FORMER health minister Dr Fuad Khan on Tuesday vowed to go “down to the wire” against International Soca Monarch Hollice “Mr Killa” Mapp on Khan's claims that Carnival music degrades women.
Lamenting the domestic killing of three women this year, Khan had recently said such music demeans women as sexual objects, so men feel okay to degrade them.
Mapp, at a briefing on Monday, had scoffed at Khan’s claims, saying, “Did he smoke? You never hear a soca saying to beat someone or kill anybody. I don't know how he made a connection.”
Khan in a Facebook post on Tuesday hit back at Mapp.
“Do you realise, Mr Killa, that your name is synonymous with violence?”
Saying no fisherman says his fish is rotten, Khan said it is Mapp’s right to state his views, but Khan added he had the same right.
Saying his remarks were for women’s protection, Khan said he never imagined they would create such an uproar.
Khan lamented that after his remarks he had faced a lot of racist abuse online, but said he also had a lot of silent support, just like US President Donald Trump. Arguing that Carnival music can engender certain behaviour, his post included a scantily clad woman wining provocatively on a mattress at a Carnival fete.
“Men, don’t listen to the lyrics and take it literally. They are selling a product.”
Khan told Newsday he had never expected the level of abuse he had got online, saying, “It is terrible.”
Vowing to not back down, he said, “A lot of people called me to thank me for opening up the debate.”
He said some songs send subliminal messages about the denigration of women’s bodies, with some women believing things sung about them and with some men feeling they have rights over a woman. He said he had not singled out soca but referred to Carnival music, and said some dancehall hits are likewise.
Newsday asked about his critics saying no-one listens to a song and then beats a woman. Khan replied, “You do not hear a song and beat a woman right away but it is embedded in your subconscious.”
He explained that the human brain has an advanced part and a primitive part.
“Certain music speaks to your primitive brain.
“It is a long-term effect. If you hear this thing day by day it becomes embedded in your subconscious, that in the right environment you are going to explode.”
Khan said the general demeaning of women and the acute stress of a breakup could trigger a burst of murderous rage in a man.
“Domestic violence is an extension of a set of things. Music is there all the time and you are being conditioned on a daily basis. Music is used to subliminally change people’s behaviour.”
He said his critics were a small minority who shout the loudest on social media, while a large majority stay silent.
Asked if he regretted his remarks given the barrage of criticism directed to him, Khan replied no.
“I’ll take the barrage, because I love Carnival.”
He related the wonders of Peter Minshall’s Saga Boy and Tan Tan, Kees Dieffenthaller’s Savannah Grass, Nadia Batson’s Long Time Me No See You and Ras Shorty-I’s Watch Out My Children.
“That’s why I am continuing it. I’ll go down to the wire.”
In contrast, Khan said “waste of time songs” could not be taken to the world.
“All these disgusting lyrics are fostered on us by the soca mafia, The Mighty Duke spoke about this (the late Cecil Pope, four-time Calypso King.) “It is the soca mafia that is against me, because I’m interfering with their system.”
Khan implored people to understand that a musical performance is just a portrayal and is not reality. He said youngsters who have heard negative music for their 15-20 years of life will think that is all that exists. Khan feared tourists stop visiting TT if Carnival is now mainly music trucks blaring out "disgusting lyrics."