THE EDITOR: The vocal disapproval of Dr Fuad Khan’s condemnation of the lyrics of our local music is indicative of the collective hypocrisy of our people. We often like to crucify the messenger when the mirror is in our faces.
I must say though that Khan did not go far enough. I would not criticise the artistes alone who create the disturbing lyrical content, but also the masses who support them by making their music into hits, elevating these artistes economically and as role models for society.
Artistes are merely singing what they know will sell, and sadly what sells are alcohol glorification, sexual innuendoes, and violence.
The most ridiculous of arguments against Khan is that his pronouncements were racist. Why is it that race always seems to become an excuse whenever we need to reflect on ourselves?
A few years ago, many citizens, including myself, wrote and complained about the “rum song” culture in chutney music, but at no time did the question arise about race and ethnic division.
Then some people hide behind freedom of expression to defend the lack of responsibility that comes with such a tremendous constitutional right.
Several feminists in our intellectual circles may also come forward citing the comments as suppressing our women, but ignorant that both men and women ought to carry themselves in a manner deserving of respect.
At a time when we are in the grip of criminals and violence, we have songs glorifying the sexual prowess of “gunmen.” I recall in the recent past we condemned an interpreter for the hearing impaired when she signed the lyrics to a popular local song correctly by pointing to the female genitalia.
We will witness the most lewd of behaviour on the streets and in fetes over the coming days by men and women and will dispense taxpayers’ dollars to promote it and call it culture. Then we will expect that we will respect each other and become role models for our youth.
Last year, a significant controversy broke out when our soca god, Machel Montano, attempted to sing lines of a Hindu chant at a Carnival event.
At that time I chose to focus not on the lyrics of the act but to instead ask what is it about Carnival, or our behaviour, that makes us feel uncomfortable about having such chants in those places.
After all, if what we are promoting in our Carnival music and culture ought to be encouraged, why should it become uncomfortable when we introduce it into everyday situations? The same principle applies here.
When the dust settles on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, we will flock to our churches on Ash Wednesday to repent our sins. Will the lyrics we currently promote and defend be appropriate then as we line up? Will our mode of dress and our behaviour on the streets be allowed in the churches or our schools?
This is our litmus test. If we defend it now and feel uncomfortable about it later on, then it is we who are the hypocrites.