There’s A Time And A Place For EVERYTHING

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

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!

Hartley Henry is a Regional Political Strategist. He can be reached at


  • Appears Henry is playing devil’s advocate this week.


  • Actually Christians have nothing against sex. Christians like sex more than anybody else. Christians just want sex to be reserved for married peole only. And they want everybody to marry, early and to remain married for ever so it seems to me that Christians are big into (not singing abot sex, or arguing about it) but actually DOING SEX it while the rest of us waste our time talking about it. I’d advise Hartley and David to go back to bed right now and JUST DO IT.


  • Why is it that I remember calypsos such as Boots, Jack, Spring Garden Ah Coming, We Want More Grynner? Which of these was ‘rude’?

    Yes, such as Kitch’s ‘Audrey’ and Sparrow’s ‘Jean and Dinah’ had suggestion, but not blatant focus.

    Along with that, those old calypsoes also had something much missing nowadays i.e. melody.

    No more melody than in Audrey.

    I think that calupso today and much other music also, relies on beat without melody, relies on repetition without lyrical content.

    That is the issue.

    is it just me?


  • Previously our society was more conservative and should we say religious minded? Now its morphed to a more liberal society with a heavy dose of materialism which is easily reflected in the quality of music being produced. Perhaps this observation can be extended.


  • Maybe, but at least maybe we should not fear, and can look forward to the ‘usual’..

    Pooch back, pooch back, wave yuh rag,

    wayve yuh rag, guh down

    guh down and pooch back,

    raise yuh hand, wine up, , pooch back,

    raise yuhy rag and pooch back…

    all to the mind stirring beat of

    buh, dum dum,
    buh, dum dum
    duh dum dum
    duh dum dum

    Eagerly sucked in by the crowd, as if listening in awe to some deeply written piece, such as Johann Sebastien Bach’s Prelude in C Major…..their hips and lips moving in rhythmic contractions, expressions of sheer ecstasy (not the pill…but then again), hope, life and dreams on their faces…..oh, the bliss…

    Wonderful, we ARE going places……

    Just, if I hear too many ‘wave yuh rag’ repitions, I MAY ask someone to shoot me quick.

    Ah gone, to earn the country a dollar.


  • Another young Bajan cut down. Jermaine Forrester may you rest in peace.


  • Crusoe
    Contrary to what some might think of Bonny, (because of my bad behaviour, i guess) I too love Bethoven, Bach, Tchikowsky etc.(doan kno if de names spell correct) but I luv my wutless songs too. Right now my favourites fa dis year include, “Eric Jerome Dickey” by Popsicle, ‘Leggo my bird”, by Capt. Sawyer and “Vacuum’. Dah is just me Crusoe. I luv ta mix de naughty wid de nice. Can’ help it.
    Leggo my birdie, doan hold my birdieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    (I wukketh up as we speak)


  • David, I second that.


  • Bonny Peppa,
    I did not intend to return to you as an issue. In a previous post, I had banished you to Mangrove Garbage Dump, your rightful address. You would find great compatibility with the environment there, except that the Mangrove Admin would have to be extra careful handling your leachate.

    Apart from the fact that I respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression, that freedom should be excercised with responsibility. Having said that, I really think that DAVID should restrict the dirtiness you bring to this discussion board. Hardly anything you say has an ounce of decency in it. Clean up your act Peppa.


    I hold no brief for Owen Arthur. Indeed, I see merit in the reasoning of those who say, politically, he is a “spent force”. David Thompson put it more delicately a few years ago when he said Arthur’s political shelf life had expired and that he had passed his ‘best buy’ date.



    I hold no brief for Owen Arthur. Indeed, I see merit in the reasoning of those who say, politically, he is a “spent force”. David Thompson put it more delicately a few years ago when he said Arthur’s political shelf life had expired and that he had passed his ‘best buy’ date.


  • Quote:
    ” 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, our society then authorizes a radio station to send two probable teenagers to the United States to see Smut. This writer has a fundamental problem with that”.

    Our “society” sent the teenagers? what constitutes a society in the mind of the writer. Is “my radio station” a society. I hesitate to say this but this piece has the reek of a populous agenda about it.

    The crop over season is in full swing and it should be enjoyed with gusto, but we should tread carefully in what we encourage; for those who ride a tiger often find it difficult to dismount.


  • It is impossible to ever pass vulgarity and bad taste off as art!
    It is bad enough having to listen to the same banal chant of “wine” wave” and “rag” ad nauseum but then to throw in cheap pornography into the ling, inviting all and sundry to attach to, grab, pull and push various body parts with special emphasis on the “bumper” is more than an civilized person should have to bear!But we do, year in , year out! Like watching West Indies cricket!


  • I am trying to figure out the immorality of saying”Leggo my Birdie” ” Wuk up on it”

    “Ride me Bumper” Please explain!


  • Blimp
    I ask but one request of thee, please:
    Leave me alone at my new fixed place of abode donated by yours truly.
    Oh the ambience of Mount Stinkeroo.
    OHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so niceeeeeeeee.
    Come join me here at Stinkeroo, Blimp. It will be like home away from home my darlinks.
    (i’m blowin you a kisssssssss)


  • Bumper Inspector

    Year after year I hear people complaining that vulgar soca lyrics encourages people to simulate sex in public,.
    Now if that is how you Bajans really have sex, then the missus and I moving to Barbados tomorrow. All these years we have been oblivious to the seemingly infinite possibilities; wuk up pon it, push back pon it, pooch back and roll de bumper……my goodness Barbados is truly a paradise.

    The hounourable member is getting to be quite the ass, remember it is for five not forever.


  • What de hell is wrong with a little bump and grind those are words to a popular song
    Rid de Donkey that too was a popular song.
    All Day All Night Mary Ann.Another popular song
    Question What do these songs have in common?
    They have all been called vulgar ! Yet in today society no one would think too much of their context and the same would apply to the lyrics of today later on in life.


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