Soca Music and Moral Decadence

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
March 25, 2008

SocaAs quiet as it is kept, Trinbagonians seem to be in long-term denial that there is a direct correlation between Soca music and moral decadence in TnT. As of this writing, the evidence is very clear and convincing that immorality and public sexual vulgarity have surpassed the nadir of their bottomless pit.

Indeed, there was a time “back-in-the-day” when “smut” in Calypso was respectful of and to women; this genre of popular music not only contained a serious, message-oriented story-line but any sexual behavior/activity was also implicit and left to the imagination.

Today, however, in the era of Soca music, sexuality and rudeness, albeit “smut”, are in your face, raw, explicit and up close and personal. Nothing is left to the imagination, period.

From a comparative point of view, when Sparrow sang “Mae Mae”, one could have visualized/imagined Sparrow picking up this respected “girl” named Mae Mae at the railway in Port-of-Spain and both of them took a taxi “straight to Claxton Bay.”

The story-line allowed one’s imagination to visualize both of them laying on the carpet and then Mae Mae started “catching fits”. One could also imagine the nature of the sexual act in which they were engaged when in the heat of passion Mae Mae groans and moans: “yuh making meh feel so weak, stop Sparrow stop—stop dat.”

At the end of their sexual escapade, Sparrow deduces that when “ah man finish, I think is foolish to play lickrish”; ergo, as the true gentleman that he is, Sparrow humbly and respectfully suggests that Mae Mae should take the remainder of the rum and give it to her “man” when she got home.

This was civilized, respectful, moralized and enjoyable “smut” in Calypso at its zenith. The lyrics did not demean, devalue nor dehumanize Mae Mae; she was treated as a lady even though she was “picked up” by Sparrow. She was not treated like a piece of meat sans human dignity and moral value/worth.

In a similar vein, when Kitchener sang “Sugar Bum Bum”, the lady involved named Audrey, was treated with utmost respect and human dignity. There was a clear story-line in the Calypso in terms of the sexual act in which they were engaged. One could have imagined Kitchener’s enjoyment of Audrey’s “sugar” to the extent that it made him “feel ten feet tall.”

The lyrics of “Sugar Bum Bum” did not demean, devalue nor dehumanize Audrey; she was also treated as a lady. In addition, the lyrics did not conjure up in the mind of male Trinbagonians that they should wine behind the bum bum of the first woman that passes by. Men kept their “rocket” in their “pocket” after listening to the tune; it was morally enjoyable.

The significant point that is being made here is that the lyrics of these two Calypsos did not precipitate any scintilla of publicly explicit, lewd, sexually immoral, vulgar, pelvic gyrating behavior by and from Trinbagonians. On the contrary, Trinbagonians basically listened to and totally enjoyed these Calypsos rather than act out their implicit, hidden sexual message. These Calypsos had a moral modem of their own.

Sadly and ironically, the same moral tone does not hold true in the case of Soca music. The fact of the matter is that Soca music and its lyrics precipitate and bring out the publicly lewd, explicit, sexually immoral, vulgar, pelvic gyrating behavior by and from Trinbagonians. Nothing is left to the imagination.

The fact of the matter is that a typical Soca song has absolutely no serious story-line but is replete with sexually inspired/driven/laden reactions. In essence, the behavioral reactions to Soca music and its lyrics represent the simulation of public sexual intercourse in front and behind by adults with clothes on.

More specifically, when one listens to Soca music today, sexual, pelvic gyration and winin’ are automatic, conscious reactions. Lyrics and story-line become totally irrelevant.

Soca music today is such that instead of presenting a descent, respectful skit to render a song, the Soca artiste comes on stage armed with a “wuka man”—“every body wukin, wukin.” Needless to say, every “hip” Trinbagonian, including the average young child, already knows the real sexual translation of the word “wukin.” Who is fooling whom, my fellow Trinbagonians? Let’s get real.

What’s the message these adult Soca artistes are giving to our young, impressionable and ever attentive children?

