Beyoncé a Boundary

By Raffique Shah
January 10, 2010
Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

BeyoncéShould readers feel I am making light of a serious subject, I plead guilty. With the coming of artiste Beyoncé taking on proportions of the second coming of Christ, I cannot help but enjoy a sense of detached amusement. First, I had to find out just who the hell Beyoncé was. Upon enquiring, I repeatedly mispronounced the name-Beyonce, Beyond-only to be rudely corrected by my daughter.

So I learned she is a singer, entertainer, dancer and winner of Grammy awards, and that between her and her husband they are worth a pile of money, more than TSTT’s gross assets. I have never listened to any of her songs, but who could miss out on those legs? I couldn’t resist staring at them with her every promotional move, lecher that I am. But as a veteran admirer of great-looking women, I should add that I’ve seen better legs and better-looking women right here, home-grown-some of them sporting even better talents than the US artiste.

Legs aside, I immediately recognised the power of this woman, all 28 years of her. She is the only person I know who has succeeded in having the local and regional cricket authorities revise their cast-in-turf schedule to accommodate her entourage and local fans, said to number far more than the 25,000 who will attend the concert. WIPA left the West Indies without its first-string team for two vital Test cricket series for less a proverbial song! Now Dinanath and his boys are willing to sacrifice a game, and maybe a regional series, by making way for Beyoncé.

Worse, or better (depending on one’s perspective), the QPCC overlords of the Oval are risking the irreparable damage to their recently refurbished facilities to accommodate this queen of song and dance. What if the Oval pitch and outfield are seriously damaged by 50,000 prancing feet, stiletto heels et al? I guess while cricket is one sport that this country excels in, it runs 10th-place to Beyoncé. Even the local cricket board and players are clamouring, ’Bring on Beyoncè!’

How past masters of the game and those who love it from Beyond a Boundary (as the late great CLR James wrote) must writhe in agony, whether they are alive and hobbling, or their skeletal remains are buried deep in this land of multiple contradictions. Cricket aside, a few keen observers have also noted that 25,000 people will spend an average of $1,000 (well, you must include the special outfits, the drinks) for two hours of entertainment. Over the next few weeks, another 100,000 or more will spend an additional $1,500 on average to attend the now-mandatory all-exclusive fetes, while yet another 50,000 will spend just as much, if not more, on what passes for Carnival costumes.

Two issues here. First, the majority of the above cannot easily afford what they spend. Some of the mainly young ones would cajole their parents into meeting the expenses. But others will commit crimes, murder hapless victims if they must, only to satisfy their ’needs’ that are beyond their dollar-boundaries. Police statistics prove that robberies and burglaries increase many-fold as we approach the season of spend-what-you-don’t have. But who cares? Even those who cry bloody murder over high crime would easily roll bum-bums with others who literally robbed their bloody way into the Beyoncé concert and other parties.

Second, among this lot are the very people who, after spending money they can ill-afford to check Beyoncé’s legs from afar, would complain about having to pay increased property tax far less than what they put out for personal pleasure. ’Where the hell does Government expect us to find $1,000 to pay property tax?’ they will scream, as they wave placards in protest. Their after-Beyoncé and after-Carnival debts would take them maybe a year to pay off. But say what? One must have one’s priorities right. And setting aside, say, $200 a month for future rainy-days, is not on the list topped by Beyoncé and Carnival.

Instant gratification is infinitely more important than a secure future. As for TSTT, which has taken flak for its sponsorship of the event (real cost never to be revealed), its employees are right to demand their two-grammes of flesh before Beyoncé gets her kilo. After all, she will be here today, gone tomorrow. They will be around for a long time keeping the corporation’s image aloft (although I sometimes wonder, especially when my land line remains dead like a dodo for weeks!).

To be fair to TSTT, it does put out mucho dollars in support of local sport and culture, certainly after rival Digicel came on the scene. While the state-owned corporation will not reveal contractual obligations, its expenses can be gleaned from another…er, fraternal source.

The Guardian (UK) recently revealed that Muammar Gaddafi’s son Hannibal, the one who beat up his wife at a posh London hotel, and later joined with the battered woman to hammer their servant in Switzerland, had Beyoncé do a US$2 million, one-hour gig for their guests on the Caribbean island of St Barts. That’s the kind of company TSTT must be proud of being associated with-the colonel’s wastrel son, no less. I say no more.

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16 thoughts on “Beyoncé a Boundary”

  1. As usuasl a good piece objective journalism….the real issue now here in the USA, Africa, Russia, et al, is the entitlement mentality. Check this, Somali pirates, Islamic Terrorists, Plastine’s right to qwn land amongst Jews, young college students in the USA bullying their professors for A’s without working for it, they want test reviews to tell them what on the exams…no difference. Welcome to the new decade Shah…decadence!

