of 20th Century Barbados
A Journey of Discovery
Chronicles of 20th Century Barbados BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS Identities 1
Issues of culture and identity construction
Identities 2 Issues of social and economic justice, race, and development de City
A Portrait of Bridgetown in verse
Poems dedicated to Jazz and Banja
Cover Down Yuh Bucket: The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados
A detailed look at the art of sticklicking, and the role of sticklickers in Bajan and Caribbean Culture
Better Must Come: Vol 1
The Vision; The Telephone Co; Black Business; Theatre and The Arts
Better Must Come: Vol 2
Race, Colour and Class; Kith and Kin; Emancipation
Navel Strings Vols 1 & 2
Observers, Philosophers, Pioneers, Prophets & Disciples, Teachers, Artists
Crappeau Pipe Crappeau Pipe, Duppy Dust, Third Row Centre, and Other Standpipe & Pimps, Political Bans & Other Stories 1 & 2 Abuses The Music Bubbles 1, 2 & 3
Insight; From the Tradition; The Influences; The Music; The Musicians - Traditional, Jazz Traditions, Religious, Popular; The Groups; The Places; The Producers; The Promoters
Cultural Strategies for National Development
Essays on various aspects of Culture
AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDINGS Folk Music of Barbados Yoruba Yard Archives 1
I would like to convey my profound thanks to Dr. Delisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank, and his staff, for the use of the Frank Collymore Hall. I would also like to thank Carol Pitt, CEO of Caribbean Chapters Publishing, who is the driving force behind the production of these books; Yejide Maynard, who is both editor and critic; my son Akintunde, CEO of POLED Inc.; and most of all, my wife Donna Marie for tolerating me and listening attentively to my ideas, rants and rumbles over the last 21 years.
Introduction to Identities 1 and 2 Professor Ian Boxill
n this volume of Identities, Elombe Mottley has created a mirror for Barbados equalled only by the likes of George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite, Timothy Calendar and Austin Tom Clarke. In his collection of short essays he takes us on a journey of life; his life, and ultimately the life of people who have influenced him most -Bajan people. Whether he is speaking about a tuk band man he knew when he was a boy or being a student at the University of Manitoba in the 1950s, Elombeâ€™s insights reflect the sharpness of a good social scientist and the sensibility of an artist. Elombe is essentially a humanist who has strong views about the location of Caribbean people in the wider world. Implicit in his work is the belief that, like other Caribbean people, Barbadians have a unique civilization which is largely the result of its African heritage. Elombe leaves no doubt where he stands in regard to his country and the Caribbean; he is a nationalist, a regionalist and Pan-Africanist. Now, while his writing is clear and forthright, there are times when he writes like a poet, playing with metaphors, not simply words but also situations. Whichever style is adopted, he is always provocative. Identities takes us where no man or woman has gone before, in regards to the discourse on society Barbados. This is both a conversation with and about Barbados; about its history, culture, strengths, weaknesses and prospects. Elombeâ€™s essays are parsimonious, but these concise and skilfully crafted essays open up 3
a window to Barbados and Bajans with immense clarity and rigour, and in a way hitherto unseen. Moving between the subjective and objective, the idiographic and nomethetic, these essays reveal a picture of Barbados from within and without, without being too pedantic or didactic. The range of subject matter is also amazing. Some of his essays are meaningful epitaphs to a side of Barbados that has long disappeared with the rise of modernism. Others are about issues which never seem to disappear from the landscape of Caribbean society: issues such as race and social justice, recognition, nationalism, self-esteem, technology, development, to mention a few. Elombe’s texts (and subtext) pose (though not always answer) a number of important questions for Barbadians. Questions such as: Who are we? Why are we the way we are? What is our contribution to world civilization? What are some of our failures? What are some of our strengths? What can we do to make Barbados a stronger and more prosperous place? Obviously, in collections of this type different themes tend to resonate with different people. As a sociologist I am immediately struck by his numerous discussions of race and stratification in Barbados. To understand Barbados’ social structure, one has to understand its history. And while the country has much in common with its Caribbean neighbours, there are also important differences. In one of his early pieces Elombe puts his finger on one of the unique features of Barbados, when compared to the other Caribbean islands. He points out that “[T]he presence of the plantation house in Barbados is unlike any in the Caribbean. This is so in respect to the number, the size and the architecture. The owners of these great houses were residents in Barbados and therefore all of their wealth was in Barbados. They were not absentee landlords like those found in the other islands.” Although well known by historians, it is a point often lost on many students of Caribbean studies who seek various explanations for what they see as Barbadian exceptionalism. More important thought for Elombe, in that same article, is that most of the wealthy whites in Barbados are not the descendents of that early planter class. Instead these are descendents of the poor whites who 4
