Estimated reading time: 50 minutes. SPOILERS INCLUDED
There is no denying this cultural moment. The Black Panther movie has inspired the African diaspora with the vision of a Black and African superhero who leads an unconquered African nation that is the most technologically advanced on Earth that has built this from the ground up out of its ancient traditions. The movie has also assembled some of the most beautiful and gifted Black diaspora talents in front and behind the camera in an unprecedented big-budget Black movie epic about African subject matter set on the continent. Just on the strength of its trailers, its majestic art direction, and its strategic hype led by its beautiful diaspora-wide cast millions of Black people around the world have already been awakened to new possibilities of self and new imaginative frontiers. The vision of such a movie done on an epic scale by black writers, a black director, co-producer, production designer, and costume designer, and a storied multi-generational mostly Black A-list cast has inspired a groundswell of black diaspora arousal around the idea of an idyllic Black present and future. This article will attempt to critically assess the movie and the larger cultural moment that is cascading around it… Read the rest of this entry
It would seem that the main prongs of MusicTT’s ‘Key MusicTT Implementation Projects’ announced in the National Budget 2017/18 have come from the Artists’ Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago’s (ACTT) presentations to the Economic Advisory Board (EAB) and numerous project submissions to various organisations that have overseen the Sector over the years-from the ‘Ministry of Arts’ to TTEnt, etc.
The 4 prongs of MusicTT’s plan — the Live Music strip, the ‘Academy or finishing school, etc. — correspond exactly to the programmes that ACTT presented to these organisations. The ACTT Project is called ‘The Music Incubation Project‘ and here is the opening paragraph to it from our Sector Masterplan document which presented the full Creative Sector Diversification plan to Dr. Terrance Farrel, Dr. Kerron Niles, and the rest of the EAB:
“The ‘Music Incubation’ model is the enabling environment for an annual Billion Dollar music industry which facilitates: best practice recordings by the best talents; a mandatory Live-Music scene on our night-life strips on Ariapita Avenue, St James, San Fernando, Tunapuna, etc; managerial and industry training; and aspirational pathways to international expos.”
This last week this government has demonstrated again the complete bankruptcy of Imagination of our ruling class- and shown us exactly why this country is in the tragic mess it is in. Government destroyed the home of legendary George Padmore and Henry Sylvester Williams- the fathers of Pan Africanism. These are the men responsible for midwifing the Independence movements across the African continent and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In that same week government also closed down the Government Information Service Limited (GISL)- the repository of the country’s pre-Independence TV archives and hundreds of other radio and TV programmes. The reason they gave in both instances is that these items were either derelict or losing money…
The thing is this: correctly deployed the archives of GISL could have been earning tens of millions of dollars a year. And: re-designed into a multi-media Heritage Site the George Padmore House would have been a multi-million dollar earning Heritage Tourism Site attracting visitors- real and virtual- in the thousands per year from across the African Diaspora and further afield.
The last picture in my folder is of another tragedy waiting to happen. It is a picture of the fabled Lion House (from Nobel Laureate VS Naipaul’s seminal ‘House for Mr Biswas’) falling apart, as it lies abandoned. Government is in possession of plans to transform the Lion House into another multi-million dollar Heritage Site- a VS Naipaul multi-media Museum- and have done nothing with it. This Naipaul Museum would be a pilgrimage point for literature lovers from all over the world…
The thing is this: West to Central Africa- from Guinea to Nigeria, to Ghana, to Congo, to Sudan- is the seat of masquerade culture on planet Earth. It is where masquerade exists in an infinity of forms in terms of types of costume, headpieces, and dances- but moreover, it is where ‘the living principle of masquerade as a way of life’ is most powerful and continues to persist. It has persisted in West/Central African people and their descendants in the diaspora in a way that has died out in other peoples for hundreds of years. West/Central Africans remember the immortal connection with the cosmic- with Spirit, with Ancestors, with sun, earth, water, sea, wind, and sky. It is what has made African music traditions the verb that drives ALL popular music on the planet. It has made dancing to Black drum-music the principle form of social leisure on the planet, and has made the Trinidad Carnival one of the most popular festivals in the world… Read the rest of this entry
A paper delivered at the “RE-LAUNCH” OF CITIZENS’ INTERVENTION
on the TOPIC: “THE SECOND REPUBLIC- THE NEED FOR US TO RE-IMAGINE THE FUTURE IF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO IS TO PROGRESS” by Rubadiri Victor, October 15th 2016.
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?”
What happens to a dream deferred?
—Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
THE CROWN COLONY
In the 1800s “the British decided to impose Crown Colony Government in Trinidad in which a resident Legislative Council under the authority of a Governor, could advise the British Government about Trinidad affairs- but had no effective control over the island…” The Crown Colony form of government effectively centralised all power in the governor (the Prime Minister)- but moreover it neutered all power from all representative organs in the island. We normally say we have a Westminster form of government- we do not. We are a Crown Colony with some Westminster institutions. It was during this period, from the 1850s to the 1870s, that the colonial administration, both locally and in England, formed the view that Crown Colony rule in Trinidad was best. … In 1889 the two islands were incorporated into a single crown colony. T&T would in fact be the most evolved form of the Crown Colony in the Empire.”
THE THREE SOCIETIES
Why do I begin with the fact that we are a Crown Colony when the question is Re-Imagining our Future? I begin with this fact because ‘Re-Imagining’ is the act of ‘Dreaming’ and I believe that the most important theory in analysing T&T is the Cuban theory of the 3 Societies. This is the same theory that Lloyd Best refined further into his thesis on Plantation Economics. I have pursued a different reading of the nature of The 3 Societies- and for me the most important component in societies is their relationship to the process of Dreaming.
There are 3 types of society in the New World: Read the rest of this entry