At this crucial immoral juncture, this writer totally refuses to give any copy to the annual tasteless, disgusting, denigrating, demeaning, disgraceful and induced-vomiting but sold-out “international Soca monarch competition”— public pornography by adults with clothes on.

The poignant question that comes to the fore is: Does Soca music represent any modicum of progress in TnT’s musical repertoire? This question must be couched within the context of human behavior and values. It must also be clearly understood that music not only represents a people’s module for entertainment but, most importantly, it also reflects their values and moral codes/standards of behavior in every sphere.

The fact of the matter is that the physical reaction to Soca music is nothing more than public porn performed by adults with clothes on, period. It is at this immoral juncture that moral decadence in TnT rears its ugly head.

Furthermore, this moral decadence is also omnipresent on the TV screen on Carnival days—public pornography by adults with skimpy clothes on. And, of course, in typical Trini denial syndrome, the raison d’etre for such public immoral pornographic behavior is that Trinbagonians want “to free up”. Give me a break, please!

The fact of the matter is that in the heydays of Calypsos, children were advised/admonished to “go to school and learn well”; however, in today’s Soca music hype, apparently, children are conditioned to go to school and learn how to wine well.

The stark reality is that children observe, admire and adore adults who publicly gyrate and wine to Soca music in $3,000 plus bikini costumes on Carnival days “as if they never christen”; then, these children return the favor and act out, duplicate and xerox this same adult, public lewd, sexual, pelvic gyrating, immoral, vulgar behavior in their school uniforms at school via cell phone pornography at $5 a frame.

“Monkey see, monkey do.” What’s the problem? Soca music made the adults and young school children do it, period.

However, the scary scenario is that all this Soca music-inspired/driven immoral madness and “wukin” are taking place amidst the reality that 60 per cent of newly infected HIV/AIDS cases are among Trinbagonians 15-34 years of age. “This is madness, total madness.”

The truism is that on the one hand, no sane Trinbagonian would dare deny that Soca music focuses on, emphasizes and zeroes in on the use of a woman’s “second brain” with all its multi-dimensional, multi-faceted and multi-circular oceanic attributes and skills while on the other hand, it not only diminishes but also relates the use of a woman’s “first brain” as an exercise in moral futility to the nth degree.

In the final analysis, it seems logical to conclude that in its present lyrical format/structure, Soca music is the overt transmission belt and/or medium of exchange for the ubiquitous existence and prevalence of sexual promiscuity and moral decadence in TnT.

The responsibility now rests squarely and directly on the shoulders of all Soca artistes to turn this immoral, decadent values clock back in a moral direction—young people, albeit children, are looking, watching and imitating. Show them that you care, please.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

http://www.trinicenter.com/kwame/2008/2503.htm

20 Responses to “Soca Music and Moral Decadence”


  • I was an innocent country girl growing into womanhood when
    “Mr. Benwood Dick” was popular, and until I saw it performed, I had no idea why we were not supposed to sing it in my family. I have written before, in another forum, on Sparrow’s denigration of women in “Cock-a rooster”, “Congo Man” ,”Mabel” and others.

    Sparrow, when asked about it by others, not me, pointed to the sexual implications of Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night”- they would be making love before the night was through, and even at that remote time, “making love” meant having sexual intercourse.

    So here we have another example of Dr Nantambu denigrating the culture of contemporary music, and saying it makes the kids rotten, wutless and so on, by implication.

    Now in 1984, recently returned home to live(I thought), I was walking along Duke Street West, past Richmond Street Boys EC School. Three young fellas, they looked about ten to twelve, meagre, slightly hungry looking, with the kind of dinge that some children have when there are not enough nutrients in their diet, were walking in front of me. Their conversation had to do with “wanting some of that.” Foolish me thought maybe one had bought a sugar cake or something, or had some plums in his pocket.
    I was the “that” that he wanted some of. After the first flush of realizing that it was me they were speaking of, I had the strongest urge to bash their heads together, I was so angry. Better sense prevailed, and I looked at these meagre children, over whom I towered
    by at least a foot, and shook my head in disgust.

    Was soca music a factor? That was before “The Hammer” became the big hit.