also suffered at the hands of the early planters and the British during slavery. Thus Elombe is understandably surprised that such a group is not more understanding of the concerns of black Barbadians regarding troubling aspects of the country’s history. Elombe leaves us in no doubt that the problem of race and inequality in Barbados is a work in progress and needs to be confronted more honestly and openly than has been in the past. On a different note, Elombe uses these pages to remind Barbadians of their past. Combining the skills of a teacher and an entertainer, he is able to do this by drawing on his personal experiences, bringing to life events and people he speaks about. In one essay he focuses on the famous (or infamous) Harry’s Nitery, which was a Bridgetown institution. He is able to show us how that nightclub reflected a liberal side of Barbados and embraced global culture, at a time when the country was attempting to shake off the political and cultural shackles of mother England. Elombe is especially compelling in his accounts of ordinary Barbadians who are the backbone of the society. Whether in his stories of Rupert Yarde and Professor Laha (who, like Elombe, was the first magician I ever met) or the “sweet, sweet” music of the tuk band man, he brings a fresh and authentic voice to the discussion of people who often slip between the cracks of the history books. Elombe discusses the impact that these ordinary men made on his life. By exposing these personal accounts, he is able to recapture a bygone era, giving meaning to the work of these people in the context of nation building and cultural evolution. Also, by putting a face on the activities of these ordinary people, the reader is treated to people who carry themselves with dignity and a sense of purpose. These people are placed before us in a way which forces Barbadians to confront their/our mirror image. Elombe’s passion is evident in his discussion of music, especially calypso and jazz. But he also demonstrates a rare breadth and depth in his pieces on musics of other countries and regions. This passion is also evident in his writing style, moving between British and American English and Bajan. He does this with a level of confidence and ease typical of a person who is comfortable in his skin. While 5
his style also reflects his obvious mastery of English (Elombe was schooled in the classics at one of region’s leading educational institutions, Harrison College) and his native Bajan, he seems more interested in communicating with his audience. He understands that language should not become a fetish. That it is an instrument of expression and its usefulness is largely determined by the extent to which it is able to communicate ideas. Thus at times he opts for the sheer simplicity, but effectiveness, of a Bajan expression over English. Elombe’s tone is always conversational. Witness for example an extract from his piece “Bull Cow and Chicken”: “When bullcow was small, he had a vision. He look up in de sky one night and he see de dipper. I ent kno if it was de Big Dipper or de Lil Dipper or if it did a Dipper at all, but next ting yuh kno, bullcow decide he ent eating nuh more cane meat.”
This is a powerful statement about struggle and change, and written in a way that has strong resonance with his Barbadian audience. Identities is an outstanding work by one the Caribbean’s brightest sons. The pieces were originally written to communicate with a mass audience, but they should also be important additions to the reading lists of scholars of Caribbean society. There is a strong theme of continuity and change running through the book. Students and teachers of Caribbean Studies and Cultural studies should make sure that they have this gem in their possession.
Ian Boxill, PhD., Senior Lecturer in Sociology University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica January 2003
COMMON SENSE & EVIDENCE
Ah - Books, Books and more wonderful Books! Professor Henry Fraser
t’s summer; exams are over, and thoughts turn to books. Quite a few books have been added to my library in the last few weeks, and it’s like a sumptuous buffet – but where to start? Top of the list are the two volumes of Identities, by Elombe (Elton Deighton Mottley), followed by Chattel House Blues and Chattel House Rules, by Professor Hilary Beckles. Also on the historical pile are Mona – Past and Present, a fascinating history of the Mona Campus of UWI from earliest times, through the Gibraltar Camp period to the foundation of the UWI in 1948, and Central Africa in the Caribbean, by Maureen Warner-Lewis. Then there’s a host of new medical and health related books, such as An American Health Dilemma – Race, Medicine and Health Care in the United States, by Michael Byrd and Linda Clayton. (Margaret Knight’s colourful new novel, Ginger Lily, jumped to the top of the list, and was read straight through one night!) And for intermittent desert, in small doses, we can dip into the absolutely fascinating Oxymoronicas. So let’s get started! Identities, Volumes I and II, is a collection of Elombe’s eminently readable, always fascinating, often humorous and sometimes controversial Nation columns over several years. Now Elombe is a born and bred Bajan (now living in Jamaica with his family), and describes himself as a cultural activist and a teacher. Ian Boxill, a Bajan who is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at UWI, Mona, describes 7
