This year we experienced so much in the entertainment world in Barbados –– from milestone celebrations to new announcements; good music all around and a good look for the future.
Despite the cries of harsh economic times, Bajans still had a fabulous year, enjoying remarkable parties, concerts and other functions –– from January through December.
In the final quarter of the year, one set of news that should have been music to any culture lover’s ears, was the announcement by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley that by early next year the Cultural Industries Development Act would be implemented.
Lashley said Barbados was quickly becoming an entertainment hub, and that the act was long over due.
“We are moving into a completely new environment in Barbados. We are getting ready to proclaim the Cultural Industries Development Act to establish the Cultural Industries Development Authority, and I believe we are at a stage where we are ready to proclaim a legislation . . . .
“. . . In particular, of course, we have seen a lot of development in film, and I believe that you would see in Barbados some of our own Barbadian producers who have been trained at some of the most prestigious places in the world. That is good news because what that tells us as we proclaim the legislation, is that we have ready a number of persons who consider their art very seriously and who by means of what they create, whether it is film, music, dance, will actually be the pioneers that will actually cement the kind of forward prospects we can have,” Lashley explained.
This was indeed good news.
Another milestone this year in entertainment for Barbados was the staging of the first ever Barbados Visual Media Awards. This awards show, held at Frank Collymore Hall, was to recognize young thespians and scriptwriters, directors and producers for their hard work.
Kudos to Lynette Eastmond, president of the Barbados Film And Video Association, and her team for a stellar idea to recognize the young talent we have here on the island.
Doing great that night were Shakirah Bourne and her team for the film Payday –– copping top awards. Payday has even gone on to do extremely well outside Barbados, and the country is now looking forward to Next Payday, which promises to be a great one.
Congratulations to Shakirah and her team for a job well done! We look forward to even greater things from them.
Another proud moment for Barbados was celebrating 40 years of Crop Over.
Ian iWeb Webster was made a double Pic-O-De-Crop monarch, and could possibly have given Barbados a second anthem with his offering of Still My Home. For Webster it was a year in which he would face some trials; but he would overcome.
“I am very happy about the win. It was a hard fought battle. It was a season of adversity; but I am thankful for the opportunity to be the calypso monarch again,” Webster said.
Sweet singing Biggie Irie retained his Sweet Soca crown with his ever popular Pankatang. And, first-time Party Monarch Gorg’s woman may have left him, but I’m sure that is just a distant memory for him now, especially rolling around in his brand new canary yellow, fully loaded Ford EcoSport.
It was a great Crop Over that saw visitors from all over coming to enjoy the festivities. We join with the National Cultural Foundation, Sammy G and all other culture lovers out there in singing, if for just one last time: “. . . We have a culture to sustain . . . forty years, forty years, forty years . . . that was Crop Over.”
While these two may not have been in competition, they still left Bajans and, by extension, those all over the world Feeling Feelings and Ben Up. Leadpipe And Saddis or Porgie And Murda have been busy repping Barbados proudly; and for this we commend them. We wait impatiently to see what these two will offer next year.
The National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts (NIFCA) cannot be forgotten. The focus this year was on the culinary arts; and, trust me, the taste buds were not let down.
The stars were in the house for Hennessy Artistry and they did not disappoint. Konshens, Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Buggy Nkante and Joe gave patrons a fantastic show. Being a Hennessy Artistry newbie myself, I was impressed and definitely encouraged to go again.
The promoters of this show, FAS Entertainment, were also the ones for the reggae festival held in March, and this too was fantastic event. From Vintage Reggae to Reggae On The Beach and Reggae On The Hill, patrons had a ball.
On another note, a group of entertainers also took a stand for local music, and are on a path to ensure they are treated fairly and respected. David D2 Davis and Anderson Blood Armstrong were two of the first to come together and make this position known.
Blood, who was appointed new chairman of COSCAP this year, publicly supported the cause via a video posted on his Facebook page saying: “. . . We spend our time and our money and efforts on producing music that is just left by the wayside. If you are not playing 50 per cent Bajan content, it is time we boycott. Unless and until they mandate it, boycott, because it is important that we look out for ourselves and our children and the future of entertainment in Barbados.”
And out of that cry, came a lobby for a 100 per cent radio station by others who supported the cause. Richard Stoute said the 100 per cent station was not only possible but also desirable.
“There is no reason why they can’t play 100 per cent local music. You’re not going to go Jamaica and hear spouge; you’re not even going to hear ten Bajan songs; but you hear thousands of Jamaican songs in Barbados . . . . We need to stop giving precedence to people from all over the world,” Stoute argued.
Ronald Clarke, programme manager at Starcom Network, agreed there was room for a station dedicated to local music.
“Without a doubt it can happen . . . . In my opinion, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation should have a 100 per cent Bajan station. One of those outlets should be dedicated to 100 per cent Bajan music,” he said. “For a Government entity to have the position it currently has, and not have a 100 per cent Bajan station, is unfortunate.”
It was indeed a whirlwind of a year for entertainment, and, with 2015 quickly peeking in, we are ready for the next big story, the next favourite song. The next big thing is just a heartbeat away; so tighten your belts. I’m ready and I hope you are too.
Peace, love, and all that good stuff!