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Lady Diamond stands tall in Vincy calypso

Lady Diamond stands tall in Vincy calypso



Editor: I want to thank Javelle “Lady Diamond” Frank for her outstanding contribution to Vincy Mas 2011. Her contribution came in the form of her calypso song “Teach us about Africa”.{{more}}

This year the international community, represented by the United Nations, called on all nations to celebrate 2011 as “The Year for People of African Descent”, by celebrating and raising awareness of the great contributions of black people to world civilization, and to seek to eliminate the scourge called racism.

Thank you, Lady Diamond, for answering this urgent call of the international community. The Caribbean, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), played a key role in getting the international community to dedicate this year, 2011, to black people throughout the world.

Lady Diamond addressed some very urgent and critical themes in her song. In her live performances during the carnival, she delivered her song with much strength, passion, conviction, and a sense of authority. There are many people, including myself, who keep asking when are we going to see some decisive move toward integrating African history into the education curriculum in SVG. Many years have passed since Vincentians have full control over the education system without having to answer to the former slave masters. While attending school, we learned nothing of value about our history and heritage. But we did learn the history of other people, especially those who enslaved and colonized us!

So, Lady Diamond was right to call on the government and people of SVG to ensure that the Education Revolution seeks to educate us about our glorious and positive African history. She is correct to remind us in her own words that our forgotten past needs re-awakening. This is the case because, according to Lady Diamond, they teach us their history to distort our mind. They taught that blacks should serve white people forever. But they never taught us about the historical greatness of our African civilization, its people, great cities and great universities created before Europe knew anything much about Africa.

Lady Diamond demands in her own words that the Education Revolution teaches us about the great African philosophers and warriors. According to her, it should teach us about great black people like Steve Biko, Jomo Kenyatta, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Toussaint L’Ouverture, among others.

Moreover, thank you, Lady Diamond, for reminding us that African descendents are still suffering from trauma as a result of chattel slavery. She correctly called it the most wicked crime against humanity. She told us about the millions they killed, just to control Africa. This brutality has led to black people in the African Diaspora losing their land and culture. She let us know that we need to make connections to the motherland Africa in order to fill the void that makes us feel empty

Thanks to the other calypsonians for their outstanding contributions this year. However, many people have been denouncing the trends toward more and more smut and degrading lyrics in the songs for the Carnival. Therefore, when artistes make the effort to sing morally uplifting songs, then we must show the same energy in rewarding them – congratulating them, thanking them, and analyzing their contributions for the positive lessons for the society. They should be rewarded with lots of airplay, many opportunities for live performances at shows, and financial rewards. The controversies stimulated by the musical lyrics of many of the soca songs are warnings to the society itself that the nation needs to highlight and discuss the cultural values that the society holds as priority. The entire culture of SVG needs to be revisited and thoroughly assessed as we move to the mid-point of the second decade of the twenty-first century.

Calypso has always come to the rescue of our people’s spirit of survival and resilience. This year, Lady Diamond stands tall in helping black people to regain the positive values of their heritage – values that have been suppressed by chattel slavery and its legacies.

Maxwell Haywood