A Carifesta Dance of Shame!

John Hunte

Which country that you know of, would host CARIFESTA, and would organize a major international Dance exposition as the central event of the Festival, but would refuse to include a single one of their local or national dance groups in the said Dance exposition?

Well, if you guessed that the country is none other than Barbados you would have guessed right!

Would you believe, that Dr. John Hunte — the “artistic coordinator” of CARIFESTA –is seemingly proud to be able to announce that the “Signal Dance event” of CARIFESTA  X111  will be a major international dance show at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium on the 24th of August, and that the event will feature dance groups from Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and Haiti, but none from  Barbados!

According to Hunte, this ultra prestigious show is designed “to use modern concepts of Caribbean identity to unfold visions of ourselves and our common legacy”, but the only Barbadians that he deems  fit to include in the show are two female ballet dancers who reside and practice their craft in the European countries of Germany and Hungary.

Now, I have nothing against these two overseas based daughters of the soil– both of whom I know and admire– but somebody needs to tell Hunte , Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, and the rest of the CARIFESTA Secretariat that this is just not good enough.

If the Minister and his Secretariat are truly interested in exploring “modern concepts of Caribbean identity” and “visions of ourselves”, then how can they fail to include at least one of the best Barbadian dance groups that, year after year — at the annual National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) — creatively explore the boundaries of what it means to be Barbadian and Caribbean?

How can they– for example — fail to include such a quintessential and consistently excellent Barbadian and Caribbean dance group like Dancin Africa?

Is Minister Lashley and John Hunte really telling us that a group like Dancin Africa is not fit to grace the major dance stage at CARIFESTA — even though the Festival is being held in Barbados, and is being financed by the Barbadian taxpayers?

I have personally witnessed dance shows all over the Caribbean — from Cuba and Haiti in the North to Guyana and Suriname in the South– and I can affirm that some of the most compelling and impactful dance performances that I have ever witnessed have been delivered right here in Barbados at our annual NIFCA dance finals.

Indeed, the Dancin Africa troupe possesses a brilliant twenty-five year NIFCA gold award winning repertoire that is based upon at least two dozen  profoundly insightful and moving dances crafted by such outstanding Barbadian choreographic talents as Gene Carson, Kelvin Carvalho, Tyrone Trotman, Oral Welshman, and Aisha Comissiong.

Is Dr. Hunte and Minister Lashley really telling us that none of these Barbadian master works are to be showcased to the rest of the world on the biggest and most prestigious CARIFESTA stage?

What a travesty! What a pathetic expression of a national inferiority complex ! What a shame that something like this can still be happening after 50 years of Independence!


  • Give us a break Lawson…. Canadians are so lukewarm that even if wunna organised a cockfight, hens would have to be represented – and all information would need to be published in french and english; and the Gay community cocks; and illegal immigrant fowls would all need appropriate representation – based on figures calculated by the home office in Ottawa…

    Boss, if Dribbler ever decided to move to Canada …he will be automatic choice for PM

    Lukewarm Inc.


  • Whuhlaw Bush Tea

    your posts at 6:54 and 6:59 got me “deading wid laughter”. First visions of Dompey as “a peeping bulla” and then the accurate characterization of Canada’s political correctness!

    Posts of the day.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger


    That is Canadian’s polite way of putting their hands in everyone’s pockets….with a smile.

    There is a very succesful method to the polite correctness.


  • BT that was my way of saying the only dance fete I would attend would have strippers.But you are right about canada, my fear is the same as Edward long shank’s dilemma in brave heart when he couldnt send his son to meet with the scots in case they thought all englishmen were like him and would invade them. Our putz roaming around the world may make WW swoon him being so pink and soft, but a lot of us are counting the days till the next election


  • Don we celebrate Vern Best and Madame Yvette?


  • Hal

    El Verno del Congo is dead and forgotten and Madam Yvette is just forgotten.

    At our age its interesting to compare what we grew up knowing and what is on offer now.


  • Vincent,
    I know they are both dead, I am asking if we celebrate them, or are they just forgotten?


  • Hal

    I was not aware of Madam Yvette’s death as I saw her about 3-4 years ago…..yes both are forgotten…..no tributes,plaques or recognition of any sort.


  • Says something about our society. We have no collective memory, yet we pretend to be Africanists. If we cannot remember what happened yesterday, how can we celebrate what happened centuries ago?


  • Hal

    I am not an Africanist nor a Europanist…..the only ….nist I am…..is a Caribbeanist…..a proud Pelau.

    ….not aware that we have any happenings that occurred centuries ago to celebrate.

    ….what it says about us is a lack of appreciation of ourselves.


  • The issue is that the vast majority of Bajans do not and lack the capacity to actively associate and promote others who identity with the African heritage. To increase the challenge is that Barbadians who have made the effort to promote ‘Black fundamentalist’ positions have died materially poor.


  • David

    Why do you have to identify with African heritage to appreciate culture/art/music as performed by Vern or Yvette.

    ….note El Verno offered up a fusion of cultures in his drumming.

    …..we are who we are and cannot crawl back centuries into a womb or gonad of an African tribes man or woman.

    We are not a member of any African tribe or speak any tribal language or can lay claim to any portion of the soil of Africa…….thanks to our ancestors both West African and European……live with the reality of life.


  • Without an anchor we drift as a people.


