Sir Hilary Beckles, Clive Lewis and others’ gay play (Mouth of the Beast #13)

 

My apologies to Norwich South MP Clive Lewis and his office staff for failing to forewarn them by private email of the speculation about his sexuality that I started to share via Twitter on International Women’s Day.

In good faith, I had undertaken to put the matter to them before publishing.

But after giving it some thought, at about 3:00 am Wednesday I decided that the concerns raised about me possibly defaming Mr Lewis were exaggerated because his extraordinary 2015 comment about sharing sexual intimacy with then Labor leader Ed Miliband and a goat had already invited speculation about his sexual orientation and inclinations in arguably the most scandalous, public manner possible.

And it is precisely such speculation that I intended, when I posted the International Women’s Day tweet, displayed in the following screenshot:

My International Women's Day 2017 'gay man' Alpha Woman tweet.
My International Women’s Day 2017 ‘gay man’ Alpha Woman tweet.

 

It reads “On #InternationalWomensDay I’m revisiting #CliveLewis’ jesting 2015 comment abt him and @Ed_Miliband sharing sexual intimacy with a goat…”

I not only go on to claim that this wildly suggestive comment, made by Lewis in the heat of the 2015 general election, raises questions about his sexual orientation and proclivities but also subtly present this proposition as an expression of personal affirmation and political ambition by alluding to reports of Lewis’ aspiration to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

“Is the gay man the new #AlphaWoman?” I ask, cheekily.

This is actually a ‘cultural appropriation’ of a declaration or question I heard on Woman’s Hour, on BBC Radio Four recently.

Something like “The gay man is the new alpha male,” said the program’s host that day, possibly Jane Garvey or Jenni Murray.

So my Twitter post about Lewis’ probable (from my standpoint) homosexual orientation actually has a heterosexual undercurrent, rooted in the ongoing ‘battle of the sexes’ that I find myself reluctantly waging with Barbados’ fundamentalist feminists and other women and men in the Caribbean, the UK, the US, Africa, India and elsewhere, who engage in gender, race and religious racketeering, consciously or unconsciously.

And I assert my right both as a journalist and as one of Mr Lewis’ constituents to engage in such speculation, in line with the Western democratic notion that those who hold public office should be prepared to undergo public scrutiny.

Or we could say “To whom much is given, much is required,” if we want to clothe this idea in biblical language (Luke 12: 35-48).

‘Brother Lewis’, whose office is housed at the Open Youth Trust building, owned by prominent Judeo-Christian Norfolk businessman Graham Dacre certainly seems to have some  Christian instincts.

Screenshot of BBC report on Lewis' extraordinary comment.
Screenshot of BBC report on Lewis’ extraordinary comment.

Which is possibly what made his seemingly off-the-cuff, impulsive, carnal-knowledge-curry-goat comment so shocking, presumably, to Pentecostal Pastor Aaron Machaya, Anglican Bishop Rev Graham James, Ishaan Mosque leader Uthman Morrison and other leaders of Norfolk’s Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religious communities.

Lewis’ ‘loose-batting-cricketer’ comment (slashing wildly, outside his off-stump, metaphorically) was probably less surprising and offensive to the trade unionists, left-leaning, atheists and other journalists, business people, politicians and political activists that I am inclined to believe he hangs out with more frequently.

But I am primarily concerned with how his comments would have been received by members of Norfolk’s gay and bisexual community.

In fact, from my standpoint, I think the still relatively newly minted parliamentarian Lewis’ comment might have been intended for the amusement of gay males particularly.

And that is because I believe Lewis is a member of Norfolk’s homosexual male community.

It is this conviction, bolstered by the testimony of a member of that community who shall remain nameless, that prompted me to contact Lewis’ office in the first place, on Sunday, March 5.

I had by then spent at least three weeks working on this thirteenth installment of this ‘Mouth of the Beast’ series of articles and resolved that while I would be representing professor Sir Hilary Beckles as a homo-ideologue, rather than a homosexual, I would be representing Lewis as a gay man, in line with my intuition based, anonymous source supported belief.

