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Commentary: Toronto-based Grenadian soca and calypso artistes to organise against exploitation
Published on September 4, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Hudson George

We celebrated another Grenada Day on August 23, 2014, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; similar to how Grenadians in New York have their own celebration. However, even though there is no calypso and soca monarch competitions for Grenadian artistes based in Toronto, they are aware of the fact that they are getting the recognition and respect from the organisers of the event. On the other, it is unfair for the organisers to be labeling them as local artistes.

hudson_george.jpg
Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers
It is very important for the organisers to know that they are disrespecting those Grenadians artistes in Toronto. The organisers must come to their senses and suppose to know that our artistes in Toronto are not begging them to perform in this cultural annual event, as they tend to believe they are doing those artistes a favour. If Grenada Day in Toronto is a pure Grenada cultural event, therefore, Toronto-based Grenadian artistes must be treated with respect and not like beggars.

However, some of those Toronto-based artistes are saying that the organisers are labeling them as local artistes, as means of trying to make them look as amateurs, rather than professionals and to avoid paying them money for stage performance. Therefore, they are planning to create a Toronto-based soca and calypso organisation, so that they can get respect from those organisers of event, who tend to want them to perform free, even though the events are not free to the audience.

In addition, while the organisers are doing such an injustice to the Toronto-based artistes, the same organisers sometimes invite non-Grenadian artistes in Toronto to perform at the event and pay them money for their performances. In addition, although it is very good that the organisers invite non-Grenadians artistes to be part of the celebration, that does not give them the right to make their own artistes inferior performers. For example, in the past eight years or so, some Toronto-based Grenadians artistes made songs that are popular in the carnival and on radio stations.

The organisers of Grenada Day are aware of the fact that some Grenadian-based artistes made songs that are popular within the Grenadian community and beyond, but they have this old backward Grenadian mentality imbedded in them that, if they know persons within their community with talent, they must exploit the talent from those persons for free. They are so bad minded. They think that if they pay their own artistes within the community some money, those artistes will make money and profit from them. However, this is true example, how the small-island mentality of backwardness always shows up as negative, within our Grenadian society that is not industrious but very political.

Additionally, some of the Toronto-based artistes are blaming themselves too. They are saying that should have organised themselves as a cultural body years ago. However, they think it is never too late for them to organise themselves. They believe that they have the talent and potential as those New York-based Toronto artistes, who performed at the this year’s 2014 Grenada Day event in Toronto, even though Grenadians in New York have their own independence calypso monarch competition and Grenadians in Toronto do not have that competition.

They are saying that Toronto-based Grenadian calypsonians such as Lyon, Redman and Spice are as talented as Val Adams, Super Star, Quako and Randy Isaac, who performed in the 2014 New York Grenada Calypso Monarch Competition. They are saying that Toronto-based Grenadian soca artiste known as the Flying Gaybo is talented and full of energy as any other Grenadian soca artiste at home and anywhere else abroad. However, they think it is time for the organisers of Grenada Day and other Grenadian organisations that host events for profit, to pay them some monies for their performance, rather than expecting them to always perform at events free.

In conclusion, Grenadian based soca and calypso artistes are saying it loud and clear. Enough is enough with the nonsense and exploitation of their creativity. It is time they get the true respect needed to them. They are saying to the organisers of cultural events in Toronto, please stop trying to exploit Toronto-Grenadian artistes’ culture free and learn to respect them as professionals because their talented gift represents pure Grenada and not foreign imitation. So stop the exploitation! Their talent is not to be exploited by persons who do not understand and recognise the importance of culture as a national resource!
 
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Comments:

Jimmy:

Mr George, it hard to take you as a serious commentator. Having read your commentaries over the years, it seems that when it suits you, you lay the blame for Grenada's problems at the feet of "town people''. And after "town people'', the next in line in NDC politicians. But in this commentary, there are no "town people'' involved as artists and your NNP party is in power, so these are not part of this latest commentaries. Your battle now is with "Toronto-based'' and "New York-based'' artists. You is a piece of work, brother.

Hudson George:

"Jerry" Alias name. whsoever you are!

Can you tell me when, where and how I am a NNP supporter? Can you teel me what make you think I am a NNP supporter and why you jump to that conclusion, even though I am not known to the NNP party card members?

After Eric Mathew Gairy liberate the poor working class people in the Tri Island Nation and in his political era ended in 1979, the town folks who grabbed on to power committed the most criminal acts in Grenada. They have created their own demise. The locked you more than a thousands rural people. And if or when I write about that, I cannot see why you are saying I am dividing rural and country people. the division is history written bro.

Lastly, I did not vote against the NDC or vote for the NNP in the last general election. Therefore, you are pointing your index finger at the wrong object.

In terms of the soca and calypso issue, how did you jump the subject into NDC and NNP politics?

Why don't and deal with Peter, Chester, Hamlet and Rawl? According the Black Wizard, these fellas were always NNP and you did not know. Stop pointing your fingers at me for your party political failures.

Jimmy:

Mr George, it's not Jerry, it's Jimmy - like Jimmy Cliff, my parents favourite reggae singer. Look mate, you never write without including your town/country mantra or making reference to politics. So just answer the question why in this commentary there is no mention of town and country and Grenada politics. Just answer, mate, and stop your incoherent rambling or else I will calling George Grant to make him deal with you. And thanks for letting me that because you don't carry a NNP party card or because you didn't vote in the last election, you not a NNP supporter.

Hudson George:

"Jimmy" you claim is you alias. As long as the NDC continue to use George Grant media outlet as the party propaganda machine, the NNP will get the upper hand.

George Grant cannot appeal to the grassroots Grenadian population. he is to high on cloud 9


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