Ronnie De Announcer Clarke has received stiff criticism this Crop Over for his tune Reading For Pleasure a tune that makes reference to the Barbadian obsession with novelist Eric Jerome Dickey.
However, the song has received mixed reviews from calypso connoisseur Harvey Pop Daniel, former Pic-O-De-Crop winner David Popsicle Hall and calypsonian Adonijah.
Back in 2010, Popsicle also coined, a party soca entitled Eric Jerome Dickey, the song was a hit and made it to the finals of the inaugural Party Monarch Competition but much like De Announcer’s, Popsicle’s single was banned from the airwaves of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Starcom Network.
While he empathised with Clarke’s plight, Popsicle recommended that Clarke learn from the experience and “get up and go again”.
“I have had numerous songs banned before and it is just one of those things. Certain songs that you put out there may not rub people the right way. Just look at it as an inconvenience or a loss and move on,” he voiced.
“Everybody has their own opinions, some people could have found it entertaining and people probably would have found it distasteful, it depends on the individual. What has happened to the song is unfortunate but he just needs to get up and go again, pen something else that hopefully, this time it won’t be up for such scrutiny,” suggested Popsicle.
Meanwhile, Daniel commended De Announcer on the witty piece but indicated he had gone overboard with his style and delivery. In his opinion, Reading for Pleasure was “a little raw”. He contended that the controversial play on author surname referenced a word well-known in Barbadian parlance but not used in a public setting.
The veteran calypso writer supported the stance of the media houses, saying that once the public finds the music offensive it should be banned.
“In a Bajan society, we know what it means, as a double entendre. But you still have to consider the impression it has on the citizens because TV and radio are in everybody’s home,” said Daniel.
“Whether it is well written or not, as a Bajan you need to understand the implications of any song,” he continued.
However, Adonijah gave his full support to De Announcer amidst the social media backlash and the banning of the song by local media corporations.
“It is nothing new, it is the traditional double entendre. It has been done before,” Adonijah argued. “I don’t agree with ‘it isn’t fit for the public’s ears’. I don’t agree with that at all.”
The veteran calypsonian contended that the reaction of the public to the song’s chorus reflected Barbadian hypocrisy as similar songs have played on the island’s radio stations without any problems.
“The reaction to the song exposes a serious hypocrisy that we practice all the time because there are some things that are fine for some and for other people there not. I feel it is too much hypocrisy and people that are taking up this moral stance as if Barbados is some kind of Islamic country . . . and is so morally correct,” Adonijah added.
He suggested that a more structured and clearly defined system should be implemented to determine which songs could be played on the airwaves.
“In the absence of structure, people ban songs based on whether they like them or not which is not fair to the artiste. . . . It has to be a more precise and scientific way of judging these things. What might be distasteful to one person may be hilarious to another,” he reasoned. [email protected]