Now, readers should note that I am not stating that Lewis, viewed by some as a potential replacement for Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, is gay definitively.

I believe that he is gay but I would not, indeed could not, in good faith assert this as an irrefutable certainty.

I trust my gay source, who has offered evidence that corroborates my belief.

But that evidence was not offered incontrovertibly.

So I am prepared to be proven wrong about this.

But frankly, I do not think I can be.

I believe that if Mr Lewis denies that he is gay, he and I shall have to agree to disagree.

That is not to say that I would call him a liar.

That is just one possibility.

It may just mean that his and my definitions of ‘gayness’ differ fundamentally.

You see, my definition of ‘gayness’ includes both sexual and non-sexual male-on-male attractions. (And I can think of at least two Barbadian men I know whose preference for male company may stem from such attraction.)

 

Mighty Gabby - live performance, 2012 (Wikipedia)
Mighty Gabby – live performance, 2012 (Wikipedia)

Indeed, it includes forms of man-to-man combat and hostility.

That is where Barbadian singer Peter ‘Ram’ Wiggins’ 2010 song ‘Hit It’, featured in the video at the top of this page, comes in.

Based on a scandalous, public, physical attack by prominent Barbadian Calypsonian Anthony ‘Mighty Gabby’ Carter on DJ Anthony ‘Admiral’ Nelson that year, it offers insights into Barbados’ culture of bullying and intimidation, which is paralleled, I think, by a culture of ‘buller’ intimacy (we generally use the word ‘buller’ there, instead of terms like ‘faggit’ or ‘queer’).

I am contending that gay sex among males in Barbados is essentially a matter of physical conquest that runs parallel to more patently violent, brutal manifestations of man-to-man animosity and hostility.

I am also contending that this deep-seated, possibly unconscious hostility, rooted in the frustration or failure of father-son relationships is at the core of what I have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of professor Beckles and other Barbadian males who apparently think that they have a god-given or other right to deprive me, as ‘grabby Gabby’ did, of the social, financial and other material fruit of my intellectual property.

The ‘gay play’ that I am exploring here and subsequently, is a parasitic, Jimmy Savile-recalling abuse of power by people in positions of privilege and authority.

It is a predatory ‘power play’: a grab for power like Donald Trump’s grabbing at the most exquisitely powerful and vulnerable facet of a woman’s body, arguably.

In both a heterosexual and male homosexual context it entails an at least conceptual ‘boring’, penetration or other disruption of the target’s core identity.

I chose to use the “Iron Ram” video precisely because it includes a photo clip (from 0:26 to 0:28) where the word “bore” appears in a characteristically youthful, contemporary Bajan colloquial English sense, to signify a violent assault of the body.

I have suffered and continue to suffer similar assaults on my identity by Beckles, Lewis and other anti-social socialists, fundamentalist feminists, religious opportunists and other persons who ‘rape’ me socio-politically.

Donald Trump, 45th United States President (Wikipedia)
Donald Trump, 45th United States President (Wikipedia)

 

But this Savile-like, vampirish perversion of public service by Beckles, Lewis and their allies in the media does not affect me only.

As I explain in the rationale for a petition to the UK parliament that I created on Tuesday, the silencing or suppression of my voice by them and their allies in the UK parliament, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Norfolk Constabulary and other entities has implications for the integrity of those establishment entities.

Calling on Parliament to investigate UK politicians’ role in the criminal conspiracy against me in which Beckles and Lewis are implicated, I explain:

“Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, current Prime Minister Theresa May, Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Prescott and other UK politicians are implicated in a campaign of character assassination and other human rights abuses launched by Barbadian MP Donville Inniss and others against me.

The campaign stems from my opposition to Judeo-Christian hypocrisy and corruption in the 1990s.

In 1999 Inniss and my former business associate Steven Mendes launched an attack on my website www.intelek.net. The campaign was consciously or unconsciously co-opted by prominent Barbadian and UK knowledge traders, including Sir Hilary Beckles, publisher Jeremy Poynting and Lord Prescott of Kingston Upon Hull. The campaign erodes the democratic ideals and functions of the Commonwealth Secretariat.”