  2. Leave my Beyonce alone. She employs one of my protege’s as personal bodyguard. She a Houstonian, he a Trini. And now TnT has three shows, three masquerades to gawk at: The UNC internal bacchannal, Beyonce, and the rest of Carnival. Sure to take gripers minds off the property tax, breathalysers, and the carnage on the road and in the hills. The government should impose an entertainment tax, if they have not yet done so, of 20% of the ticket- good for concerts by foreign artistes and all inclusive fetes starting at $450.00. That too would be a property tax. Include boat rides off Pier 1 .The coffers of the state would not feel the loss of oil revenue.By the way, she really can both sing and perform. Her costumes are a carnival in themselves.

  3. I don’t get it. If you mention any one of our artist having a concert in “middle America” or the “real U.S.” and they probably would not sell one ticket. Why is it that we almost break our backs for outside artist? I understand that she is popular, but we do this with far less popular foreign talents. We are not an extension of the U.S.! When will we start acting like it?
    I am not a fan of Beyonce and I only have Jay-Z’s first album. However, I would much rather listen to classic Calypso, and Soca. The reason that I prefer the classics is because they are less likely to sound like they are from the states.


    It’s call globalization , my friends , and Thomas Friedman spoke about it in his bestselling book entitled ‘The world is Flat.’ This younger generation would not be hoodwinked ,or bamboozled in any form or fashion, as they can decide on their own what is good , bad , ugly, and wholesome.

    Ahhhh how sad , but tell me , when can our big butts,thick hips , kinky head multimillion dollar queens get some symbolic love from the likes of respectable, globally savvy media icons such as Uncle Shah?
    Who they really think their kids are listening to on their MP3 players , or better yet do they believe that their beloved kids are still analyzing Aristotle , Plato , Socrates ,and Marx in the expensive foreign schools for their English ,and Social studies projects?
    When cousin Amitab Bachan came to town in o8 , every Tom, Dick and Bridgelal came out to see India’s royalty and no one cared if they took out a second mortgage on their houses to purchase tickets so as to sit up front with the PM in waiting – non other than yours truly ,Mr Panday.
    Well , you can’t win them all, and fortunately there is still hope for us in sweet T&T aka Rainbow country.
    As it was said in Isaiah 11:6 of the King James Black Sun God Bible , “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; ‘and a little child shall lead them.'”
    Take note.

  5. France too, gave up on trying to control culture. They use to have names for children based on when they were born, and a number of contemporary words could not enter the French language. Eventually, they surrendered to le blue jeans.

    Years ago, when we first go a radio, we were singing Mario Lanza’s songs, Sam Cook’s music and listening to Spanish music from Venezuela. The calypsoes then were banned from our house, on threat of a beating.

    More than fifty years later, world music is world music, and since TnT has no movie industry to speak of, since our fine flowering of patriotic , non calypso/soca/chutney music bloomed and died just after Independence, and music is vital to the soul, we get foreign artists. The first one my husband hear was Paul Robeson, singing in Lord Harris Square, when he realized that only white people could have afforded the concert tickets at De Luxe cinema. I heard foreign singers(was it Nina Simone or Ertha Kitt) on free tickets when at UWI in the sixties.

    We are a series of foreign cultures, superimosed on the Amerindian cultures. We are a callaloo;and the whole world sings to American pop music. We need to stop being like the French, and tax it, get our share for the state offers, and stop fussng. We might as well ask our under forty set to stop wanting Xboxes, MP3 players and such. I just wish they woudld also tap into educational TV from the US.It is also there, volumes and volumes of it.

    Beyonce has a right to sing on our little rock, if enough people are willing to pay. I hope TSTT does not do a Valmond Jones. If you don’t know what that is, ask Raf. He would remember.

    1. Wow! How long ago was it that Paul Robeson was singing? that must have been almost one hundred years ago! LOL! 🙂

  6. Curtis, if our lyrics were comprehensible to “middle America”they would buy tickets. Why not encourage the Min.of Cultue to send steelband and chutney soca ambassadors to “middle America’?. I went to see the gypsy dancers of Rajstan two years ago, and loved it.I was possibly the lone Trini in a sea of Indians, and a few whites, but my party and I enjoyed it. I have been to se Turkish dancers, Les Ballets Africains and The African Children’s Choir. In April, the middle two weekends, Houston is hosting the Houston International Festival(,which will feature the CAribbean for the secoond time in 14 years. It woul be a great time to send a cultural delegation to erform on the World Music Stage, or to have a Carnival Band type performance. Last time, the year featuring the Caribbean was the best attended, ever.My background is n education, not fete promotion, I can only supply the info,which I already gave to others in TnT.Companies in TnT could sponsor a group to come perform, rather than have some American murder a couple pans pretending to be “de real ting”.

    1. The music now sounds like some European disco or techno music. Middle America is a whole different animal. At least on the east coast there are stations that broadcast soca, calypso, parrang, and reggae. In Middle America, that is just foreign music. Not much has changed since Marley died. When he was alive, people called it,”Jungle Music” and that is still the sentiment in “middle America”.