    Sociologists know that preternatural sexual behaviour occurs in young men when there is no firm father figure in the house. This has also been demonstrated with elephant herds. The mind and body seem to compensate for the absense ,by young men early developing an acute interest in sex, and perhaps the secondary sexual characteristics that go with it. The secondary sexual characteristics, and their return to dormancy have been observed in elephants. Disrespect for women has always been part of the culture. ask the boys, now greyhaired men, who sat on the railing of the Arima Savanna daily, just to harrass women passing by. ask the men who hung out in the taxi stand near the Holiday Inn on wrightson Road, ask any yong woman who liooks nice, trying to walk the street alone, even going home from church.

    How old was the writer of the piece, I wonder, when he took his first peek into a “dirty?” magazine, which I am certain was forbidden in his house also? 9? 11? 12?

    Our music has gone through many forms. It was always dirty, suggestive and full of sexual inuendoes. Today, the music reflects the world-wide culture. The young lady who made a fool of herself at Zen last year was not acting out soca music.

    The whores who flock to TnT illegally and are housed in hotels for profit, by businessmen of every ethnic group, and keep coming despite deportation, are not acting that way because of soca music.
    They are acting that way because it is profitable. So waht does it profit young men to disrespect women? What did it profit Sparrow to sing of it?

    In my father’s house, we heard much on the radio, but did not dare sing them. Today, there is no father in most of our houses, and the mother who may be working two jobs, or no job at all, has her hands full, and responds to a different set of stimuli than her child listening to music. Gunshots are likelier to get her attention, and have a detrimental effect.

  • Sparrow and Kitchener sang just as much smut as the soca artistes today. They were just to foundation for the ones that are already here. Whether they sign suggestively or explicitly its still both wrong. It’s just like telling people soft-porn is more socially acceptable than hardcore. Its like outlawing internet porn but setting up brothels around every corner. Carnival in an of itself is know to produce lust, rapes, abortions, unwanted pregnancies, STD’s and such the like. So if we want to ban this kind of music, we need to ban carnival also. And if we ban carnival also, lets also ban passa passa and all the other fetes and parties that go on throughout the year.

    The root of this problem is SIN. SIN brings the judgment of God on a nation, and sin has consequences. SIN is where we break God’s law. When we want to do things our way, this is the end result and we reap what we sow and we affect others in the process. The Bible says: The only remedy for it is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (before it it too late) It’s a heart problem and the heart of the issue is SIN and the heart of the solution is Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh.

  • “The root of this problem is SIN. SIN brings the judgment of God on a nation, and sin has consequences. SIN is where we break God’s law. When we want to do things our way, this is the end result and we reap what we sow and we affect others in the process. The Bible says: The only remedy for it is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (before it it too late) It’s a heart problem and the heart of the issue is SIN and the heart of the solution is Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh.” – destinycreature

    Perfectly said – the only answer is to turn to Christ and Biblical living

  • moral decadence???????????

    dont you people mean your interpretation of what is right or not………hypocrites for judges………

    cuz u dont like it that mean it bad.long after u self righteous people they would talk of greatness, much like the struggles of those in the past. the wisdom can only be appreciated by those who are yet to come..history not you people will be the judge………….

  • We only like these things if it isn’t our daughter or wife being ridiculed and made a mockery of. The people are not being judgemental, just pointing out the real cause of the problem. They are also being quite constructive in their criticism by offering the solution. There is none so blind as those who will not see…

  • As in life there is always interpretation. This is your interpretation. However, there are soca that has nothing to do with smut or decadence as you put it. There are songs by Machel, Kes, Nadia Baston, Shurwayne, Maximus Dan, to name a few that are uplifting that reminds other of the beauty of our loving Twin Isles and the way we live. Difference with Soca is it touches on all aspects of the world we live in and it is up to the listener to extract what he wants from the music. You cant blame Soca for what is going on now and simply ignore corrupt politicians and police and the world we in now to for decadence. Relativity is the key word here. what Sparrow and them fellas was singing is no different to what these guys singing. That is like compare kids today to kids of yesteryear. Different times. This is the land of Oil and Music breds.

