten years and
draws over 700 delegates including singers, dancers, actors,
comedians, models, bands, instrumentalists, even jugglers
and magicians from approximately 40 countries.
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in each category
and dozens of up and coming performers are even cast or
contracted for various roles and gigs by the influential
T&T has competed on two occasions prior to this and
just last year, The Petrotrin Boodoosingh Tassa group brought
home gold in the musical instrument category.
I may compete in more than one category in the competition
as the judges realised my strength and passion lie a lot
in drama, said Weekes.
Drama is actually what knocked the door to Hollywood right
open to Weekes. After executing a 90-second dramatic monologue
from Tyler Perrys movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
at the local leg of the competition, the young actress said
she was commended by the panel of international judges.
But just as some of our sporting heroes face problems on
their road to gold, so is the doe-eyed, multi-talented Weekes.
Going to Hollywood to compete is not free, there are
matters of airfare, accommodation and ground transport once
you are there and I am hoping this story will help the corporate
world to see the vision, drive and potential of our performers.
It would be nice if they got involved and sponsored
someone, it is about 100 of us and these championships present
real opportunities for us to be recognised internationally
and help put T&T on the map just like our cricketers,
swimmers and footballers do.
Weekes believes that like sports, the arts are important
to our society and will help make T&T more known on
the global scene. It will also add to our social and economical
development as it presents yet another reservoir of career
paths for the youths to choose from, she also felt.
It is difficult being a full-time performer in T&T,
instead of spending our hours developing our talents and
strengthening our selves, which will in turn strengthen
society, we are busy doing the nine to five game.
said Weekes, who is also a certified marketing specialist.
For Weekes, her talent is all natural, not learned. A devout
Christian, who believes that God has blessed her with talent,
Weekes first realised her love for performing when she began
acting in church skits.
Its all self-taught, I watch television and
look at international artistes, their singing styles and
acting but its nothing I have officially studied.
I love Lauryn Hill, Anita Baker and Whitney Houston. I feed
off of their styles but I add a bit of me with it and thats
what makes me original and evolving. As I grow as a person,
so does my art.
She also credits her mother and her pastor from La Puerta
Pentecostal, Ms Horsford for pushing and supporting her
in all her ventures.
I know some may question how a Christian thinks she
can make it in Hollywood with all the sex scenes and the
what not, but I will be cautious and I will not take roles
that compromise my integrity. People may say I am thinking
far ahead but you have to if you dont want to get
swept away by the fast-paced entertainment industry.
I look at Denzel Washington as an inspiration. He
is driven and takes demanding roles but he is never indecent.
I intend to win Oscars, I intend to be big but I dont
intend to compromise myself, I dont believe women
should ever do that. We are doing it less and less today
and I love that.
It is really time for us to take the world by storm
and I intend to do my part through the arts, Weekes