CALYPSONIAN Brian London has challenged fellow calypsonians and soca artistes to “step-up” and help fans who may be in need during the covid19 pandemic.
In a Facebook challenge, the 2020 extempo champion said he has been fortunate to be part of an art form that has given him resources and helped to shape the man he has become.
The initiative has attracted a fair share of positive comments, but also cast a shadow on how many calypsonians are not even in a position to help themselves, much less others.
“Many of my contemporaries have been more fortunate than me, having won calypso monarch titles, all titles. I have not been that fortunate and I may never even be that fortunate to win a national Calypso Monarch title,” said London who has been a finalist still seeking that elusive crown.
“I have been fortunate to have had wonderful fans, the people of TT who would have taken out of their pockets to come to the calypso tents to support me and us (fellow calypsonians) at other events, Calypso Fiesta and Dimanche Gras.
“Today, many of these same fans may have been disenfranchised in some way or the other, maybe because of the loss of jobs or their inability to work because of this covid19 pandemic.”
London said before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared covid19 a pandemic and during the stay-at-home measures, he has been involved in outreach programmes, lending a helping hand to others.
“I will continue to try and help as much people as possible after this pandemic has ended and today I call on my fellow calypsonians to step-up.”
“This is my challenge for you to step up. We have been the beneficiaries of prize monies from competitions, singing at shows.”
“What have we given back?” he asked.
He said he started a hamper drive with the intention to donate 30 hampers to people who are now struggling to eek out a living.
“That number 30 turned into 35 and then 40 and then 50.”
He urged his colleagues in the fraternity to do whatever little they can to assist. To pay someone’s rent, or purchase medical supplies.
“You can help them.”
In his post he threw out the challenge to Devon Seales, Duanne O’Connor, Kareen Asche, Michelle Henry, Heather Mc Intosh, Helon Francis, Terry Lyons, her sister Fay Ann Lyons, Bunji Garlin, Patrice Roberts and Niala Blackman. Other names, including Machel Montano, were added by his contacts.
“Take up the challenge and challenge somebody else. Calypso fans are looking on, the public is looking on, the world is looking on.”
To those already involved in gestures of goodwill, London applauded their enterprise and urged them to continue giving.
Calypso stalwart Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung also commended London for his initiative but expressed some reservation about the ability of fellow artiste to give back.
“Nice one Brian. I hear you. I played my part earlier on with half of Klassic Ruso Calypso Tent – three weeks salary by giving $10,000.
“I hope people don’t get mad at me for saying this, because there are a lot of calypsonians out there who have no money and cannot give,” Crazy said.
This sentiment was shared by another artiste Wendy Lewis. While lauding the effort, Lewis said she did not think it was fair to assume others were not doing the same simply they are not publicising it.
“I have been doing my part and I know of others as well, just minus the advertising.”