The literary and spoken word artistes who performed at Crop Over Read In – Real Talk, truly delivered last Saturday night. The venue was the grounds of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in the Garrison. Each talent performed a piece that crystallized the current thoughts and feelings of the average Barbadian.
Numerous issues were explored ranging from gender and sex, the influence of social media to the hard times Barbadians are experiencing because of the economic crisis. Abstract and witty conversational rhetoric fused with music and dance captured the attention of the crowd and left them with a thirst for more.
The evening commenced with a book fair and open mic in the middle of the Museum grounds. The artistes and curious by-standers used the opportunity to mingle with local authors and poets and also to grab the mic and “let loose”.
Comedian Lord Zenn could be considered the first act of the night. He had the audience in stitches just by how he walked on to the stage. His name was on the line-up of performers, but his specific role was just hosting the event. However, his effortless comedy shone through as he introduced each act to grace the stage.
A veteran to the local literary scene, Winston I Farrell, combined a bit of the old with the new. The award-winning playwright and creative writer reminisced with older members in the audience about the Barbados of yesteryear in his delivery of Chattel Blues. He had the audience in a frenzy, as he recited the chorus of Bus Man, an original work from the 1970s, which is commonly performed at cultural events by primary school children.
Keeping the audience engaged with fun and frolic, Farrell brought a female audience member on to the stage and performed his poem This Evening for her. With this piece, centred on a theme of begging for an absent lover to reappear, Farrell left the audience thirsty for more.
The second act for the night was Selena Rebel Glam Dodson. The New York-born self-love advocate indicated her stance from her first piece Sankofa, which means “to know your future, you must know your past”. She discussed issues of race, self-love, feminism and existing double standards among men and women in her presentation of I Gets No Respect and The Audacity of Me.
In her “soca word piece” entitled Give Them A Hit, Rebel Glam spoke of how difficult it was for young aspiring artistes and musicians to get airplay on local radio stations and how tiresome the process was.
Maintaining the somewhat mellow mood, AzMan was next on stage and tackled the issue of gun violence and crime in Barbados. While performing their song Lost, the duo of Dee and Gibbzydan had a slide-show of newspaper articles displaying young people who have passed due to gun violence or were participants in the act. It was their performance of Van Dayz, however, that had the audience demanding an encore.
The relatable and comical performance put on by Gibbzydan left the audience in stitches, and evoked thunderous applause. They went on to pay tribute to the founder of Spouge, the late Jackie Opel, in a piece named “Jackie”. In a quick outfit change to a plaid yellow jacket, they humorously copied the late musician’s antics in their ode.
Almost all of the seven artistes who performed addressed the situation of rising taxes and the falling wages currently confronting most Barbadians. Inity Fyah touched the controversial topic with his rhythm piece named Things Tight. As he delved into the economic struggles of the ordinary Barbadian, some patrons could be seen nodding their heads in agreement.
Iron Pipe, comprising DJ Simmons, Adrian Green and musician Simon Pipe, also got down to brass tacks, delivering their messages in song. Feel I en Know Wuh Gine On, Never Keep Us Down and More Juice/Most Juste had members of the crowd nodding their heads or tapping their feet to the beat of Simon’s guitar.
Altogether, Real Talk discussed real issues, bringing out the local literary collective to be heard and to have their works savoured by all.