He is proud of who he is, and even prouder to be Bajan.
And receiving the Barbados Jubilee Honour is nothing short of amazing for veteran entertainer Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire.
Filled with a sense of pride, RPB told Barbados TODAY on Friday night after receiving the award at the Prime Minister’s Dinner and Ball, that to receive recognition from his people was something extra special.
“I think the whole of Barbados knows that I’m a very proud Barbadian. No matter where I go across the world I tell people that I am from the beautiful island of Barbados,” he said.
“Whenever I receive recognition from my own people, it feels very special, because it’s a sign that they recognize what you’re doing and how you feel. Although I’m not one for accolades, this one feels extra special because it’s for the 50th Anniversary of Independence. I probably won’t be around for the 100th Anniversary, so it feels really good that I’m being recognized.”
He summed up his journey as one filled with love and said it would not have been the same without the support from Barbadians.
“My journey was more about the people around me than about me. I have had an amazing journey. But I have done it all with love in my heart. The love I received from the people of Barbados has been amazing.
My journey has been special, simply because I was fortunate to have lots of love and support form the people of Barbados,”
“I remember 1982, being at the National Stadium and seeing people climbing over the walls trying to get in. To me, that was the kind of love that was special. Even times I didn’t win, it made me feel I was part of a vibe and a movement. To me, that’s special and more important than winning a crown. It’s when you can produce music that can influence people, music that people can relate to, is where my victory really is – being able to connect to the ordinary man in the street. I have always found myself as a representative of the people. Whenever I went on stage, the stage became my Parliament – that place where I represented the people without a voice,” the ten-time calypso monarch said.
However, amidst all the celebrations, RPB cautioned Barbadians not to accept any and everything as part of their culture, and to look seriously at where they were heading as a country.
“I want to say to Barbadians, as much as we are reflecting and celebrating, we need to take a serious look at who we are as a people and look seriously at how we are going to go forward as a people. We have had some challenges, but we are resilient people. We need to build on our strengths and not dwell so much on our weaknesses.
“I think it’s important that we look for ways to move forward to make our country even greater. We have done great as a country and it makes me feel really proud to be a part of the legacy . . . .” he said.
“There must be a sense of understanding. Around Barbados we have done a lot of things kind of
willy-nilly. There needs to be a national focus on how we want the world to see us. I think we need to look at shaping who are or who we want to be in the eyes of the world. We have to stop accepting any and everything to be part of who are. It’s hard to stop little things from coming in and
seeping into who we are. This is why I am adamant that filters must be put on radio to make sure the music we play to our young children [does not] influence them the wrong way.”
And the calypsonian, who has sung about a number of issues over the years, told Barbadians there was still a lot of work to be done going forward.
“We have achieved a lot, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of building a nation. Fifty years is still young and I believe we have more to do to make this country even greater. But we must first understand who we are, and where we want to go,” RPB said.
And always one for supporting young people, RPB encouraged them to never stop dreaming.
“I always say to the young people, ‘you are citizens of the world, the world is at your doorstep. You can achieve anything in this life you want to achieve. You just need to believe you can achieve it. Although we are a small country we are part of a big world. We need to understand that things that happen here can influence the world’.
“So I try to tell the children to dream as big as you want to dream; you can achieve anything that you want to achieve, you just need to believe that you can achieve it. If we continue to think small like the size of our country, it won’t work to our advantage. So we need to think big and know that we are a part of a big world,” he added.