this collection as “A mirror for Barbados equalled only by the likes of George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite, Timothy Callender and Austin Tom Clarke … he takes us on a journey of life; his life, and ultimately the life of people who have influenced him most – Bajan people.” He goes on: “Implicit in his work is the belief that, like other Caribbean people, Barbadians have a unique civilization which is largely the result of his African heritage …” But in many ways I think Elombe’s work is perhaps a more valuable mirror than any of the above, in spite of their undoubted brilliance. The skills of our three best known authors and our “Poet Laureate” capture our imaginations, but they present, to a large extent, colourful snapshots in time – reflecting different phases in our remembered cultural passage. Elombe covers it all – he reaches back in time, and he dreams for us; he looks at almost every element of our social intercourse, and covers every aspect of culture, history, identity, social justice, economic growth, race, tourism, sport – he touches on it all. Volume 1 explores our culture, our community, our identity. He reminds us of long dead institutions like the Bearded Fig Tree (at Bat’s Rock) and Harry’s Nitery. I share his fascination with the Bearded Fig Tree: “…a magnificent tree, its huge branches spreading like the giant umbrella of an Ashanti Chief. Its prodigious roots like the locks of a Rastaman descended earthwards colonizing the coralstone cliffs with an army of siblings, all ready to do duty in case a hurricane blows by.” And he sings in praise of places and people – Farley Hill, the Landship and the tuk band, his cultural icons – Bob Marley, Broodie, Duke Ellington, the Landship, the Merrymen (“A Caribbean legacy”). I particularly enjoyed his essays on Karl Broodhagen: “Broodie! My Hero” and “Karl Broodhagen, the Master”, but also his tribute to Timothy Callender (“a searcher, a seeker of truth”), who was at UWI, Mona with me in the sixties. Elombe is the keenest of observers, and gets behind the superficial in his own unending search for truth – to truly know both himself and the identity of the people he meets. And because he is so comfortable with his own identity, he writes easily and is easily readable. He “floats” in and out of standard 8
English and Bajan – like an artist with an epic mural to paint, he paints some images with bold brush strokes, the way they would roll off a countrywoman’s tongue; and others with finesse, attention to detail, impeccable tonal values (choice of the perfect word). Elombe feels strongly about language. He can be as poetic as Kamau or Derek Walcott, as pellucidly clear and eloquent as Oliver Jackman, or as colourful as Lickmout Lou. In “Whulay whuhloss, Bajan to dead?” he celebrates the value of Bajan speech in communication; in creating excitement and understanding in children, for example. But he also says: “Let me mek it clear from up front. I believe that we should learn and be taught the English language. Let me also mek it clear that speaking English will always be an advantage in a world where English is the language of power and the powerful.” He also points out the view (and dilemma) that while children may learn most rapidly in their home language, formal recognition of “non-standard language as a legitimate means of expression will confuse children, and reinforce their tendency to use it instead of (my emphasis) standard English.” So there’s the rub. Skilled linguists like Elombe are bilingual in both Bajan and standard English. Common sense tells us that most lesser mortals are better at one than the other. The tragedy for those without the skills and education is that Bajan alone won’t “cut it” in the global village. It’s a fertile project - for our educators to study the best way of equipping our kids with good language skills, without losing our colourful culture. Professor Fraser is Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine and Research, and Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre, UWI
Legacy in Identity by Carmel Haynes
lthough having resettled In Jamaica a number of years ago, Elton Elombe Mottley remains as involved as ever in the ongoing expressions of the Barbadian national character. This was evident during the launch of his new two-volume essay collection Identities I and Identities II at the 3Ws Oval Verandah Pavilion of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill on Tuesday night. “The process of writing about Barbados had a lot to do with the fact that there is an absence of mirrors in all the history books that I read. They never ever told me about black people, primarily because black people were not writing the books; and if it was important, or if it was mentioned, it was mentioned very casually and dismissed. “And I remember growing up that my heroes were Rupert Yarde — a mason, a friend of the old man, a stick licker, and one of [my] books is on stick-licking; a joiner called Professor Laha - a piece of magician too; and Sam Marshall, who was a barefoot organic vegetable planter who lived behind us; Dan Springer, a barefoot, cow-[dungl-betweenhis-toes dairy man from “Jack-muh-nanny” Gap. These were the people I saw interacting with the old man. And of course there was Joe Tonkey, there was Sunnuh, there was Pooshun, there was a host of people, because of the political nature. “And what I’ve tried to do is make sure that, 200 years from now, these nameless, faceless people are there for people to see them in various forms,” said the author and cultural activist who selfpublishes under his Fatpork Ten-Ten Productions. Mottley reminisced on his “profound” search for identity, touching 10
on his meticulous noting of every time he heard African-American musicians such as Duke Ellington 1940s, his connection with our tuk-bands and village bands; the race, colour and class issues in this country; his fight with the Canadian telephone company here in 1968; his contention with Barbados Shipping and Trading after they by-passed Ralph Taylor; and a host of other personal experiences; that went into writing the two books. Mottley, who described himself as a â€œpack-ratâ€? in gathering information, has also amassed over 500 hours of taped interviews between 1966 and 1979/80 with elderly people in Barbados, which will form the basis for another book called Navel Strings that will explore what Barbados was like at the turn of the century. He also said his next publication would be a long tone poem called The City, which he hopes to have performed in its entirety before year-end.
