We have had a couple of interesting news items in recent days which served to piqued the curiosity of members of the BU household. Sir Hilary Beckles is of the view Barbados must capitalize on the success of Rihanna and her one billion dollar enterprise. To support his view he referred to Jamaica having built an industry around Bob Marley and reggae. BU is unsure how Beckles is able to make the comparison to Marley riding the crest of an indigenous genre of music anchored in the DNA of a nation. Rihanna maybe Barbadian – with Guyanese lineage -but her success has been manufactured on the back of a US-international genre of music. How Barbados can bottle and leverage for success the way Jamaica did for Marley remains highly sceptical but BU is optimistic.
Then we heard from Canon Frank Marshall on the need for Barbadians to embrace values which represented the core of what drove our success of yesteryear. Many will query though whether these values have to be embodied in a religious dogma to qualify. There is a strong view held by some Barbadians that when the Church played a leading role in our society the nation appeared to be in a better place morally, socially and economically.
Most if not all Barbadians have felt the urge to congratulate Rihanna winning the first AMA Icon Award. BU offers our congratulations BUT acknowledges she is a R&B performer who uses the imagery of sex bordering on smut, suggestive lyrics and dance to peddle her stuff. This is a compromising of the very same values which Canon Marshall has attributed to our success as a nation. Bear in mind Rihanna is our Youth and Cultural Ambassador although we believe this is an avenue used by government to provide access to a ‘red’ passport.
Our view may not be widely supported but it is ours nevertheless. As a nation we cannot be critical of the lyrics and substandard music which originate in Jamaica and elsewhere and give Rihanna a pass solely on the basis that she is Barbadian. How hypocritical can one be? We cannot be a nation lamenting the slide in our moral standard but lift up onto the hills a Bajan artist who exploits said wholesome standards which Canon Marshall offers as the basis for our past successes. Don’t we see a conflict or are we so intoxicated by the fact local girl makes big that we are willing to toss standards through the nearest window.
For what it is worth Rihanna, congrats on getting a top award from your fans BUT when our daughter grows up we do NOT want her to be like you.