by Hudson George
I must say congratulations to our soca and jab jab artists for taking Grenadian music and talent to the highest level of carnival entertainment in Trinidad and Tobago.
They have shown the world that Grenada has creative people with talent to compete on the international stage and win the top prize as Mr Killa did with his song “Pick up something and Run”. Their performance will also make some of our local critics respect homegrown culture and stop criticising just for criticism sake.
I remember fully well, when some Grenadians with influence within the last NDC government were criticising our Grenadian Jab Jab Mas’ culture and they were advocating for Spicemas Corporation (SMC) to import Trinidad and Tobago style Pretty Mas’ into our carnival celebration as the main attraction, even though they know historical Grenada carnival is all about traditional mas’ with grassroots people’s participation and influence.
They wanted to make Jab Jab mas’ culture an early morning celebration. However, in order for them to promote their anti-jab jab hate and rhetoric, they were using the radio and television media to criticise the jab jab mas’ and advocating that the Jab Jab masqueraders should only participate in the J’ouvert morning celebration up to 10 am as a deadline, so that pretty mas’ will become the highlight of the celebration.
But as we usually say in Grenadian English lingo, “the jab will always win”. Therefore, the critics are just a small minority who have media access to say what they want but they cannot implement what they are trying to promote. They are speaking for a minority and not the majority. They are not the voice of the masses. The masses represent the people because the people is the masses.
Now, I am wondering what the local critics are saying as our Grenadian soca/jab jab artists invade the twin island republic and converted carnival lovers into our jab jab mas’ and music culture frenzy.
Our artists made us proud with their performance in the finals of both the International Power Soca competition and the Groovy Soca competition. In the final results, Mr Killa topped the list and in the Power Soca category and pick up the $1 million first prize money and the Monarch title and run with it back to Grenada. Mr Legzs was placed in third position. And in the Groovy Soca competition category Little Vaughan was placed in third position.
In addition, prior to the night of the finals competition, Mr Killa had already taken over Trinidad and Tobago by storm with his popular song. Even little children love his song and they are singing it. That shows how some Grenadians who think they are educated and smarter than the rest of us don’t understand their culture. As matter of fact they do not understand what the importance homegrown culture means to us a people.
Now, they could jump high or jump low and continue to criticise and make all kind of negative comments, but the fact is that Grenadian music and culture are spreading global. Just recently in St Kitts and Nevis carnival celebration there was a Grenadian jab Jab band that won a prize in the carnival street parade.
Additionally, based on what I saw in some of the videos from carnival fetes in Trinidad, it seems as though the Trinidadians are getting into the Grenadian rural style of big party entertainment culture as we have for many years in Moonlight City and Cow Pen in the big parish St Andrew. For example, the Maracas Bay soca party fete in Trinidad looks very similar to Cow Pen jab jab and soca party fete. So, it appears as though they are learning from Grenada’s culture.
Now, seeing that the Trinidadians are inspired by our entertainment fetes in rural Grenada where the Mecca of the Jab Jab Culture is embedded in the veins of the people, it brings back memories of Colin Dowe, when he was the Chairperson for Spicemas Corporation, and he wanted to take away some of the popular carnival entertainment events from rural locations in St Andrew parish and centralised those events in St George’s but he did not succeed.
I personally wrote articles condemning Dowe for his draconian actions that was unproductive and damaging towards Grenadian indigenous culture. I was also disappointed with Tillman Thomas who was our prime minister during that time, for taking too long to fire Dowe and tell him that he was not suitable for the job.
However, I remember Tillman Thomas did made a statement after SMC failed in the attempt to grab carnival entertainment activities from Moonlight City. However, later on Dowe stepped down as Chairman of SMC. But then again, maybe during that time Tillman Thomas did not want to rock his political boat and face a mutiny because the NDC government was experiencing internal strife.
Anyway, I am not a hypocrite when it comes to Grenadian culture. I believe culture is connected to our environment and historical background, but sometimes educated people involve themselves into the environment of culture by grabbing high positions within decision-making body of culture, but they do not have a clue of what they are doing. I believe that the government must protect and respect our culture and the cultural industry, while the creative people play the role as our ambassadors to put Grenada on the global scene. Now, right before our very eyes, we are seeing Mr Killa doing it for us.
However, I must give the former Tillman Thomas NDC government some props too for making a law that protects our tradition mas’ as Grenada’s culture. So at the end of the day the jab will always win. And Mr Killa is the winner of the jab.