by Dr Augustine Panchoo
I listened with a keen sense of appreciation to the recently released song rendered by Finley “Scholar” Jeffrey and I must attest to the wonderful melody and creative lyrics as written and composed by Bryan Griffith and Finley Jeffrey.
This song might be a contender for the Groovy or even Road March. In fact, this might be Scholar’s trump card to the Monarchy on Dimanche Gras night. There is no question that Scholar is amazing at what he does. His craft is unmatched in the modern calypso arena. His wit and lyrical content rise to the top in every competition. I salute you Finley “Scholar” Jeffrey.
So why am I writing this?
I write because, I find the lyrics of this song to be irresponsible, intolerant, debasing, mean, bullish, antipathic, xenophobic, chauvinistic, and filled with prejudice, malice, and bigotry. The lyrics of this song will perpetrate a sense of hatred for a person or persons who do not share the same sexual preference or sexual orientation. The lyrics of this song seeks to debase, demean, dehumanise, and ostracise an individual because he shares an identity different from yours.
I do not have to defend Mr Seetahal. I have never met the gentleman. I have only seen and listened to him on the media. Mr Seetahal can ably defend himself. I listened to him on the program Ride Along. He does not need another voice. His is strong enough. However, what the lyrics of this song exposes is the vulnerable and other persons who do not have a strong eloquent voice, neither emotional strength to defend or stand up for themselves. Who will defend them Scholar? Who will fight for them when others in positions of responsibility seek to malign and embarrass them? You have mouthed many times through your songs that you will stand up for the oppressed, the calypsonians who are treated unfairly, the children who are victims of violence and yet, through this song, you chose to trample on the freedom of an individual.
Truth is, I started writing this piece soon after I heard the song. However, the need for me to articulate my feelings were cemented when I listened to a defense offered by Finley Jeffrey in an interview about this song. Scholar, please do not try to insult the intelligence of most. This song is categorically about an identified person. This is not about pan. You brazenly used words like “rear”, “backside”, “prefer shit” and “gay” among your lyrics. These are all phrases and words used when referring to the gay community. These are not words associated with pan. Grenada missed an opportunity for much needed change during the last referendum because leaders and politicians stoked fear about gay rights in the voting population.
This song spits out hate, it leaves a crowd chanting for more because they can whine and grind at the expense of another individual. They may think it is funny because after all, this is King Scholar. He has a following (including myself). And he says he meant no harm. It’s just a song about pan. King Scholar, besides Mr Seetahal about whom this song is written and sung, there are many who do not share your sexual orientation and will not find this song funny or entertaining.
And finally, as a senior public servant, you are responsible to help educate our nation’s teachers, students, media and parents. Your words must now have a different tone. You must be held responsible for what you write and publish. You cannot sing, write or preach divisiveness and bashing of another’s culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion or way of life. You have made it clear that you despise the gay lifestyle. You already had an anti-gay verse in a previous song. You, among others must help bring about the change for tolerance, acceptance, compromise, social justice, respect, forbearance, and love. For this carnival and beyond, enjoy what you love. Pum Pum or otherwise.