Elombe launches two new books
ormer Director of the National Cultural Foundation, Mr. Elton “Elombe” Mottley, recently provided Barbadian readers with two linked avenues through which fresh political, social and cultural insights into the local landscape may be sourced. Entitled “Identities” Volumes I and II, this literary pairing has been prefaced with forewords by Dr. Ian Boxill, Senior Lecturer/ Sociologist at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). During Tuesday night’s launch at UWI’s Cave Hill cricket pavilion, Mottley whetted local appetites with his promise that “the fireworks ain’t done yet,” and informed that some elements of the books “will surprise” readers of this prolific social commentator and cultural activist. Through excerpts of his works read by friends and colleagues like broadcaster and actor Tony Thompson, and veteran performer Andrea Gollop-Greenidge, Mottley flickered the sometimes whimsical, sometimes harsh but always insightful spotlight of criticism upon the passing parade of people, places, and things Caribbean. Analyses including his own well-known trials and triumphs, exerted locally against what he projects to be a culturally-void, but culture-resistant tide of pro-colonial complacency. During his address, featured speaker Professor Hilary Beckles shared his vivid impressions with an audience comprised mainly of local literati, of how the life’s work and commitment of Mottley has contributed to the development of a healthier national psyche. The University Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor was making reference to his Senegalese tour completed five years ago, where a 12
village Elder informed him that by exercising material bargaining options, “many (of the elite, or privileged within the village) could have escaped the slave trade.” The Elder based this assessment upon the fact that the traders “took who they could take, but some of us were in a position to protect ourselves,” through negotiating individual terms of independence. A circumstance further assisted, Professor Beckles noted, by slave traders’ and plantation owners’ disinclination to add the dangerously inciting and insightful elements of “priests, intellectuals, writers, thinkers, philosophers and artists,” into the already volatile mix of simmering black mutiny. Through analogy therefore, Professor Beckles highlighted the rare but nevertheless existent element of “choice,” that could sometimes inform who stayed in privilege, and who joined the thankless social battle against mental and economic slavery. He therefore commended in this regard, what he considered to be a similar position taken by Mottley not “to stay “ in his privileged world, (not) to stay disconnected from the journey, from the turbulence, from the crisis of survival...” A conscious decision attributed to this cultural activist, who Professor Beckles portrayed as diverting both attention and energies away from other socially proscribed, and perhaps more commercially lucrative pursuits, to be like the Elder guided instead by the knowledge “that our people needed us on the other side.” During his own address to the gathering, Mr. Mottley credited “an absence of mirrors” in historical texts with prompting his decision to fill this gap. Noting that “they never, ever told me about black people - primarily because black people were not writing the books,” he added that if such a reference happened to be made, “it was mentioned very casually, and dismissed.” IdentitiesVolumesIand II havebeenwritten byanauthorconfessing to the self-set task of ensuring that “two hundred years from now, nameless, faceless people” will through his efforts, live-on actually or anecdotally but always vividly, within the local literary memory. Barbados Advocate, Friday April 23, 2004 13
A Review of Identities I & II John Harewood
ho am I ? Who or what is a Bajan? Who or what is a West Indian? What makes me different? Why are some of us black and why are some of us white? Why are we treated differently? Why do I respond to certain music which I was told was bad?â€? That is the barrage of questions Elombe asks at the beginning of his two volume pot-pourri of Bajan life. As a reader, you cannot be neutral or lukewarm in your reaction. I began by asking a few of my own. For example, do Bajans, so far conspicuously confident in the twenty-first century, still not know who they are? And donâ€™t West Indians, who, according to C.L.R. James in Beyond A Boundary, found their truest self-definition in Cricket in the fifties, and later dominated the game for fifteen years, still not know who they are? What then of Elombe himself? Does he, after more than three score years on this planet, not know who he is? Questions about identity will always arouse curiosity, faint or spirited. And skeptics might quickly dismiss them with the argument that the challenge of daily living is much more important than the sometimes overwrought exercise of finding out who you are or where you came from. They may further claim that such a quest might have been relevant in the middle of the last century when former colonies like India, Ghana, Nigeria and others, including Barbados, all newly independent, sought to redefine themselves in their own image to counter that created by their former colonial or imperial masters. 14