 

jenni_murray-2011-wikipedia
jenni_murray-2011-wikipedia

 

(And just let me note here that at the time of publishing this article I was not aware that Commonwealth trade ministers, presumably including Inniss, were meeting for an inaugural summit in London.)

I include a link to the petition here and invite readers, including Mr Lewis to sign it and work with me.

If he is innocent, he has nothing to fear and should see this as an opportunity to clear his name of any complicity in Inniss’ and others’ criminal, human rights violating, brutal gay play attacks on my knowledge trading identity and activities.

In a word, this is a chance for him to be straight with me and other members of our Norwich South constituency, whether or not he is gay.

Whether or not he is gay, he will want to avoid the arrogance, petty vengeance and conceit of Trump-backer Peter Thiel, the former closet homosexual who was outed by Gawker and financed a lawsuit that forced that gossip rag into bankruptcy.

This is not about gossip. It is about accountability.

The three articles below, written and published in 2010 as a response to the Gabby-Admiral altercation will help readers see what I mean.

The third one, entitled “Gabby-gate: my supposed hidden agenda” details how the failed Democratic Labour Party politician Gabby basically hijacked the sociopolitical capital in my song ‘Obscenity’ in 2000.

This kind of political piracy, plagiarism and psychological rape or penetration is particularly noticeable today as demagogues like Trump claim to be acting on behalf of ‘the American people’.

And the patently partial sloganeering about ‘the British electorate’ by his UK counterpart Ms May, in her least analytical, more propagandizing moments, is not much better.

Indeed, given the suggestion by Ian Duncan Smith that the UK electorate was subjected to a secretive psych ops operation by himself and other Brexiters in the UK’s EU Referendum vote, May might be viewed as a Trump, Beckles or Lewis conquering alpha female: a demagoguery deploying Maximum Mamma, in sexualized, nationalist socialist (Nazi) terms.

I have created another petition, calling on Parliament to investigate this possibility, based on a reference Duncan Smith made to his familiarity with psych ops in the BBC Radio 4 documentary How We Voted Brexit.

I will be elaborating on the dangers of such Hitleresque homogenizing politics and related matters further in my Brexedous – Movement Of the People project, coming soon to www.brexedous.com.

——————————————————————————————————

 

Gabby gets “grabby”: is the glory gone?

Less than a week ago, he was honored with the much coveted “Calypso Monarch of Barbados” title, but today a dark cloud – not a jeweled crown – hangs over the head of one of that island’s most celebrated entertainers.
Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter, veteran entertainer and eighth-time winner of Barbados’ annual “Pic o de Crop” calypso singing competition – the glowing high-point of the island’s traditional Crop Over festivities that draw thousands to its shores every year – is facing national and international disgrace at what could perhaps have been his greatest moment of triumph.

Radio announcer Anthony ‘Admiral’ Nelson, a prominent Caribbean critic of the Calypso music genre, and Gabby’s compatriot, is claiming that the highly esteemed artiste got ‘grabby’ with him, physically assaulting him because of his professional criticisms.

Nationnews.com, one of Barbados’ leading online news sources, has published a picture of Nelson, shirt torn off him almost completely, following the alleged altercation.

And Caribfyah TV (www.caribfyah.com), carries a video excerpt in which the irate cultural critic remonstrates against his alleged attacker, claiming that an arrest warrant had been issued for the embattled monarch and threatening the severest possible legal action.

“I am taking this full-fledged! There’s an arrest warrant out for Gabby! I will take it to court and I don’t want any apologies!” he says.

He says “I am going for the highest judgement that I can get out of this!”
Sixty-two year old Gabby’s diamonds seemed destined to become dung from the time his victory was announced.

Large segments of the thousands strong throng that packed Barbados’ Kensington Oval booed voluminously when he was declared the competition winner, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

And Nelson, known for his controversial views as a calypso aficionado was quick to suggest that the opinions of the public seem to have factored little in the judges’ assessment of who had won.