  • This is a world wide problem and the root of the problem is a lack of focus on Yahweh (God). When we fail to recognize and follow his laws, follow Christ, we fail as a people. If we do not eat the bread of life on a daily basis we rush to other things that make us feel alive like lust, money, shiny toys from cars to jewelry, power over others,etc. The fallen angel was a music major and he used his voice and his beauty to manipulate those that fell with him and he is still doing it today. I do not speak as a hypocritical Christian. I speak as a Christian woman disgusted with death, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases, growing rapidly among our youth. If we do not embrace Yahweh and stop this wicked behavior, if we do not wake up we fall much further than asleep.

  • There is undenialably a correlation between contemporary soca music and moral decadence. When one anlyses the lyrical content of much of the music sex is indeed explictly expressed and that message is definitely conveyed to the youth who interprets and internalises. When one looks at the ‘glits and glamour’ of playing mas sex is definitive attractions, and soca music sets the mood. However, there is merely correlation between the two and as such soca music while it may be a contributing factor to moral decadence within or society, it can not be totally blamed. Linda Edwards cites the role of father figures and this writer will concur, maybe there is in fact some truth there.
    This writer will also hypothesise that moral decadence is largely as a result of the “selling out” of our cultural values and the adaptation of cultures or more appropriately sub-cultures foreign to us. These sub-cultures perpetuate sexually explicit behaviour in the name of economic dominance.

  • Good idea, why can we not make a law like they do might do in ‘democratic China,’ and ban all Soca music with its corrupting influences and demand that our local DJs only play Pavarotti, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart? Never know what you can learn when you stumble upon this intellectually stimulating forum.
    Sociology is simply that, a wonderful discipline for highlighting most of society’s problems and causes as researchers and practitioners believe and suspect them, but that’s where it stops. It however takes political actions to effect any real changes. There it is, write petitions in to your Political Representative to ban Soca music, and while you are at it don’t forget to include Carnival and all forms of national festivities that entails dancing or music. There goes my Pagwah, Hoosay, Parang, Chutney Soca, and of course Soca Monarch.
    I‘ve always had my suspicions of these closet self-hating Afrocentic individuals, especially when they are so vain to refer to themselves as Doctors when they never set foot in a medical school. Just shows you that too much education can be a terrible thing, yes? Thank God the majority of our loving country is too poor to afford to have internet services and computers to absorb this diatribe. Is this what young UWI Social Science students especially of color are subjected to for four years to acquire a degree? No wonder so few leaders are emerging from within. Had it not been for the creative spirit produced via music and other forms of physical expressive outlets, 90 % of our ancestors that crossed the Atlantic along with many of today’s descendants would have died from insanity. And these bozos would tell our youths to go to school and study philosophy written by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle or Nietzsche paid for by tax payers?

  • I’ve always had my suspicions of these closet self-hating Afrocentic individuals, especially when they are so vain to refer to themselves as Doctors when they never set foot in a medical school.

    I also disagree with Dr. Kwame Nantambu’s position in that article. It is one thing to be critical of his views but your comment went further.

    Doctorate:

    the highest degree awarded by a university faculty or other approved educational organization.

    highest degree awarded by a graduate school (such as a Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)

    doctor’s degree, degree given to a graduate of a medical or dental school

    A doctorate is an accreditation that is not reserved for medical doctors alone. If someone has done the required studies at a university and is accredited with a doctorate, how is it vain for them to be so addressed? For someone who comments so much and would like to be appreciated as an intellectual, you should know about the doctorate accreditation. That entire passage that I quoted from you says more about your ignorance and perhaps envy of the African Dr.

  • Thanks for bringing me up to speed Huru on what a Ph. D. or Ed.D. signifies.It’s one of the things I like about being on this board, you never know what useful information can spring your way. You are correct I did go a bit overboard in my criticism of the good doctor, and this might just be a reflection of my “envy of the African Dr,”as you so aptly put it. You just never know about these intricate matters.
    As to your suggestion that somehow I “would like to be appreciated as an intellectual,” you might just be a wee bit off based there. If by chance I came across in such a fashion, please note that it was never my intention. I therefore beg your humble forgiveness, and any one that thought the same, but lacked the courage to put me in my place before.
    I am simply a passionate citizen that cares for my country and its entire wonderful people. I would hope that some day it can be elevated to the level of respectability it deserves in keeping with its position as a resource laden land. I would like to think that I show respect for the rights of others to do as they please, or hold any unorthodox opinion they desire with regards to our country and the world at large. Let’s continue our quest for the full social and economic development of all.
    Regards.