  7. Beyonce is a beautiful, talented young lady who is a hit here in the US and overseas. People pay for what they want to see and hear. It good to appreciate various cultures and yet not forget our roots. If Beyonce’s managers did not think they would make money in Trinidad, she would not go there. She is an entertainer and those who like her and can afford to attend her shows, it’s their choice.

    1. I personally don’t want to hear 50cents at carnival time.
      You can have Lil John, Jay- Z, and Busta Rhyme.
      That Yankee noise mash up my lime
      I love Trinidad is that a crime?
      I might be old fashioned as I have been told
      At Carnival Time I want to hear Calypso.

      I’m a Trinidadian and that’s a fact
      Thomas Friedman tell me the world is flat
      There are some things that Trinidad lack
      Music not one so send it back
      Don’t call me names cause I don’t know Keisha Cole
      At Carnival Time I want to hear Calypso

      I will do this every post until you get my point.

      1. Curtis, you are not alone in your patriotism for “our” music. I agree when you said that “Trinidad is NOT an extension of America”. I thought I was the only one who see how we are killing our sweet Caribbean culture by replacing with evertything American. I am not trying to say “everything” American is bad; I live in the US – but we (Trinis) act like we don’t have a culture of our own, or, what we have is inferior (something we used to call “follow fashion”). When I come home I WANT LOCAL MUSIC on the local radio stations, I have enough Rap & Hip Hop in my daily existence. In Tobago you cannot hear anything else but Reggae????!!!! What’s up with that? We need to remember who we are or else we will SELF DESTRUCT. Why can’t we appreciate/celebrate/support our local artistes the same way we fall all over ourselves for Beyonce, et. al.

  8. We are in a recession. That means that people will have to carefully decide what they will spend their money on. I have nothing against the woman but now is not the right time for this. It could have been done months after Carnival. We have to solve our economic problems before we go back to purchasing foreign products. The ideal thing is to buy from foreigners, only when the product is necessary and cannot be obtained locally. I was pleased to hear that many young people understand that their spending impacts on thir nation’s economic status and that their culture is a top priority. If only we had a few thousand more of these right thinking individuals…..

  9. “Two issues here. First, the majority of the above cannot easily afford what they spend. Some of the mainly young ones would cajole their parents into meeting the expenses. But others will commit crimes murder hapless victims if they must, only to satisfy their ’needs’ that are beyond their dollar-boundaries Police statistics prove that robberies and burglaries increase many-fold as we approach the season of spend-what-you-don’t have. But who cares? Even those who cry bloody murder over high crime would easily roll bum-bums with others who literally robbed their bloody way into the Beyoncé concert and other parties. spend-what-you-don’t have. But who cares?”

    The question is how many of the millions generated by these events stays in the African community? I guess Ramlogan and dem won’t print the stats on these economic issues.
    But anyway, it’s a new decade… solutions and not confusion…
    Simple things as a handshake after a business transaction (as they do in Harlem) between African buyer and seller could have a tremendous awaking in the community.

  10. In March, one can see the owners of businesses link RENT A AMP with skies at Piarco heading to Colorado for some late winter fun.. After they have hijacked BLACK MUSIC in TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, This tou tou have to stop…

    “Over the past few years, carnival has emboldened the financial and economic power base of both Indian-Trinbagonians and Syrian-Trinbagonians These two ethnic groups rake in a whopping amount of money on these festival days by not only controlling the supply of music trucks but also breakfasts, lunches, diverse drinks, portable toilets, etc. Afrikan-Trinbagonians only provide the…….”

  11. Ok everybody, instead of carival costumes and Beyonce tickets, send the money to Haitian Relief. Do it through UNICEF ( and send it by credit card.Its safe and reliable.

  12. Stop all this talk about money Ms. L ,for this is not what Haiti wants at this stage. If you need money in that country ,then all you have to do is shake down the thousands of selfish , parasitic, simi- kinky headed petite bourgeoisies that sucked like starving piglets at the breast of tired and frustrated mama Haiti through the decades, under the watchful eyes of your Uncle Sam. Need we say Papa Doc , Baby Doc and the 15,000 illiterate Generals that controlled that country’s fortunes since Toussaint kicked out the insecure French midget Napoleon.
    It is ironic , but that country almost make one nostalgic about the Virgin Continent – unless you are speaking about Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan,Nigeria, Rwanda, Serria Leone, Liberia, Angola, Aids ravaged SA, Bostwana, and Namibia. Ok Neal, why not cut through the chase and consider perhaps point fingers at 53 out of the 54 mismanaged , underachieving states that make up the continent.
    What Haiti need presently Ms. L is a new brand of leaders , but before that can be considered, we must recommend that global hegemonic/world’s Police Commander in Chief Obama ,follow his predecessor’s actions ,and do a round up of its current leaders , along with the country hating business elite leeches that still lurks ,then put them all on a non returning space ship bounded for Jupiter.

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