Media reports suggest that popular criticism against “King Carter” seems to be particularly focused on “Ole Ashe”, one of the two self-penned songs he rendered for the competition.

Characterized by a fusion of Iberian (according to the artiste) and Anglo-Caribbean influences, the song combines elements of technical instrumental sophistication with lecture-like vocal narrative – augmented awkwardly, some may argue, with Gabby’s trademark populist jazz-tinged shrieking, en Espanol!

I suggested to Historian Trevor Marshall, a former Chief Judge of the competition that Gabby, also known locally for his political activism (including a number of failed bids for election to Barbados’ Parliament) was perhaps a victim of the perils of his own brand of populism.

Marshall agreed but said that even populist calypsonians are entitled to try to elevate or refine their audiences’ level of musical appreciation.
The well known social commentator also said he would be deeply disappointed with the distinguished artiste, a former cultural ambassador, attached to the Prime Minister’s office, if the allegations made against him proved to be true.

Likening the alleged conduct to that of a “rum shop brawl”, Marshall said that as an exponent of an African oral tradition based musical genre, calypsonians are expected to excel in oral-fencing when under pressure, not resort to physical aggression.

He said, “I think that if you’re a calypso monarch, you have a way with words. You have lyrics. You can defeat and deflect any opponent with words. You do not have to use anything else. Certainly not breaking the law.”

This failure of oral performance, a virtual betrayal of Gabby’s word-craft, Marshall agreed, is probably the most damning indictment that the aging wordsmith will face.

That though, perhaps depends on the prominence to be given in the coming days to the allegation of violence against women that Admiral implicitly leveled at the new monarch.

He said “I will say this to all and sundry: we preach (against) domestic violence in Barbados.
No man has a right to hit another man, for speaking! And no man has a right to hit a woman for anything! And I want to say that to Mighty Gabby!”

One source out of Barbados, speaking to All Voices on condition of anonymity, has suggested that this veiled claim may relate to an incident several years ago that left a former girlfriend of Gabby’s, Hazel King, nursing a broken arm.

Also, another former girlfriend, Joy Workman, a feminist activist, may now feel emboldened to comment on how her relationship with the mercurial artist soured.

The domestic violence suffered by Gabby’s more celebrated compatriot, international pop diva Rihanna, at the hands of Chris Brown, may even figure in future discussions of this unfortunate development – especially if the US based recording artist decides to comment on this crisis in her island home.
Could such a prominently positioned, public opinion garrisoning perspective be what Admiral had in mind when he said he would be pursuing the “highest judgement” against his aggressor?

At the time of his victory last week, Gabby is reported to have waxed biblical, saying “You know all, all, all praises to Jahovah yuh know. All praises Jahovah!”
Significantly, the dreadlocked artiste whose Rastafarian sympathies are well known, also credited the almighty for the inspiration of his controversial hit “Wuk up!”, which won him the calypso monarchy in 2000.

It would now seem though, that as the storm of criticism against him intensifies, the aging oracle is set to be consigned one of the most devastating of biblical pronouncements: ichabod – God’s glory has departed.


 

As international scandal looms, Barbados Government gets glib

The prospect of international embarrassment over and possible financial fallout from the “Grabby” Crop Over scandal seems to be prompting glib denials of the seriousness of the issue by Barbadian government officials.
Recently crowned calypso monarch of Barbados Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter, a veteran entertainer, former Cultural Ambassador attached to the Prime Minister’s office, facilitator of educational cultural awareness projects and internationally renowned afrocentric political activist is facing a criminal allegation of assault, arising from an incident on Sunday in which he clashed with local radio announcer Anthony Admiral Nelson.

In an online video interview recorded not long after the incident (http://media.caribfyah.com/video/1F0BCC68A2/cbcs-admiral-nelson-interview) Nelson, a controversial calypso critic, issued a stern warning to Gabby, linking the cultural educator’s alleged violent conduct to the scourge of domestic violence on the island. An anonymous All Voices source yesterday confirmed that the dreadlocked Gabby, who projects himself as a peaceful, spiritually enlightened artiste, and populist political champion of the black Barbadian masses, has a history of violence against women.