  • “Onward Christian Soldiers,
    Marching as To war
    With the Cross of Jesus
    Going On before”

    Christian Action Hymn

    Now, if one was not a Christian, one could see that at a song inciting violence against non-Christians.

    The Muslim prayer that calls on its followers to “Fight to the death to protect my faith” (Do NOT tell me it is not there. I heard it with my own ears.) could be interpreted as a promise to wipe out anyone whom Islam regards as a threat, or who even questions the tenets of that creed.

    These two examples are used to show that one can find moral decadence whereever one chooses to look. I have been in taxis recently, where I was embarassed by the lyrics of some of the songs.
    Fry-chicken Woman was, I believe, one of them.

    Our calypsoes frequently continue the tradition of putting down women, in the guise of entertainment.
    Anything can be regarded as vulgar if it does not “make for peace, and build up the common life”.

    Parents no longer can choose what their children are listening to, since the children are away from the parent most of the time. Moral instruction, then has to go back to values instilled early, and lovingly reinforced. For that, a good book on how not to be, can be found on the front pages of the three daily papers: Express, Guardian aand Newsday. sometimes the details of the crimes revealed, are unsuitable for children’s reading. One can decide that this is not a problem, since it’s generally been promulgated that we are now a nation of illiterates. If this is so, to whom are the lurid pictures beamed. The mote may be in the eye of soca music. The beam is elsewhere.

  • “There it is, write petitions in to your Political Representative to ban Soca music, and while you are at it don’t forget to include Carnival and all forms of national festivities that entails dancing or music. There goes my Pagwah, Hoosay, Parang, Chutney Soca, and of course Soca Monarch.”

    This statement is especially sad considering that the good doctor went out of his way to explain his love and appreciation for calypso.

    The man isn’t saying to ban local music. He’s saying local music should be reformed, and shouldn’t cater only to the “lowest common denominator.”

    Also, I’d like to applaud Gregory for highlighting Kes, Maximus and the rest but to also point something out – calypso had international appeal (ie appeal among foreigners people in places other than steamy nightclubs and street carnivals) ONLY when it was both hollistic and up-to-date.

    Here’s a foreign example of what I mean – one of the reasons rap took off in the mainstream during the ’90s was because it addressed everything: love, social conditions, crime and the consequences thereof, meaningless ‘party music’, and the celebrity lifestyle.

    Nowadays, it tends to address ONLY the last two.
    As a consequence, the artform is DYING. Sales have dropped about 44% since 2000:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1653639,00.html

    http://www.futuremusic.com/news/april2007/musictrends-hiphop.html

    We in Trinidad don’t notice because no matter what these guys rap about, there will always be buyers, since our youths seem dominated by foreign black urban culture once the Carnival season isn’t in full swing.

    Soca right now has the same problem. It has devolved severely since Ras Shorty I first invented it and in my opinion, if we want this style of music to be something that will sell outside other than one-shot songs, we can’t develop it with a seasonal, “lacadasical” attitude. As much as I love ragga-soca, it’s kind of sad when the only music from your country that seems to take itself seriously forces people to sing like they’re from another island altogether.

    You can’t make it internationally on nothing but thumping bass and a catchy tune, not when you’re from a small island like Trinidad singing in an accent that Americans can barely even understand. Give them something so creative and fresh that they’ll see T&T as more than some 1950s stereotype of sun, sea and sand.

    As for the debate about morality… to my Christian brothers and sisters: the point of Carnival is and has always been “carne vale” – farewell to the flesh – revelling, something that the New Testament plainly prohibits (Gal. 5:21 and 1 Peter 4:3). I somehow doubt that ‘reforming’ secular soca is going to change that. Carnival was made for a purpose incompatible with Bible-based Christianity; forcing the people who indulge their senses this way won’t change that.

