Government has taken no official decision to boycott any of the artistes featured on the controversial Trojan riddim video that caused a major uproar earlier this week.
This is according to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s office responsible for culture, John King, who believes it is time to move on from the controversy.
Minister King was responding to some concerns raised on social media about the administration’s policy going forward in light of highly critical statements from Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Home Affairs Minister Wilfred Abrahams, about the violent lyrics displayed by some of the country’s most renowned soca and dancehall artistes.
“That is not our policy. Nobody has had any conversations with any of the artistes about any such thing. We have had no conversations with anybody to that effect,” the culture minister insisted, when asked about future plans to collaborate with the artistes.
“We just have to move on. It happened, it is unfortunate, but we have to move on and I just hope that everybody learns.
“The fact that this thing just came out, but was done almost two years ago means that there is a huge disconnect between certain aspects of the society and the rest, and we need to bridge those gaps, so that there is greater cooperation and cohesion as we seek to build out Barbados into a place that everybody can enjoy and feel comfortable.
“It can’t be one-sided. Everybody has to listen, everybody has to be on the same page, everybody has to be able to discuss things. This is why I say that we could all learn from this experience,” King added.
In fact, the minister said he would not be assessing the recording artistes responses to the outrage, noting that “they will do what they think they have to do”.
He also refuted certain suggestions about the complicity of governments and promoters, for allowing overseas artistes with lude lyrics to headline local concerts and play ‘censored’ versions of their music on the airwaves.
“Are we saying that governments put on these shows? Because to the best of my knowledge I don’t recall. I can’t think of any show that government would have put on,” King said.
In relation to the music played on radio King said: “If you censor something, you would take out all of the things that are offensive, wouldn’t you? So then this is a non-issue, because you censor things to make sure that the things that come out are acceptable within the broader society.”
Nevertheless, the minister, a former popular calypsonian, acknowledged that Barbadian creatives desperately needed to carve out an identity that is consistent with Barbadian values.
“We gravitate to all of these foreign things, and because it’s alright in America it’s supposed to be alright in Barbados. Because it’s alright in Jamaica or Trinidad, it’s supposed to be alright in Barbados. It doesn’t work like that, not if you can think for yourself. People must be able to think for themselves and that is why cultures like the Japanese culture stand out,” the minister said.
Earlier this week, telecommunications giant Digicel Barbados sacked soca sensation Leadpipe for his track on the riddim entitled Thugz Out, which the company said “does not align” with the its “values”.
Since then, Leadpipe and other artistes have received similar ‘influencer’ contracts from companies like Sole Addiction. Leadpipe and Mole, who was also featured on the riddim, have also retained their invitation to perform at the Barbados TODAY Mashup concert series. ([email protected])