Yet according to local news leader Nationnews.com, on Wednesday Ken Knight, Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) – the main government body responsible for Crop Over festivities – gave an essentially uncritical, upbeat assessment of the Pic-O-De-Crop calypso competition won by Gabby.

The relative silence of the Nation report suggests that Knight was either not questioned about or refused to comment on the 62 year-old Gabby’s alleged violent conduct, and, more crucially perhaps, that he did not comment on the hugely unpopular decision of the NCF calypso judges to crown Gabby: the unpopular NCF decision that arguably set the whole “Grabby affair” in motion.

So – again according to Nationnews.com – Knight mentions the comparatively minor booing that the audience at one event (Soca Royale) bestowed on calypso femme Terencia “TC” Coward, but said nothing about the booing that exploded at Kensington Oval when Gabby was named winner of the NCF competition!

Knight’s strategic analysis, published late last night, was predicted by earlier, similarly dismissive comments from the island’s Tourism Minister Richard Sealy.

Speaking to Voice of Barbados radio (VOB 92.9) earlier in the evening, Sealy seemed intent on deflecting attention away from the “Grabby” debacle, claiming that this year’s Crop Over had been essentially controversy free.

A remarkable claim, considering that the Pic-Of-De-Crop calypso competition is the unquestioned jewel in the crown of Crop Over – and the person adjudged “Calypso King” the master, arguably, of all he surveys on Barbados’ cultural landscape.

Comments by Pic-O-De-Crop producer Adisa “Aja” Andwele of the NCF, on the same radio station yesterday, are even more puzzling – if not alarming. Andwele, a performance poet and musician of some renown said that some elements in the media were seeking to create a controversy where there was none and that this behaviour was putting the islands premier cultural festival at risk.

Andwele may have been referring to the All Voices report published by this writer yesterday. In that report, I made what some might regard as a tenuous link between the “Grabby” affair and the much publicized criminal assault by American pop singer Chris Brown on US-based, Barbadian pop star Rhianna.

I suggested that Admiral’s linking of the assault allegedly inflicted on him by Gabby, to campaigns against domestic violence in Barbados, may have been a calculated manifestation of the Festival Stage host’s avowed intention to seek the “highest judgement” he could get against his supposed aggressor.

I stand by that suggestion. If, as Admiral’s language suggests (including his allusion to how his alleged fight with Gabby could influence his show’s listenership) he intends to make full capital of the “Grabby” affair, at Gabby’s expense, it seems reasonable to assume that he might hope to have his cause endorsed by his highflying international songbird compatriot, Rhianna Robin Fenty, given her own unfortunate experience as a victim of physical violence.

I would also suggest that Andwele’s, Sealy’s and Knight’s energies would be better spent on proactive efforts to ensure that Barbados’ cultural industries are established on an authentic ethical footing, rather than concern themselves too much with how this or that artiste appears in the international press.

Some years ago, I did an interview with former Permanent Secretary in the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism Karen Ford-Warner.

The widow of the late Barbadian playwright Earl Warner, Ford-Warner now resides in Barbados where she has been working as Deputy General Secretary of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Perhaps the governmental authorities who seem so keen to protect Gabby’s and Crop Over’s international image might find the counsel she shared with me during our interview instructive.

I do not recall her precise words, but the substance of her point is this: the best tourism products are not focused inordinately on the satisfaction of the visitor; they first service the needs of the people who produce them.

Put differently, in a domestic relations context, you might say that what Barbadian calypso lovers owe Gabby (and Andwele, Sealy, Knight and his other “connections”) is miniscule compared to what he (and his “connections”) owe the Barbadian calypso loving public.

And I am not talking solely about material remuneration.

Indeed, I am talking principally about the currency of respect.

I would venture that it is the disrespect implicit not only in Gabby’s recent patronizing mouthings, but also in things he has said and done over his thirty-year long career in calypso and politics – his arrogant utterances and blatant affronts to the Barbadian electorate’s common sense – that is at the crux of his current problems.

