Mac of all trades
Recently, he has added acting to a long list of achievements. In the recently made Bajan movie – Chrissy, he played the role of the dual role of conservative principal and champion motivator.
Amidst the New York celebration, the indefatigable humanitarian found minutes to talk about his growth, his wishes for young people of the cane fields, his leadership model, and one of our stumbling blocks.
Question: Did your experience in Chrissy change you in any way?
“Chrissy didn’t change me in anyway. It added to me. If you have a talent you must use it. I must confess that I really don’t understand me, but I know me. If you get where, I am coming from. The lady came to me and I just did it. Everybody has a talent.”
Question: What, if anything, pleased you about the film?
“Besides, showing the world, the cane fields, the beautiful houses, the poverty etc. what pleased me most about the film was the confidence of the children. Although they were not a representative sample of Barbadians, I wish all our children were like them the way they acted, you could see that they knew what they were doing. ”
Question: Don’t you think that the snooty teacher was the biggest bully of all?
“Her acting was brilliant. She was so good that people wanted to kill her. I am sorry that there wasn’t an opportunity in the film for her to show compassion. Look, bullying is a problem all over the world, but I believe that we should try to solve our problems and not wait on England, America, or the rest of the world. If my house is leaking, it is no consolation to tell you that my neighbour’s house is also leaking. I believe that I should stop my leak and hopefully my neighbour on seeing me do it, will fix theirs also.
If everybody has this attitude then, the whole village, the whole parish, and eventually the whole country will stop their leaks.”
Question: So why are we so dependent on others for solutions?
“We have an identity problem. Let me explain. Sport teams in the US all have historical and cultural names. The Los Angeles Lakers were bought from the Minnesota Lakers. Minnesota is the state of 1,248 lakes. That is where the name Lakers came from. Similarly, the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets all got their names from the surroundings or cultural environment. We have a team in Barbados called the Rockets, but we never launched a rocket.
Question: How large is the problem?
“Large. We talk about good hair and bad hair. How can that be? Your hair is your hair. Indeed, the blacker you are the purer you are.”
By the time Mac was on a role. Deep philosophical patterns were emerging. There was no sense of anger or joy. Just a clear vision as how we could begin building a nation by seeing ourselves as part of the world, something which he says the Jamaicans understand.
He went way back into the past and linked it to the present. He spoke of 1712 out Willie Lynch’s letter and 300 year prediction about the Negro slave. The change in the state of the mind of the Negro was still 700 years away.
Listen to Lynch:
“Envy was more powerful than adulation. Distrust more powerful that trust.”
Space does not permit the full interview, the contents of which should be a case study for the appointment of the next director of the National Cultural Foundation.
The meaning of identity, in its broadest or narrowest sense must include ownership of clearly identifiable attributes. The snail knows it needs a shell and the bird knows it needs wings.
What are some of the things that we are willing to value and protect? Is it cou cou, yet we don’t grow corn? Is it dumplings, whose shape today is like the Trini bake? It can’t be cricket, since on the pastures the young play soccer. Or is it Crop-Over which some say is not carnival?
One may not agree with Mac’s choices if he had to give an answer, but he will have some. That’s why he has my vote as the next director of the NCF.