“Wuk-Up” Take-Over of Bajan Culture”
Crop-Over is hailed as Barbados’ national festival. “National” is defined as “common to the whole nation.” Festival is defined as “merrymaking; series of musical performances.” This title infers that it is a cultural celebration. “Culture is defined as “refinement” or” things that are characteristic of a particular nation.”
There is ongoing debate on whether the celebration is a festival or a carnival, which is defined as “festive days preceding Lent, riotous revelry; unrestrained indulgence or display. (all definitions taken from Collins Dictionary).
Crop-Over, we understand, was originally a celebration of thanksgiving to God at the end of the sugar harvest. According to the dictionary, the behaviour determines that what we have going on is a carnival, (riotous revelry, a time of unrestrained indulgence or display.) Today we can make a carnival out of a festival and it is o.k.
The music dictates the mood of the crowd. It encourages crowd frenzy by its pulsating rhythms, deafening decibels, coupled with words, usually demeaning to the female, “couched” in the music.
This season of 2016, with the introduction of Bashment Soca, I found the winning composition to be SUGGESTIVELY very lewd and vulgar. This piece was selected for viewing (TV) and airplay (Radio) prior to “Phenomenal Friday” when it copped the first prize. The frequency of play before the event made it popular. It was the song of choice.
“Tek off something and pelt it way.. fling it pon the ground, fling it pon de ground, girl” This chorus was pleasing to all and sundry, judging from crowd response. This song was for the girls, as indeed they all, or the majority, do target the females, who fall in line with their directives.
Being ignorant of Bashment Soca, I sought to inform myself, so I went to my trusted source, the Internet. There I found a webpage “New Genre- Bashment Soca.” (January 23rd, 2010). This is what I read.
“The Bajans have come up with the new genre called Bashment Soca because we got tired of hearing the jump and wave tunes of the original soca artistes- the Trinis. For those who don’t know what Bashment Soca is; let me explain. Bashment Soca is soca music dat does mek ya wuk up stink with ya face push up and one leg in the air” This was submitted by one “BAJANFUHLIFE”
This explains it all. There is a determined effort; an agenda, if you will, to change the culture of Barbados. After years of copying other people’s culture and expressions, “we” are finally into our own thing. “We have a wuk-up culture” is now a normal, local expression.
I now understand the couple of “older youths” who are proliferating this genre of music frequently before the nightly news on CBC TV 8. They sing and demonstrate….”I am free, free to wuk up pon ya.”
My recommendations are:
1. A Festival (not a carnival) of thanksgiving to God. (God is good; God is merciful; God loves us; God is changing lives across the nation. Listen to 97.5 FM on Thursday nights 9.30 p.m.)
2. The top prizes on these festive occasions be awarded for creativity and non-sexual content, whether direct or suggestive.
3. The Minister responsible for CBC TV 8 and radio stations should give directives re- lyrical compositions to be aired and /or displayed, with a penalty for breaching the same.
Keep the airwaves clean!