Artistes on Sunday were urged by the Minister responsible for the arts to join a campaign against crime and violence.
As he ended his speech at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Awards Ceremony at the Sir Garfield Sobers Complex, calypsonian-turned-culture Minister John King made an plea as he invoked the memory of a slain NIFCA award-winning artist in an emotional plea.
King said: “I want you to stop for a minute and think about the words that you just heard from The Don.
“For those of you who might not remember we lost a NIFCA awardee Cecil Webb last year.
“I want to take this opportunity to challenge the artistic community. Sometimes we try to play it safe.
“In 1996 I wrote a song called How Many More and it seems like nothing has really changed since then but I want to challenge all of you… those in winners’ row, those who have never entered NIFCA before but to the entire artistic community it is time for you to join in this fight against violence be it your films, be it your paintings your music, your dance.
“I challenge you let your voice be heard and let’s make Barbados a place of peace.”
The audience which included dignitaries, specially-invited guests and awardees appeared to endorse the Minister’s urging with a huge round of applause.
With just 14 days into the New Year, the island has already recorded one murder so far.
Just before King’s speech, Irijah The Don performance of a song called Public Enemy Number One ended with the sound of a single gunshot.
He depicted the life of a gang male leader and thug.
With a gun in hand, The Don claimed it was “hot in the streets” and that “hard life”. Pulling a gun from his waistline, the trouble-maker was adamant that the only way he can gain respect, feed his family and survive is by living a life of crime. He repeatedly referred to his partner Charlie which turned out to be his weapon of choice.
A sobering message of hardship, the song was both comedy and reality check on the violence that has gripped the nation.
The talented Irijah Alkins walked away with a NIFCA gold award and the NIFCA Award for Originality for her performance.