  • Wow David, to think that I foolishly thought that I was the only one bored with the pointless race, culture ,overriding crimes ,and political incompetence debates that were saturating our bloggerspher recently.
    This however is quite a stretch don’t you think to revert to a blog that was written 11 months ago, when I did not even know the difference between a PhD an Ed.D, or MD until schooled by Heru?
    All I was doing back then was failing to mask my insecurities and jealousiesof Dr. Nantambu, and in the process garner some much needed attention on the crowded information highway by castigating our beloved global African Doctor via shock commentaries.
    Isn’t this the same type of thing that is done on a daily basis in several of Sweet T&T’s main stream radio media outlets by the much beloved and respectable Sat Maharajs and Joseph Umbalas of the land?
    I stand corrected .
    To you I’ll say ,nice try however to get me engage on this debate but I ain‘t biting today . Why you might enquire ? The King of Pop is dead , and I like his billions of adoring global fans ,do not care if he raped the Angel Gabriel or the replica of the elephant man on sleepovers at his famous ranch.
    Like him I too have my demons to contend with , and is trying to deal with them just like you are today.

    The question is often asked by more learned minds, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is the music merely a reflection of the society we live in as viewed by the artist , or did folks like Michael Jackson , Ras Shorty I, Blue Boy , and Brother Bob Marley for example finally proved that you can attempt to seriously change the world , without simultaneously destroying yourself via your artistic musical gift or sometimes questionable and bohemian lifestyle?
    Now this discussion can get me moving.
    I wish you much joy and success in your quest my friend

  • I see that I have missed nothing.

  • Enlighten us cousin Curtis as to what you thought would have transpired in Sweet T&T, or on this blog while you were away doing time at the Saskatchewan Correctional Facility for stealing toilet paper to use as towels while housed at the Homeless Shelter in down town Regina ?
    Of course nothing has changed since your untimely departure due to your embarrassing behavior in the Land of the Maple Leaf. Here in Sweet T&T crime is still rampant , the economy is in shambles, and the PM and Opposition are still attempting to deceive the populace into believing that they both hate each other, while the two most important ladies in their respectives lives plot to see who would succeed either to be the next party leader and possible Prime minister of our beautiful country- a wife or a daughter.

    Even after your mistakes and your paltry 1.9 GPA at school , I was able to convince the Admission Dean of the South East Regional College Saskatchewan to give you a second chance at finishing that degree you began since 1987. I told you guys that Canada was not Trinidad and not to play with those nut case Mounties , as they tend to be extremely tough on criminals ,especially immigrants that they felt duped the authorities in the past on their original entry application , and is now trying to leech off the state.
    Did you say that you are no longer allowed to lodge at the Regina City homeless shelters during this your probationary period, and is now at the Salvation Army Hostel before your petition to prevent deportation is again considered? I hope that you can at least finish Junior college in 2012. Government jobs are especially difficult to come by once it becomes known that you are virulent anti PNM . I cannot help you there also being an equal opportunity attack hound myself. Good luck cousin C. “You should not try to make bread out of stone ,” I was told.

  • I chose to highlight your statement because it was what spurred my response. It certainly wasn’t meant to be a personal attack of any kind.

    The idea that all criticism of soca is born out of anti-patriotism is – or rather was – not yours alone. Many people hold to this idea, arguing that ‘Carnival is our culture’ while ignoring the fact that our real culture is totally neglected and soca music is only about forty years old. It was this idea that I felt needed addressing. I dug up a blog entry that was a full year old largely because the issue was relevant and gets more relevant with every passing Carnival, not because I wanted to bring any particular person down.

    In my opinion, the answer to your question is that we the people make our culture and everything associated with it, including music. Most musicians are carried by the currents of their artform and popular sentiment but only the greatest musicians like Michael or Ras are able to reverse the very tide.

    I wish you well in your quest as well.

