Exciting and creative!
That’s how Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Stephen Lashley views the new Barbados TODAY Crop Over Superstar Competition officially launched at his Haggatt Hall office this morning.
Declaring that his ministry and the National Cultural Foundation were fully on board with the contest, he stressed it was the kind of private sector partnership needed to enhance the island’s premier festival.
“I believe that this augurs well for a quality festival and it augurs well to ensuring that persons can see that tremendous interest and contribution from private sector partners.
“This particular competition also provides an avenue for our calypsonians, those who are to date undiscovered, those who are perhaps a bit shy to come on the stage and who sing in the bedroom or bathroom, and I know there are many bathroom singers who would compete among themselves at home. Now you have the opportunity of coming out of the proverbial closet so to speak and taking your talents to the fore.”
The competition, which opened just over a week ago, will end by August 1 with the crowning of Barbados’ first online monarch.
The winner will take home $15,000 in cash and free car and home insurance for one year. A cash prize of $7,500 and $5,000 will also be awarded for second and third place respectively.
Entrants, who must be Barbadians 18 years and over, are required to submit two-minute videos of their compositions.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Barbados Today Inc Kaymar Jordan said there was strong interest so far and she was expecting a strong field of competitors when entries wrapped up in another week.
“The response has been very favourable both locally and internationally, and we expect that by the end of this week we would have at least 100 entrants . . . so you have seven days from now to getting your material in. It’s not too late.”
Jordan said the competition was Barbados TODAY’s answer to calls from Minister Lashley for the private sector to get on board with the national festival, while offering a new avenue for the growing number of Barbadians at home and abroad, engaged on social media, to be part of Crop Over.
“Crop Over is our number one festival. Apart from answering the call from the minister, Barbados TODAY cannot be a serious business entity and a serious public entity and not recognize that we must be involved in our national festival, so this is our contribution to the national festival.
“We also recognize that there are 130,000 Barbadians on Facebook alone. There is a big constituency of Barbadians on the social media platform where we are based but quite often they can’t have a direct competition that appeals to them so we have launched the BT Crop Over Superstar. It’s the first ever soca online monarch and we expect it is going to get bigger and better.”
She added it was unique because the decision rests solely in the hands of Barbadians.
“We want to keep it as fun as we can be. It’s your choice in how it turns out at the end of the day.”
Veteran calypsonian Red Plastic Bag (RPB) is the mentor of the competition and Minister Lashley noted this was an important factor given RPB’s significant contribution to the festival and the development of calypso.
“We have a gem of a calypsonian in RPB and I am glad he has endorsed this competition from a developmental perspective. Not only do we want to have fun, excitement and discovery, but after discovery those persons who are interested in the artform in a serious way can have the avenue to develop their skills and certainly perhaps have the courage after to enter the Pic-O-De-Crop competition.
“This particular competition preserves the calypso artform in a very creative way utilizing the modern technology that we have. You can’t go wrong when you incorporate social media which is really the biggest avenue to reach persons in Barbados and across the world.”
The competition’s title-sponsor is LIME/FLOW. Other private sector partners include Banks and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and the NCF.
Lashley expressed hope that the competition would become an annual event to which Jordan responded: “The sky is the limit.”