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Commentary: In Grenada 2017 Carnival, jab jab culture dominated, but judges made biased decisions
Published on August 24, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Hudson George

Grenada August 2017 carnival ended on a high with large amount of people playing mas’ but the most dominant masqueraders were jab jab in all the parishes. However, there were traditional mas’ such as shortknee, vecou and pretty mas’ as major highlights, but in terms of the groovy soca and the calypso monarch there was some unfair judging and it is very sad to see persons judging competitions with a mindset rather than judging honestly.

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
But then again this is Grenada and the way most Grenadians are, for numerous reasons that affect the fabric of society. Unfortunately, they put politics in everything, when they should not.

I am sure some of us were youths during the Eric Gairy GULP government era and we can remember how politics affected culture. However, when the Maurice Bishop People’s Revolutionary government (PRG) came into power, culture suffered the same fate because of political reasons. And after the revolution was defeated by the US invaders and democracy restored, culture continues to suffer because of the same old political reasons.

Unfortunately, calypsonians are still divided for the monies paid out to winners and with that kind of selfish greedy attitude, politicians are buying out calypsonians who sing for them, while the others who sing against them continue to suffer. Therefore, calypsonians are no longer griots. They are singing for their supper. It is very sad but that is the way it is, because calypsonians have bills to pay when the month is up and family to support.

In the Calypso Monarch competition the judges were so biased, I wonder if they have a conscience. For example, I just cannot believe that the judges scored show calypsonians “Campus” and “Big J” tied for last, when they had better songs with good lyrics than the other calypsonians, who placed higher than them. If this kind of bias in judging continues, there is a possibility that the standard of calypso will drop because some calypsonians will give up the art-form totally, or they might continue to sing but they will not participate in the monarch competition.

In terms of the Groovy Monarch competition, the judges seem to have their own mindset that is totally biased as those who judged calypso. For example, Lavaman is a very talented artiste but he is not a soca singer. Lavaman is a unique Grenadian rapper, who has the talent to rap in his own Grenadian style that can attract partygoers globally. Therefore, I just cannot see the reason why the judges tried their best to give Lavaman the Groovy Soca monarch title.

However, they placed him in second position, when he should be placed lower in the order. I am still puzzled. I am wondering if the reason is because Lavaman is from St George’s and those in authority want to give a town person the groovy monarch title, even though artistes in the outer parishes are more talented in that art-form competition.

In addition, I must say, that I am happy for the jab jab masqueraders. They defeated the old colonial conservative class, such as the church leaders, the traditional bourgeoisie class and the few conservative leftist-communists who openly would say that there is no God, but still trying to silent the jab jab culture.

But then again, atheism is not part of our African ancestors’ culture. It is a European scientific belief. Therefore, the handful of communists and other educated folks who do not believe in a supreme being should not have the rights to dictate what moral values are the best for our society.

However, although this article is about culture in terms of entertainment, I must touch on a bit of political development. However, I read the news that the ruling New National Party (NNP) has selected a female caretaker for St Andrew North East Constituency. Therefore, I am curious to know why the ruling party is focusing only on female candidates in the big parish. My question is: Where are those smart educated brilliant St Andrew parish men? I will be not be surprised that the great former Grenadian leader Eric Gairy is turning in his grave.

I hope that this kind of gender bias against rural educated men will not backfire on the ruling government in the future. There is a possibility that a wise young man from the big parish will rise and challenge that kind of bias because males are dominant by nature and that cannot change in our lifetime.

Additionally, I must take a swing at the opposition NDC party too. They are also guilty in the past of disrespecting culture and persons who love culture. I remember when they when they were the ruling government, they restricted persons in the various villages from practicing jab jab songs on weekends and in the nights during the week.

Presently, they are trying to capitalize on the panorama steel pan controversy that caused the panorama competition to flop because the stage was not completed to hold the event as part of the carnival celebration. However, I personally, believe that panorama should be held a week before the groovy soca and soca monarch competition. Presently, panorama is not a suitable event during the highlight of carnival.

We must accept the evolution of carnival and the NDC political activists should know that is a fact, rather than making politics out of it.

In conclusion, I must say that I am happy to see that the carnival celebration ended without any violence, in spite of the biased judges’ decisions and the politics within the culture. However, as the jab jab culture of mas’ and music spreads globally, I hope that in the near future a wise administration will give us one day in the year to celebrate Jab Jab Day.

I believe we are a jab jab nation during the carnival celebration. And when we say we are a jab jab nation we know what we are talking about. Because our history taught us that the real jab jab are the ones who oppressed our ancestors during slavery. Some of them were ministers of churches who supported the slave planters and protected them against our ancestors’ rebellions.

However, it is a shame to see their followers today, leading prayers for us during the Emancipation Day celebration. I wish they would leave us alone. It is time that they allow us to enjoy our freedom for heaven’s sake!
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