On the African continent, Senghor answered eloquently in “Negritude”, and in the United States , the slogan “Black is beautiful “ proclaimed a new assertiveness to reclaim and celebrate a personhood denigrated by slavery and racism. But certainly today, especially in a progressive and supposedly progressing Barbados, the skeptics might insist that “Dem days done.” And yet, the speed with which former satellites of the Soviet Union asserted their nationality and ethnicity following the breakdown of the Berlin Wall and the increasing interest in Genealogy amongst ordinary people across the world strongly suggest that, rather than “having gone thru the eddoes,” the search for identity has become a family, societal and international imperative. So Elombe owes no apology for being relevant. Readers know from the outset that the search is partly personal, his own struggle for self-identity, the need to erase the negative images he accepted about himself from childhood. It is also national and regional, for he often reminds us of the historic and continuing connection between the islands through the experience of the Middle Passage and daily interaction.. But such a search cannot be merely speculative or just a product of “received wisdom.” He understands that he must establish his credibility by beginning at the source. So he can confidently declare that “for five years I travelled to every nook and cranny in Barbados, visiting and talking to the people and recording some of the conversations by tape… First I Travelled every single paved road in Barbados including those in new developments… I followed the train line… I stomped through gullies… I stopped at every blacksmith shop… I went down into quarries.” You journey with him on his march to self discovery in unlikely places such as the once popular Roxy theatre at Eagle Hall where he noticed that none of the heroes in the movies looked like him or on a bus to the United States when a white American soldier barely “scotched” beside him until he discovered that he wasn’t a “nigger”, but British. 15
Elombe must know that there is some truth in the American’s observation which was based more on a perceived cultural rather than a colour or racial connection. Educated under the British system, he cannot claim to have been impervious to its influence and to have emerged with an identity that is exclusively African. Moreover, colour aside, the basis of the Africanity, he claims, is spiritual: “Sometimes I heard the voices of all those who came before me, those who perished in the Middle passage, those whose spirits wandered around in search of Guinea.” He is linked to those resting in the burial ground at Newton Plantation and “we must invite those in Africa to come here to appease the spirits and take the body for a ritual reburial in the homeland.” Even so, he cannot claim full knowledge about his identity, for “the depth of our being is yet to be unfolded.” So the final impression is that his own identity is unfinished business, although it is doubtful that this was his original intention. He is on firmer ground when he defines what it is to be Bajan. The Emancipation Stature, Emancipation Day, the recognition of National Heroes and National Heroes Square, symbolize it and it is best exemplified in Karl Broodhagen, George Lamming, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Emile Straker and Anthony Gabby Carter “who have chronicled the known and unknown… unraveled the mysteries of our past and the conundrums of our present.” However, we are surprised at the absence of even one female from this company. We would have expected greater sensitivity from an author striving to be egalitarian. But he is careful to emphasize that Bajan identity was not automatic, nor was it inherited. It was nurtured by values instilled by “the church , the elders and teachings,” buttressed by strict discipline from childhood to adulthood and preserved by the extended family and a community linked by indigenous organizations such as the Barbados Landship movement and Friendly societies. If at times Elombe appears nostalgic about the Bajan past, he is not embellishing it for its own sake. Rather, he sees in it the 16
foundation on which a now independent Barbados can and should build its future. But there are obstacles. The first is the issue of race. Bajans in general may wonder what the claim of Afro-Americans for Reparation payment has to do with them. And black prosperous Bajans may be offended by his candour in discussing “The Rightness of Whiteness” and the “siege mentality” of Bajan whites. These are certainly not hot topics in current Bajan writing and his may be a lonely and isolated voice in the wilderness, the sessions on National Reconciliation notwithstanding. He was even called racist for claiming that white privilege, preferential treatment of whites, their access to the corridors of power, the support of the banks and sometimes that of the government in power, ensure the continuation of the economic disparity between them and blacks; even more explosive, that, at the management level in business, there is a glass ceiling preventing the advancement of blacks. Yet, careful reading will show that these are not the rantings of a bitter man, but a call, or more accurately, a plea for, frank dialogue, a challenge to accept merit and ability as criteria for leadership as opposed to traditional race and colour. His poignant reminder is that “We share a common heritage, family trees as solid as baobabs, as tall as royal palms and as broad as bearded fig trees.” “Bubbadus is we, all of we and all of wunna.” Other obstacles are violence, the decay of the community, “dislocation through cellular individualism,” preoccupation with status, failure in long-term planning, the prevalence of a religious sentiment which views business as unholy, the failure to see family as an economic unit and the assumption of Independence “without a clear definition of what we wanted our future citizens to be like.” But, far from being a defeatist, Elombe is a patriotic visionary. The catalogue of shortcomings is a stimulus for a programme of “reinventing community,” of “taking control of one’s environment.” Change will require that perceptions be altered, that a “national consciousness” be developed. There are clear prescriptions including 17
