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Celebrate them both!

It must have been the euphoria surrounding the event.

That’s the only way I can describe Mac Fingall’s statement that Red Plastic Bag has surpassed Chalkdust. He spoke at an event which honoured Bag and himself, most fittingly. His “evidence” was that Bag had mastered ragga soca, a genre which he went on to say Chalkie had not tried.

The whole thing is really weird but the question that comes to mind is why bring this up at all. Bag is much revered in Barbados and abroad but if you ask calypso aficionados about the rankings of calypsonians worldwide I doubt very much that outside of St. Philip you will find any sizeable number of people putting Bag before Chalkie.

But you know what? This should not even be an issue and I am disappointed that a man of Mac’s intelligence would seek to make it one, saying that RPB “has surpassed Chalkdust; it’s as simple as that”.

No, it’s not, Mac. A wise kaiso legend, Black Stalin, has said to me on more than one occasion: “Lion, everybody have dey space in kaiso.” And he’s so right. If ragga soca is Bag’s thing, well, celebrate that. Why is it necessary to state that Chalkie doesn’t do that or might not be able to master that or whatever? Chalkie has his space and so does Bag. Can’t we just celebrate them both?

It’s this ill-advised and totally unnecessary competition-oriented thinking that makes it harder for kaiso to form a bigger niche for itself than it has already. It is this “he better than he” foolishness that retards the growth of the art form and increases the “crab in a barrel” syndrome. It’s like Caribbean people being told they must choose between Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite – a bunch of nonsense.

I have always maintained that one of the biggest pitfalls artistes should avoid is believing their own PR. I think that rule of thumb is very noticeable here in its absence.

To tell the truth, ever since I saw the news report I have been listening for news of an earthquake in T&T, caused by the impact of so many bodies hitting the floor or grass or wherever as people collapsed and rolled on the ground with laughter on hearing of Mac’s statement.

Again, perhaps it was the headiness of the moment. Accounts indicate there was a lot of emotion at the event and perhaps some tears got into somebody’s nose and slipped back into the brain or something. It wasn’t even full moon so I can’t blame it on that.

You know what? Last weekend was rainy. Let’s blame it on the rain.

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