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The powerful influence of our performing artistes

The powerful influence of our performing artistes


There is a lot to learn from the Tuesday, February 19 filming of the music video of Gamal ‘Skinny Fabulous’ Doyle in Kingstown.

On that day, our local soca star and his Trinidadian counterparts Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin called on Vincentians to come out in their numbers to Heritage Square for the filming of the local leg of the trio’s “Famalay” music video.

With less than two days notice, hundreds of mostly young soca lovers answered Skinny’s call to gather in one spot. What happened next was an epic display of Caribbean unity and cooperation.

Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the artistes led the crowd through the streets of Kingstown and despite minimal police presence, not a single disturbance was reported. As insecticide cans blazed fire, persons gyrated and stomped to Famalay’s melody and obeyed the artistes’ every instruction.

Such is the influence of these performing artistes, and last week’s display of togetherness and cooperation should be used as a teaching moment; the lesson being, give the youths something that interests them and makes them feel valued, and you will definitely get them to listen and pay attention.

How can we co-opt persons such as Mr Doyle and his friends and get them to use the tremendous pull they have to guide at risk youngsters towards positive activities and endeavours? Whenever we have upsurges in crime, we question what are the churches, schools, homes, parents and government doing to help in the abatement of criminal activity. We very rarely consider involving our performing artistes and other influential cultural icons to help to pull our youngsters back into the mainstream. Perhaps getting the youth to toe the line may not be as difficult as we think.

Just ask Skinny.