the necessity for incorporating computer technology in business practice, fostering “the interplay between classroom and culture” so that “Learning should be about strengthening and reinforcing our understanding of ourselves, who we are, our relationship with others and the tools needed for living and succeeding.” Perhaps his boldest idea touches the Tourism industry, the lifeblood of the Bajan economy. He rejects the notion that “good land is only on the west coast” and dares to imagine that “Speightstown, Apes Hill, Boscobel and East Coast can prosper by the same ingenuity that produced Westmoreland and Port St. Charles.” Regional integration is also a part of the “national consciousness” he espouses. It is often arrested by the lack of information islanders have about one another and by the tendency of groups who control it to keep it for their own consumption. Integration is crucial, for “The Survival of the Caribbean in the twenty-first century is going to be dependent on our creativity, not on our lamentations and begging.” All of this may sound like a very solemn litany, far removed from the spirit of Cropover or the lightheartedness of Kadooment which Bajans have been promoting in the last two decades to refute charges of ultra-conservatism sometimes voiced by sister islands. But the narrative is never monotonous, which is a compliment to the variety of stylistic techniques he employs. Expect headings starting with the familiar “The Bearded Fig Tree”, “Duppies, Spirits and Ancestors” to “Down Taw, Nuh Brush” and the risky “Frothing Pee”, each equally validating the distinctive Bajan parlance. Elombe is always present, sometimes in conversation with the reader, sometimes in imaginary debate with a specific opponent. No topic is outside of his repertoire, but you are forced to respect the range of his discussions on music from the “Sweet, Sweet Tuk Band, Bumbatuk, Calypso, The St. Mary’s Choir, the Merrymen, Caribbean Music Awards to Duke Ellington and Bob Marley, the Twentieth Century Greatest West Indian.” When he turns to describe enclaves known or unknown to the reader, whether it is Harry’s Nitery in Bridgetown, Adamstraw Ruins 18
in Greens, St. George, the Barbados Museum where Bussa was discovered in a booklet, the origin of Scouting in Barbados, Rockfield Community Centre in St. Lucy or Grannie Bebe’s house “right pon de road” in Speightstown, he is authentic and authoritative. At the same time, he is an engaging raconteur, enriching the text with humorous vignettes of Bajan personalities, like “Sharkey, the fisherman, who used a big rock as an anchor,” or of the old woman from Middleton, St. George, who gave him a lesson “bout bushes, and teas to treat fevers, bad feels, neuralgia, bellyhurt, morning sickness, tootaches, lice, chiggers, sores, cuts, stumptoes, nailjooks,” or of “Cammie’s brother, Martin, who was known to snack on a dozen eggs before breakfast and to carry a dozen salt breads in one pocket and a couple dozen fishcakes in the other in case he got hungry”, or of Julian Murphy, a Bajan poor white , a red leg, “Whose language was spiced with sexual images in such abundance that the recordings I made are useless for airplay”, or of Broodie, who was said to be “an obeah man who could turn into a duck at night”, or of Black Ben, “who could read passages of scripture from the Bible without seeing them” or of Timothy Callender, “who read about mystics drinking their own urine” and thinking that “it provided a new frontier of experience…drank his own urine.” Then there are strikingly poetic passages of “mountains cornrowed with midget coffee trees. Mountains afroed by plump mangoes and dreadlocked ackees.” But not surprisingly, he keeps his most graphic prose for cricket “a matter of pride and Caribbean identity”. Its revival will depend upon the recapturing of “attitude”, embodied in Michael Holding , for when “he moved, the air took note of his coming and parted itself to let him through” and Garfield Sobers who, in approaching the wicket, “surveyed the scene with each multiple step. Not with glances or leers, but with deliberate ease. And like the dancer he was, he cocked his head without losing his rhythm, checked the scoreboard midstride, and marched to do battle for our honour.” These two volumes appear at a critical period in Barbados’ social, cultural and economic development. The urge to move from a post19
agricultural to an industrial and technologically-sophisticated society is frequently characterized by a willingness to reject the past as irrelevant or to maintain that only what is created today and comes from abroad is significant for growth and prosperity. Perhaps at the start Elombe didnâ€™t know where his wanderings across Barbados with his tape-recorder would take him. Certainly, he could not have envisaged that they would give him unique knowledge and insights about the grassroots of Bajan history, culture and folklore, or lead him to confront some of the thorniest social and political issues that have festered in the Barbadian landscape for decades. At the same time, they would demand that he invite his fellow Bajans to celebrate the values, spirit and ingenuity which have brought them to their present well-being and should be utilized for their future nation-building. Undoubtedly, they own and selectively use them both as a reference resource as well as a treasure house from which they may glean stories to entertain, inform and instruct those under their charge. Educators from other Caribbean islands will find them attractive for intercultural and cross-cultural comparisons and arguing the case for Caribbean integration. Already more than essential, they will become an indispensable repository of intriguing aspects of Bajan culture, and thoughtful Bajans in future generations will continually thank the author for his foresight in preserving these chapters of their heritage.
John Harewood Toronto, Canada 17.10.05
Roger Gibbs Former lead singer in the Sandpebbles, composer and arranger. He now lives in Toronto, Canada. These comments were taken from an email.