  • Our anchor is the Caribbean and our joint ancestry.


  • @ David
    Have you worked out yet that Vincent is symbolic of the problem…?


  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    @ Dear Vincent Haynes July 13, 2017 at 1:17 PM,

    I have to disagree with you. Are you aware that many of your African brothers and sisters who have been scattered throughout the new world have a strong connection to mother Africa? Do some research on Afro-Peruvians, or Colombians, or Haitians, or Jamaicans. Do you see where i’m coming from Vincent?

    Take a listen to Grover Washington homage to the spirit of those Afro-Brazilians who were raised in Bahai – the region that gave us Pele. A part of the world whose inhabitants still speak the language of their African tribal ancestors: Yoruba. For the record Vincent, Bahai is to all intent and purposes an off shoot of Nigeria.

    We should not be surprised that Barbadian dancers have been excluded from this gathering. I know of no other country with a black majority whose black population has become so disconnected to its African roots. It should be clear to all that we have nothing culturally as a people to offer. Certainly nothing that evokes our African heritage. We stand for nothing.



  • Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger

    Lawson…what are you complaining about, the banks are doing their jobs, they raised interest rates and the looney is rising.

    there are enough grease poles and strippers in Canada, dont want you corrupting the young ladies of Bim.

    Vincent…no amount of euro blood can ever be strong enough to dilute the African DNA, or spirit…it calls you…..if you cant hear Mama Africa, something is very wrong….

    because the euro spirit and soul is dead, always has been.


  • To each their own,I am happy for those that can identify their ancestral roots to a tribe in west Africa,I am saddened that they never thought of reclaiming their lands and leave Brazil,a land which has not been kind to them.

    Unfortunately none here in BIM can so do and as such I intend to make lemonade from the lemons that were left for us.I will always look upon the Europeans and west Africans as being responsible for the iniquity faced by my ancestors be they slave,indentured or master.


  • Bushie

    Chuckle……go play wid yuh Wacker and BBE……dis way past de fork….way over your head.


  • Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger

    I will always look upon the Europeans and west Africans as being responsible for the iniquity faced by my ancestors be they slave,indentured or master.

    ..as well you should, because they are all responsible and should be held accountable for their centuries old and continuing crimes.


  • WW no thanks to ya boyfriend just like we dont speak russian because the americans look after us because we look like them, our monetary gains are because of them as well. Dont worry just like the heads of crop over I would prefer to see you put a little more clothes on and while were at having it little kids bang wukking up on ya should be curtailed as well unless you can prove they are a dwarf.
    Please name a country that has never had slaves


  • Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger

    Lawson….how can anyone name a country which never had slaves when yall spread ya poison and brutality around each and every continent for centuries and though much more refined, still engaging in the modern day criminality.

    i know, i know, if US falls today or tomorrow all Canadians will die, so dependent are you on them….yall are yet to learn how to survive on your own without US…lol

    ….you wont keep away from Bim chasing strippers, you will get what`s coming to you.


  • Is Bim taking part?

    Launch of World Creole Music Festival 2017
    Presenting a link for live video coverage of the Launch of World Creole Music Festival 2017. This activity is scheduled for Thursday, July 13, 2017 to commen…


  • Trending on BU this morning, this blog.


  • camille navarro

    don’t forget Megan Navarro and Justin Poleon, of NIFCA fame……………..


  • Has there been an official statement issued by the Minister of Culture or the NCF on this matter? The officials are happy to allow the question being asked to bounced around the four corners of the world and for the receivers of the message to form uninformed conclusions?


  • My coworker is part of PCW. She said that there always had a dance troupe that was slated to perform at Carifesta.


  • Dear Readers,
    May I make a plea for the NCF to hire Elombe Mottley, our greatest living cultural historian, to be hired as a consultant for Carifta?


  • David,

    It is never too late.


  • If you’d like the honest to god truth, and before I am accused of hating my country let me be clear, i love this country with all of my being, but that said, our performing arts are no where on par with JaMaica or Trinidad. We have a love hate relationship with arts and culture. We love it once they are successful but until them we largely ignore our own.

    Jamaica and Trinjdad have full academy’s dedictaed to Dance up to a Bachelor’s Degreee Level with a rich history of indentifying and embracing their own national identity in their dance.

    We have Spooge and Bashment Soca and the latter exists under great protest.

    You want John Hunte to take on local dancers and artistes? Then foster an environment in which they can actually thrive.

    Until then this is just noise for the sake of making noise.


  • @John Smith

    Can we take your comment as the official reason Dr.John Hunte excluded local dancers from the opening act?


  • Pingback: A Carifesta Dance of Shame Explanation | Barbados Underground

  • @ David
    John Smith is correct.
    But the response is not to ignore the problem and keep them out of Carifesta, but to have used the festival to START a serious arts / dance / music school of excellence….

    Did the minister only become aware of the weakness highlighted in Smith’s piece last month…?


  • Quite pathetic!I am not really too surprised by this omission.Carifesta is being held in Barbados but there is no Carifesta Village.This is a shame


  • How could there be no village?
    Where will the SPIRIT of the festival be centralised?
    Surely the Cave Hill Campus or some such venue will serve this role…

    Hope this is not Deja Vu all over again …like last time….


  • Pingback: Carifesta Dance of Shame! — Barbados Underground – Jamaica Peace Council

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