Sustaining Bajan culture in America

According to sources, the 14-year-old annual July Barbados Fun Day in Brooklyn, New York, reportedly attracted a record 10,000 patrons. Indeed, in more than one way, this event which connects generations of Bajans to their heritage, continues to fill a cultural exchange vacuum, so to speak.

Truth be told, although writers like Glenville Lovell, visits by Laugh It Off and Bajan Bus Stop, and the annual November Barbados Extravaganza still fly the flag, the memories of the exciting presentations of organizations like the Folk Voices of Barbados, URBONY and individuals like Anthony (Gabby) Carter and the late Paul Webster now seem distant and not known to young adults.

So, is the significant increase in attendance at the Barbados Fun Day a sign of an unfilled need?

This week, poet Negus Adeyemi scanned and admired the activity of the Haitian community along Flatbush Avenue, and without hesitation placed a post on Facebook.

“Long gone are the days of Bajans in New York, my parent’s generation, that started organizations and folk groups to keep their culture alive but also to create/have a community. What about my generation now? There are enough Bajans in New York that are in my generation (born deh and come up heh or first/second generation born in New York) to put together an alliance that builds, creates and supports one another for generations to come. Who is willing to create something positive and impactful for our generation and the ones to come after us?”

Adeyemi’s post received many encouraging responses. Among them were:

“I have been thinking of this for a while, especially since I recently noticed Bajan artists like Sheena Rose can be praised here in the United States but not get the same recognition in BIM or the Bajan Community. Meanwhile, she is putting Barbados on the map in the United States. … How is the culture to survive? Let’s go, let’s do this! I even got the names popping up in my mind “Generation BIM.” Samantha Alethea Inniss.

“I grew up in a Bajan organization called Hill Tops Community Organization INC.  Many of the people I met there are some of my closest friends today. I would not trade that experience I had at Hill Tops for anything in the world. We fed the poor, visited children’s hospitals, nursing homes and had a host of events”. Tanisha Mary Kay Smith

“The younger generations can’t lose the culture!! Same issue here in the DC, Maryland, Virginia – with all the different Caribbean communities …trying to bring back a tight knit community of culture…the times we in now, it’s needed and all we got!! The village can’t be a village with no culture! – Anthony Felix Shaw

When contacted, Adeyemi was happy and admitted that he had also received telephone calls from Boston, and Washington DC.

He explained: “It is looking like I will be leading the resurgence like my father did. I am pleased and anxious to see how my upcoming event Bajan Broughtupsy comes off. It looks like there is a big need for cultural things for the Bajans in North America.”

In a publication of the Heritage Foundation titled Why strong social institutions are needed to survive economic growth. part of the introduction states:

“History shows that periods of change and greater access to new ideas lead people to think differently- not just about economic opportunity, but also about the social and political structures of their nation. This rethinking can trigger a welcome surge of excitement, creativity, and enterprise. People begin to challenge outdated ideas and social arrangements that previously had been universally accepted but now act as constraints.”

Maybe, the role of the resurging organization must be more than a cultural connection.

Source: (Walter Edey is a retired teacher and author. Email: werus2642@gmail.com)

3 Responses to Sustaining Bajan culture in America

  1. Suzette Clarke
    Suzette Clarke August 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I need one of those graters. Where can I get one?

    Reply
  2. Ralph Layne
    Ralph Layne August 26, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    There is a place here in Barbados that sells them,it’s on Enterprise main road christ church.I saw them Friday last week.

    Reply
  3. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow August 27, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Lost some fingertips lol magic bullet

    Reply

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