thoroughly enjoyed the Identities books... and have been recommending them to Bajan friends. I found them very insightful, provocative and moving on many levels. I liked the short essay format which in this age of short attention spans makes it very accessible to many readers. Unfortunately, it also meant that you often raised issues that I would have loved to see you develop more. Also, I naturally hoped for more arts/music content. The lack of critical music literature dialogue in Barbados is depressing. Your personal portraits were outstanding and I felt like I got to know these people intimately. If there were shortcomings, they were sins of omission, e.g. where are all the women? The books were almost devoid of women who have contributed to the many aspects of cultural and social milieu that you covered. Identities reminded me vividly of how much ‘social apartheid’ held sway in the Barbados of my childhood and youth. It is not a pleasant reminder (it reminds me somewhat of the movie Blue Velvet with the evil lurking below the tropical paradise surface). I often wonder what psychological scars I carry as a result of witnessing such racism as a child. Let’s face it, you could not escape it in Barbados of the 60s & 70s.” Toronto, Canada
Life in ‘De City’ Ricky Jordan
nt I people too?,” actor Tony Thompson asked incredulously, his gravelly voice resonating with the frustration of thankless work, weariness, ever‑present bills, and the drudgery and struggles of everyday life. Such strong images enveloped me in a warm sense of privilege at Frank Collymore Hall Thursday night, as Elombe Mottley launched his collection of poems, De City. Such privilege, however, was triggered in no small part by the chance to see a different side of Elombe, who lived “we culture” before it became fashionable – especially for dreadlocked frauds and those who sport African garb on very select occasions. What a privilege to be treated to solid historical data through his poems, which were presented not in a dry self‑reading, but through the mouths of actors/street people slamming a dom, smoking and liming before a large black‑and‑white backdrop depicting a busy Bridgetown alley. Each scene of De City was set to the tune of music. Singer Smokey Burke opened the presentation on acoustic guitar with Emile Straker’s Tribute To Rachel Pringle, ushering forth from the actors short poems about generations of “ladies of the night” who helped to give The City her unique character. Khus‑khus prostitutes and other prostitutes were mentioned – including one named Doo Doo cussing all who had brought her here – their lives and times given voice by actors Thompson, Cicely Spencer Cross, Alfie, Sandra Sealy, Winston Farrell, Jack Lewis, Ricky
Parris and Jason Welch. An African drum rolled, and the coiled body of a female dancer bucked and contorted, her hips undulating snake‑like. Only this time the snake charmer was an African drummer, controlling her every sexual, graceful move before finally dragging her offstage. It was potent stuff, and gave a glimpse into what symbolically makes The City throb, especially at night. Gabby set the next scene, strumming his guitar as the emotion in his voice found expression in his trademark Emmerton. The hopelessness of constantly having to “go” infected the actors as they read Elombe’s poems of City baths, Cat’s Castle, sleeping in backyards... Yet these were to be balanced with images – or institutions – of hope in the form of the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Church which fed, physically and spiritually, many in The City; giving hope where hopelessness often resided. For me, this was the key to Elombe’s insight; too often we’re regaled with Bridgetown’s style, modern amenities and rapid development, while hiding the homeless and poor in its alleys and gutters under the cover of darkness. Setting the scene for another unique aspect of The City, Smokey returned with his self‑penned Characters Of The City, written about five years ago, witty, rejected and sad vagrants like Gearbox and the eccentric, embattled King Dyal. Some patrons smiled ruefully, others laughed as Burke – in arguably his best genre as a singer – painted the evening with nostalgia, punctuated with the haunting exclamatory question: “Whey dey gone? Whey dey gone? These characters of The City! Whey dey gone? Whey dey gone? If dey gone it’s a pity!” Also a hit with the audience was Thompson, whose commanding stage presence, his ability to don a street attitude and change his voice at will, are enduring hallmarks of his thespian experience. “But skipper, I fuh yuh... I vote fuh yuh fadduh tuh,” he told a budding politician in thick, sweet dialect, causing one to hear and feel the street. Gabby called on the authorities to Tek Down Nelson, setting 23
the scene for Ricky Parris’ “ig’rant” boast about Bridgetown having commercial banks from Canada, “Amurca” and England, while shouting “dat is country, boy!” All the while, Spencer‑Cross was “too glad Fogarty burn down”, echoing the grumble of the majority, the black street people for whom Fogarty as akin to today’s huge hotels on the West Coast – a place to “wuk”, but no place “fuh people like we so”. These poems, penned by Elombe between 1960 and 1965 when he was a university student, have been subsequently updated and are now in book form, dedicated to his deceased father and mayor of Bridgetown, Ernest Deighton Mottley. Elombe informed that he in fact lived the history of De City, and between 1966 and 1971 travelled every road and alley of this island, interviewing hundreds of Barbadians in a bid to learn and record all aspects of Barbadian culture. This exercise has now led to his third book following the two volumes of Identities, and will be followed – he promised – by Better Must Come, Night Songs (dedicated to his wife Donna), Cover Down Yuh Bucket and Navel Strings. Senior Minister Dame Billie Miller, expressing delight to see The City figuring in Elombe’s work, told him: “It’s important that somebody does this, and I’m glad it is you.” She also lamented that “many aspects of life in our times [were] not being recorded”, noting “it doesn’t matter whether it’s done in poetry, music or dance, once it is recorded.” The sole pity was the small audience, which included Elombe’s niece Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley and other relatives, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office John Williams, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Cynthia Forde, political activist Eric Sealy, and musical icon Vern El Verno del Congo Best. Like Bridgetown itself, De City should be savoured by all Barbadians. The Nation - Saturday 16, October‑2004 24