I therefore suggest that rather than trying to gloss over the current controversy, he and his “connections” should give some serious thought to how they might repay their debt.

 


 

Gabby-gate: my supposed hidden agenda

My “closeness” to Barbadian calypsonian Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter – the man at the centre of what I have dubbed “Gabby-gate”, has made reporting on the issues around his alleged assault of radio announcer and music critic Anthony “Admiral” Nelson a bit difficult for me.
It is a dilemma I believe every journalist faces at one time or another, to varying degrees: How do I report a story in which I have a vested interest, without making it “all about me”?

Prominent Voice of Barbados (VOB) radio journalist David Ellis may have grappled with this kind of dilemma some years ago when his father died. At least that is what Astor Marshall, a.k.a. “Cement Man” told me.

Now deceased, Marshall was a frequent contributor to VOB’s popular “Brass Tacks” call-in programme – as I was too, in those days.

It was after an edition of Brass Tacks that Marshall called me and expressed his belief that Ellis as host was particularly critical of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – because of supposed sub-standard service to his father before he died.

I shall return to Ellis’ journalistic challenges later.

Now I must explain what I mean when I speak of my closeness to “Gabberts” – as fan and friend call the mighty one.

In 2000, I was working as an independent contractor with the Prime Minister’s office, providing (or attempting to provide) holistic communication and education services to the Barbados Government Commission for Pan Africa Affairs (BGPAF).

Prominent Barbadian Pan Africanist David Comissiong, pioneer of the BGPAF was the Director at that time.

I was also facilitating David’s father, the recently deceased Reverend Vivian Comissiong with his autobiography – at David’s request, not his father’s.

If I remember correctly, Reverend Comissiong expressed some scepticism about the project a number of times.

That though, again, is a point for another article.

The point here is that the ardent Pan Africanist, Comissiong-the-younger and I were on rather good terms, in those days.

Some “communication challenges” (he might say my “big mouth”) have come between us since.

In 2000 however, the year Gabby won the calypso crown with “Wuk Up”, the wily Comissiong, a solid friend of Gabby’s (and Ice Records producer Eddie Grant’s) was on reasonably good terms with me.

It was on these terms, presumably, that he one day benevolently and beneficially suggested that I might be viewing Gabby’s “Wuk Up” as a derivation of a song I had written, recorded and produced the same year – entitled Obscenity (http://audioboo.fm/boos/165672-obscenity).

“Wuk up” certainly addresses the same issue as “Obscenity”: the annual, stereo-typically judgemental criticisms and denouncements by Caribbean church leaders of Barbadians’ and other regional revellers’ sexually suggestive dancing during our respective festivals – Crop-Over, Carnival and so on.

And Gabby does defend the revellers against these criticisms, as I do, essentially.
However, while I would admit to feeling that I had to some extent been upstaged by the veteran calypsonian, I would not say that my feelings affected my assessment of his song.

My assessment of “Wuk up” – such as it might have been during my conversation with Comissiong – would have been influenced first and foremost by how I felt it compares with “Obscenity” – and not just with that song, but with the wider “Lewd Logic” project of which “Obscenity” was a part.

It is on that basis that I would have told Comissiong or anyone else asking, that “Wuk Up” was perhaps a good song, but not great.

Compared to “Obscenity” and the overall Lewd Logic CD project, I could only ever view “Wuk Up” as a poor imitation.

I say imitation because I do believe I had written my song long before Gabby wrote his.

Certainly, when I sang “Obscenity” for Spar1 Music chief Mike Thompson, the day in 1999 or early 2000 when he visited me at Poetpourri House in Barbados, he did not suggest he had heard anything like it.

And this was some time ahead of the 2000 Pic-o-de-crop Calyspso competition, and Gabby’s late entry with “Wuk up”.

Years before, Mac Fingall, another Barbadian calypsonian had done “Ah go wine”, another song about Barbadians’ botsie-centric (buttocks-centred) dancing.

