There’s A Time And A Place For EVERYTHING
I understand the rationale but I am not sure I agree with those who call for a removal of so-called “smut” from soca or calypsos. What really is the “smut” persons are referring to? Are we talking about sexual connotations? If so, then why pick only on the calypsonian?
Seventy per cent of the songs I hear on non-gospel stations in Barbados include some element of implicit and explicit sexual reference. Indeed, I marveled a few weeks ago in the midst of the Movado/Vybes Kartel hullabaloo, when, in banning two Jamaican artistes from coming to Barbados to sing smut, our society then authorized a radio station to send two probable teenagers to the United States to see smut. This writer has a fundamental problem with that!
I was all for the banning of the Jamaican duet because I objected philosophically to the notion that they had a role to play in helping to shape the thought processes of our youth. There are far too many role models in Barbados for me to accept that a Jamaican dance hall artist is required to point out right from wrong and lead our youths along the straight and narrow path. I also have a difficulty in these tough economic times, of our encouraging low income earners to assign hard earned resources each week to what, to my mind, is low level entertainment. I therefore supported the ban on Movado/Vybes Kartel.
But, a few weeks later, my radio station of choice announces that they are sending a person 18 years or older and a companion, to the United States of America to witness live and in full colour the performance of a person best known for her ability to strip down to nothing or pretty close thereto.
What is the difference between singing about sex and depicting it live on stage? I am at a loss to understand the fundamental difference here. Yet, the same radio station that now seeks to ban calypsos for “suggestive lyrics” is the same entity responsible for sending two possible teenagers to America to see a woman and her cast, bear it all. This is the part of Barbadian society that I do not understand.
I believe we need firm policy decisions being agreed to and implemented by all radio stations. There is need for a meeting of the minds on this thorny issue of what’s acceptable and what is not. Programme Managers should meet and determine what is permissible and what is not, in terms of inferences and references, when it comes not only to sex, but to vulgarity and the promotion of crime, violence and other forms of antisocial behavior. They should also meet and determine what is in good taste and what is not.
I made reference last week to a letter written by an ordinary Barbadian in reference to the editorial stance of another publication on the issue of the health of our beloved Prime Minister. Quite predictably, persons sought to minimize the seriousness of the issue by suggesting I had authored the piece of correspondence. I am quite flattered that persons would think I am capable of such fine writing. The reality is that I did not author that letter and to this date I still do not know who did. What I must admit, however, is that I was deeply touched by the level of reasoning and commitment to decency and fair play of the author.
Similarly, I chuckled at the notion of someone suggesting, in the same publication, that I am at this time busy “on the campaign trail” in rural Barbados. I am told I was spotted in the trenches. What utter nonsense! I am not aware of any imminent election in Barbados and, furthermore, I thought I had made clear 11 years ago that I had no further interest in electoral politics. For those who may be under any illusion, and for those who clearly are committed to tasteless mischief at this critical time in our country’s journey, I repeat, that this writer has absolutely no interest in electoral politics, other than participating in a professional capacity.
The avoidance of such carefully planted mischief should be the focus of a meeting of newspaper editors, at which it is determined how sensitive issues that will arise from time to time, ought to be handled.
It is easy for us to pick on the calypsonians and hold their hands to the fire, but at this point in our nation’s journey we need to focus on the type of society we wish to build and the role of other key opinion shapers.
Where do the media get off censoring and sanctioning artistes for implied and implicit lyrics, but at the same time exercising freedom to promote a form of journalistic savagery, unprecedented in the annals of Bajan history? There can and must only be one Barbados! What is good for the goose must be even better for the gander.
The media house that bans a calypsonian for singing sexually suggestive lyrics should and must also be the media house that repudiates R&B artistes from doing the same and must also frown on the notion of an artiste having to “bare all” in order to appeal to patrons. Sister media houses must also practice greater sensitivity in containing their known political agenda, at a time when the country prays in earnest for the restored health of its leader.
Political agendas are nothing new. They are permissible in our society. The time will come for political swords to be drawn, and at that time, the gloves, on both sides, will come off. Until then, there is need for sensitivity and maturity. There is need for human kindness and understanding.
I want to believe that Barbados is still capable of such!