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Young calypsonians sing for better Youth Socialization

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Fri, Jul 09, 2010

by Maxwell Haywood

This year the topic of socialization of children and youth got a lot of attention from the calypsonians in the Carnival festival 2010 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}} In the senior category, Bridgette “Joy – C” Creese, successfully defended her calypso monarch crown with two powerful songs, one of them titled “The Cries of the Grand”, which addresses the plight of young people who are left behind when their parents migrate to foreign lands. In the senior category, other calypsonians who addressed the socialization issue of young people include Brother Don with his song – “Granny”, Gao – “Ma Paul”, Azzara – “Youth Take Heed”, and Defoe – “Old Time Days”.

The junior calypsonians from the primary and secondary schools also dealt craftily with this issue of the socialization of children and youth. They sent a clear message to the nation and the world that young people need the society to pay more genuine attention to their concerns and problems.

For example, Ottis “Flipper” Caine from the Fairhall Government won the Primary Schools’ Calypso Monarch title with a song called “Books First”, in which he highlights the high significance of books by poetically singing about eating books, dreaming books, thinking books, and the need to use them fully. In reality, books are really vital to the socialization process of children.

Putting fathers under the microscope and holding them accountable, Alicia Williams from the Park Hill Government in her song titled “Daddy Take Back Control of the Home” emphasizes that our world has become a place of disgrace because there is too much crime and violence, and families are falling. She laments that in all this daddy has given up his role. As she sees it, every night daddy gone and roam leaving the children for mommy alone, increasing the pressure on her. She begs daddy to leave the rum shop alone, and she asks daddy to please take back control of the home. She certainly does not like the fact that mommy is playing the role of daddy. She demands daddy to rise up and take his place. She asserts that neglecting your family is just not cool; and she beckons him not to be a fool; you have to be there for the family. Indeed if fathers follow this message from Alicia Williams, our society will be better off.

In addition, Teishanna “Mighty Alicia” Franklyn from the Kingstown Anglican School in her song “Teacher don’t touch me dey” shares with us a story of sexual abuse in a school. She relates that the victim kept telling her teacher don’t touch her there; what will her parents say; you really think I am a fool; when I go home I will talk since this ain’t cool. But she says that teacher and mommy in unity with this madness. According to Mighty Alicia, in the end the parent gets bought out with money and refuses to take the legal route and punish the offender responsible for sexually abusing the child.

Furthermore, Alexia “The Messenger” Alexandra from the Fancy Government School sang “Message from overseas”. She tells us that a young woman went overseas and sent back advice to her sister. She is in a foreign land without education; now she understands what mommy used to say. When the road is rough and the valley so deep; what you sow is what you will reap. She never listened to mommy; now she is paying the price. She then tells her sister don’t make peer pressure get to your head.

The moment you let go all is lost!

In a very reassuring composition, Christie from the Layou Government School sang “Don’t give up”, in which she shares with us her granny’s advice not to give up. Her granny told her that the hills of life are not easy to climb; but put mind over matter. Ride on and keep on keeping on, and if you want to reach the top, you can’t give up. Her granny continued to advise her that life will be rough and tough, so don’t give up; because the moment you let go, all is lost. She noted that many national high achievers are persons who walked the rough road but never gave up, such as Becket, Dr. Cyrus, Dr. Ballantyne and Sophia Young.

In a similar reassuring manner, Shadè “Shadè B” Barker, Secondary Schools Calypso Monarch, who sang “Rise Up”, reminds us that society never highlights the good that youth do. But youth should rise up and never let the standards drop. Shadè B wants young people to show their positive light. She warns the society please don’t provoke the youths since they are the ones who will carry on where the adults left off. She reminds the youth that the devil will find work for idle hands to do, so they should rise up and conquer the devil.

In a nostaligic mood, Singing DP in her song “Bring Back the Good Times” relates to us a message from her granny. She wants youth to get an education. Her granny recalled that in their times food was different; not the fry chicken nowadays. Even the music was much better then. She laments teenage pregnancy and the fact that people afraid to walk in the streets late at night. She regrets that this is the kind of culture young people are been socialized in.

In a militant mood, Cyprian “Cyp” Issacs from the Grammar School in his song “Child Abuse” demands that child molesters should leave the children alone. He asks them how you sleep at night after you have done your dirty deeds. He chants down the men who rape people and he tells them that they know what they have done. He held them guilty for the pain and agony caused by their sexual violence. He cried shame on all child molesters.

In a similar vein as Shade B, Phylicia “Nubian Empress” Alexander from the Intermediate High School sang “Positive Reasoning”. In this song she sang about parental abuse and how parents respond to children who might challenge them; some parents want children to shut up or they get hit by a back hand. She urged society to encourage parents and children to discuss problems together, not through a curse-out or shouting match. She reminds the nation that teenagers nowadays have more complicated problems, and it is the duty of both parents to communicate properly with children because they are smart, too. She urges parents to listen to children’s views because children want to respect parents.

No doubt calypsonians are on the frontline addressing serious social development issues. Our societies will be better off if these messages are the foundation of our culture of child and youth development in SVG and the world. Congrats to the calypsonians for promoting proper child and youth development. We definitely need more of these messages in these troubled times.

NB: This article was taken from a larger essay I prepared analyzing the calypsos for Vincy Mas 2010.

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