However, while that might be described as being defiant of critics generally – not just cleric’s faultfinding – “Obscenity” (and its “Wuk up” imitation), was both more specific and direct.

Some might even call it confrontational.

There was also a song by calypsonian Charles “Romeo” Smith – “Praise Jah for Crop Over”, depicting a member of the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church breaking rank, so to speak, and “playing mass” with the Crop-Over revellers one year.

Here again though, the treatment of the issues was somewhat superficial.
The Lewd Logic CD is an approximately one hour, one and a half minutes long, predominantly spoken discourse, adapted from an essay of the same name, which I wrote in 1998.

The discourse is punctuated with instrumental excerpts from “Obscenity” and climaxes (I couldn’t resist) with the full vocal and instrumental version.
The project was not intended to win me a calypso crown: it was a radical, holistic attempt to facilitate social change.

It combines theological apologetics and an analysis of Caribbean and broader church history with populist arguments, to promote a balanced assessment of Caribbean people’s sexually suggestive wukking-up or wining.

I believe that as such, the CD was the first of its kind anywhere!

It is not the only first for which I can take credit as a creative artist and activist.

As the blurb on the CD cover says, “An innovator, Bendia (I sometimes used the name Bocar Bendia – last name pronounced Ben-jah, signifying son or child of God) is also known for his pioneering work in the literary arts field, chiefly as a founding member of the Voices: Barbados Writers’ Collective.

Bendia was also responsible for what may have been Voices’ first significant effort to bring Barbadian poets and jazz musicians together, through his ambitious 1997 Poeticjazztice project.”

Now, since the playing of “Obscenity” by Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation announcer Arturro Valentino, when I did a promotional radio interview with him, “Obscenity” has never again been played by a Barbadian radio station – as far as I’m aware.

And this in spite of the Lewd Logic project’s stated aim of stemming the spread o HIV AIDS in Barbados and the Caribbean!

On one of the six panels of the CD cover, there is a poem entitled “A Word to the

Wise”, which reads:

Sex is cerebral; there is more to it
Than what meets the eye.
The best lovers are wise lovers
With a vision and a plan for their lives.

Wisdom dictates moderation
And prudence at all times.
So when you party
Remember your plan:
Live life as full as you can.
If you goin wuk-up, wuk-up wise!

“Obscenity” and the overall Lewd Logic project, therefore, is not just about making a hit song, “being true to calypso”, winning a car or any such thing – however laudable or helpful those things might be.

It is about inculcating a balanced sense of self among Caribbean people, in an area of our lives that affects us profoundly. The consequences of imbalance and excess in this area can include death.

I give this background – this context or what I call my “closeness” to Gabby – because it is the perspective from which I approach “Grabby-gate” s a journalist.
This background informs my view of the poet Aja’s and other National Cultural Foundation personnel’s keenness to suggest that “Grabby-gate” is a minor distraction from the main news coming out of this year’s Crop-Over festival -there really is no controversy or story here.

It informs my view of the overwhelming silence of the Barbados media about an alleged serious physical attack on one of their associates – or is that not what the radio announcer is? – and their failure to meaningfully address the significance of Admiral’s association of Gabby’s alleged violent conduct with the scourge of domestic violence Barbadian women (and men) contend with.

The only suggestion I have seen of any media house pursuing the possible hint by Admiral that what he allegedly suffered at Gabby’s hands, may be similar to the violence suffered by Barbadian international recording star Rihanna at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown – a possibility I have been pursuing from my first report on “Grabby-gate” – is a report on www.nationnews.com about Rihanna’s appearance with Eminem in a music video of a song about domestic violence (http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/rihannas-in-new-video-on-domestic-violence/).

So, I propose that the real question around “Grabby-gate” is not about any hidden agenda on my part.

In the language of RPB’s song this year: I am seeing the signs and I am reporting on them – even at the risk of being accused of having a hidden agenda.

The question is, why are Dennis Johnson, David Ellis, Anthony Brian and other Barbadian journalists and publishers not doing the same?

 

 

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