  • David said “one of the reasons rap took off in the mainstream during the ’90s was because it addressed everything: love, social conditions, crime and the consequences thereof, meaningless ‘party music’, and the celebrity lifestyle.”
    Without much empirical evidence to substantiate this claim , I can still find merit in this view point , but wish to add the following:- Rap took off David primarily due to it’s honesty and or authenticity ,unlike the numerous outdated elite philosophical diatribe, that was proffered daily by main stream intellectuals and so called civic , and political leaders across America.
    Rappers were forced to fill the void -particularly in the black community -when abandoned by the growing Black Middle Class more keen on running for the suburbs , with limited concerns for those they‘ve left behind, and continually performing the occasional jig and dance as ‘house hands’ historically were accustomed to doing for over 400 years for white slave masters. http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Police_accused_of_racism_as_Harvard_07212009.html
    I have coined a phrase “Black Socrates,” for these unsung heroes that had the guts to stand up to tyranny, racism, inequalities , injustices ,and inequities carried out by the dominant majority along with their black skin/ white soul Judas agents.

    What irony it is to see urban lower caste black American musical geniuses stand up in defiance -via their art -form so as to push back the oppressors in all forms within their respective societies, and in the end garner broad base support at home and globally .
    There are lots of parallels of course to the above depictions right here in the Caribbean region .
    Unfortunately, in a country devoid of a distinctive national identity like Sweet T&T ,aka Rainbow Country, we might have a problem with your assertion that “we the people make our culture and everything associated with it, including music.” The question then must be asked which people , or what culture and music are you referring to my friend?
    I’ve viewed with some curiosity through the decades ,the amount of educational scholarships given to produce exalted authors, engineers, lawyers , historians , Business CEO’s and doctors across the nation , but not one musical scholarship for a single member of any of our Junior Panorama Champs from Success Lavanville , or Nelson Street Secondary to further their art form and aid our country’s culture.
    It is felt by many that those ungrateful doctors have now returned home and are forever tarnishing the name of our good country by comically calling us a bunch of racist ,genocidal, maniacs , simply because a few failed to score a respectable mark in an interview for a local job.
    One cannot help but recall the words of Sir Walter Scott that exclaimed “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!”
    Let’s wish our country well David, as something tells me that we both are all right for the moment ,hmmmm?.

  • Four years ago, I promised Chalkdust that when I retired, I would read his book on the Carnival Tradition in Trinidad and Tobago, called Rituals of Power And Rebellion. I kept my promise Chalkie, and I will never call for a banning of Carnival, not even in jest as I recently did, again.

    This is us,putting together, loingly, as Derek Walcott pointed out in Antilles- The Nobel Lecture, putting together lovingly, the broken pottery shards of our African culture.

    This does not mean that I will play Mas next year. I am not inclined to jump in the street half naked for any cause, although the African women from whom we adopted the tradition were usually fully clad, and bared their backsides to others only as a sign of gross contempt.

    All who want to ban calypso, soca and Carnival must ask themselves what will they put in place. The Ride of the Valkryies? Swan LAke? These are other people’s culture. ours is vibrant and evolutionary.
    It belongs to us. If parents do not want their children listening to Soca music they should also ban some daytime programs emenating from the USA.
    LAst week, one issue of the View had balls and exercises to tighten the vagina, and other sex toys in the program, at 9:00 AM Eastern time. Are we banning those, and the endless corny sex jokes on the talk shows?

    I took the trouble to correct the typos, i hope this gets through

  • I disagree with the assertion that Soca music have anything to do with the emerging decadence in any society. At the time when Mae mae and other calypsos were popular, the society was much more religious and conservative. For decades after the popularity of those songs, the society remained relatively conservative. There is absolutely no correlation between the permissivness that obtains at present, and the saucy lyrics of Calypso and Soca that were decades ago.

    Its like the US blaming Rap for violence in a nation that was conceived in the violent holocaust of two groups of people. A nation where kids are weaned on the brutality of cartoon violence. So they pass shrug off the influence of their formative experience of Wiley Coyote getting the shit kicked out of him to succumb to the lyrics of black kids from the ghetto. Give me a flipping break!!!

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