The Massive empire strikes back
Photo : Dool Hanomansingh
I wish to commend all the fair-minded nationals of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) who stood in defence of chutney-singer Massive Gosein. Praises must go to Professor Patrick Watson, Dr Fuad Khan, Phillip Alexander, Asvani Mahabir and blogger Samuel Stafford.
The real issue here is double-standards and hypocrisy based on ethnicity and politics. Massive’s “Rowlee Mudda Count” is a divine revelation for the world to see the unprovoked, unfair and explicit attacks against Indians that have been taking place for decades.
This is the most controversial song in the history of calypso, soca and chutney in T&T. The controversy has made it the most popular chutney-soca. It has scored a whopping 177,635 views on YouTube to date (Jan 1, 2018).
Those same individuals who are condemning Massive were silent when Chalkdust sang “75 into 14 can’t go” except with Vaseline petroleum jelly. That sexually obscene song on the Indian hero, Sat Maharaj, won the Calypso Monarch Competition (2017) which resulted in Chalkdust walking away with the first prize of one million dollars of taxpayers’ money.
There is a school of thought that posits that Indians must remain passive when attacked by Africans for fear of black fury and anger as was recently exhibited in the Beetham roadblocks and robberies.
What does Clyde Weatherhead expect Indians to do? Take licks all the time or just roll over for more anal jabbing? Weatherhead wrote: “Hurling insults across the racial divide from either direction is of no value to our society and the building of our nation” (Guardian Dec 30, 2017).
The few Indian leaders and panditas who share such a passive and apologetic view are a disgrace to the Indian community. It is only by standing up to these threats, and responding to calypsonians like Chalkdust, Cro Cro and Sugar Aloes that these unwarranted and unprovoked attacks would end. Has the pandita forgotten the admonition of Swami Vivekananda to stand up and face the brutes?
Now blacks can understand how it feels to be attacked in calypso. For generations, Indians have been insulted by calypsonians and writers. Indians have looked on helplessly for too long. Now Massive has come to their rescue as a new Massiah.
Judy Raymond’s article titled “Not So Massive” is an insult to the intelligence of people (Newsday Dec 28, 2017). She described Massive’s “Rowlee Mudda Count” as “crass, stupid and vapid and amounts to nothing more than personal attack on the private life of a public official.” In the same breath, Raymond described Chalkdust’s “75 into 14 can’t go” as “a sophisticated masterpiece when compared to Massive’s inane creation.”
Maybe because of her “high colour,” Raymond has arrogated unto herself the right to judge what is “crass” and what is “sophisticated.” It is this kind of double-speak that is destroying this twin-island republic. Raymond’s ethnic bias is clear as black and white.
Media houses and the State can no longer make sole judgements about what the Indian community says, writes and sings. It is social media that is now levelling the playing field, thus making the influence of individuals like Judy Raymond insignificant.
In the past, a chutney singer such as Massive would not have enjoyed such success in the traditional media. It is now for the people to determine what is “crass, stupid and vapid,”
not Judy Raymond, the PNM’s Women League and the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT). The latest call by the TATT to ban the playing of Massive’s “Rowlee Mudda Count” is unprecedented and is open to a lawsuit based on discrimination. Such interference by the State reeks of dictatorship.
The State-funded entity, Pan Trinbago, has also called for a ban on the airing of “Rowlee Mudda Count.” Its president, Keith Diaz, said that “such derogatory comments against any of the country’s leaders, or women, should not be allowed (Express Jan 1, 2018).
Why were Pan Trinbago, TATT, Weatherhead, Judy Raymond, Israel Khan and others silent
when Amuser (Carlton Thomas) sang “Panday like Ato-Tea” and Rootsman sang “Oma Account Big”? Why the silence when Cro Cro sang against an elected Prime Minister in 1995?
In his rude and racial “All Yuh look for That,” Cro Cro sang on Basdeo Panday who was wrongly accused of sexual harassment: “Ah man on a charge of interfering/ Black man all you still go and vote for him/ Imagine this sex silver-headed pest/ Put he fingers under your daughter dress.”
An academic study of political calypsos was done in 2015 by Darryl Dean for his MA thesis at Carleton University in Canada. Dean found that Panday was “the target of several calypsos, some of them racist” (page 62).
Now that Massive has shown that Indians can fight fire with fire, calypsonians and writers will think twice before they launch another missile.