Introduction to â€˜Cover Down Yuh Bucketâ€™ Maureen Warner-Lewis
lombe Mottley and his co-researchers and writers have presented their audience with a mass of fascinating testaments as to the vibrancy of one of the Caribbeanâ€™s folk arts. While it is true that this particular art of stick-play is now a moribund skill, what Mottley has done is shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that this art-form did exist in Barbados. The strength of this affirmation comes against a cultural background of the island which had erased the existence of this sport from common memory or mention. Part of the further intent of this book is to encourage the revival of this sport. Cover Down Your Bucket is a credit to the persistence of those who have sought to recuperate aspects of the lost cultural heritage of a people. The impressive collection of testimonies is furthermore a magnificent monument to the efficacy of fieldwork in the task of such recuperation--the arduous process for the investigator of hunting down information from individuals who recollect past incidents and practices, and who have sometimes to be convinced that their personal stories have merit, in fact, that they hold part of the secrets which can unlock the past. The investigator then has the painstaking job of transcribing these memorials, possibly re-checking data with the informants, and then selecting extracts to collate into an exciting anthology such as this is. The information comes from various parishes of the island, and 25
while most of the informants are peasant or urban working-class blacks, Mottley has also been able to show the participation of some white middle-class Barbadians in this activity. The data also demonstrate the influence of British boxing styles and sword-play on the evolution of a practice which forms part of the cultural legacy of Africa in the Caribbean. Furthermore, this book presents evidence of stick-licking in Jamaica, and the role of Barbadians among stickfighters in Trinidad, where the practice has had greater saliency, is also evident in several of the accounts here. We may also note that the sport takes a variety of forms throughout the plantation Americas: in Cuba, Brazil, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among several locations. The size of this volume and the wide sweep of its comparative data speak to the enthusiasm which Mottley and his co-writers have brought to this enterprise. We welcome this addition to the profile of Caribbean folk arts and culture, and the contribution of Barbados to this particular genre of martial activity.
Prof Maureen Warner-Lewis Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time, Transforming Cultures Mona, Jamaica
Elombe’s Analysis of Sticklicking Steps on Toes Nigel Wallace, The Barbados Advocate Wednesday, May 24, 2006
he LT4 at the Cave Hill Campus was filled to capacity on the evening of Monday, May 22, 2006, as Elombe Mottley delivered an incredibly well researched lecture dealing with the culture of Sticklicking here in Barbados. More importantly, he highlighted the lack of visibility and respect for this art form which is fast approaching extinction. Organized by the Cultural Studies Programme at Cave Hill, headed by Dr. Marcia Burrowes, Mottley’s lecture entitled “Cover Down Yuh Bucket - The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados”, entertained an extremely diverse audience of martial artists, historians, film makers, academics and other interested persons, as he highlighted several historic facts surrounding this elusive art form, practised less and less on the island. Focusing on the plethora of similar stick fighting forms shared throughout the region, Mottley drew clear links to the art form’s ultimate roots in Africa, but also highlighted the very powerful European military influences, which shaped this combative style. Providing clear links to his knowledge over the years of stick fighters, most recently highlighting the skills of Sanitation worker Elvis Gill, Mr. Mottley asked why there was not a greater emphasis being placed on elevating these skilled warriors to a higher pedestal in the culture 27
of our nation. Dramatic, inspiring, comedic and ultimately severe, Mottley’s lecture, which was well supported by strong imagery shown on the projected screen, provided a taste of what Sticklicking means to Barbados. For the full meal, as Mottley pointed out time and time again, his latest book, of the same name as the lecture, will have to be purchased. Whether this book is a must have item or not still remains up to the taste of the interested individual, but one thing is certain, Mottley’s most insightful statements regarding Sticklicking came for free. Undoubtedly causing some offence, Mottley closed his presentation by highlighting the lack of support given to individuals like Elvis Gill of DBSS martial arts, who have worked tirelessly over the years to gain acceptance of this martial form. Speaking out against the Ministry of Sports, Youth Affairs and Culture and the National Cultural Foundation, whose CEO Ian Estwick was present, Elombe stated that Elvis Gill has been turned down countless times by these organizations, who refuse to provide support for his initiatives and the culture of Sticklicking. With a sad look on his face, Mr. Mottley noted that we have allowed organizations for archery, boxing, fencing and tae kwon do to become established, yet Sticklicking still cannot gain visibility and prominence. While firmly noting that he was not condemning these organizations, Mr. Mottley asked pointedly, “Do we have so much contempt for ourselves?” This question was however, as it has been for several years, left unanswered.
Salute to Sticklicking Ricky Jordan, The Nation Wednesday, May 24, 2006
ticklicking deserves a prominent place in the psyche of Barbadians. And just like every sport played in this country, it should have been recognized by organizations like the National Sports Council and Barbados Olympic Association which recognize disciplines like tae kwon do, karate, judo and fencing. This was the view of cultural activist Elombe Mottley as he delivered the public lecture titled Cover Down Yuh Bucket: The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados, to a full house at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, on Monday night. The presentation, held in Lecture Theatre 4 of the CLICO Centre for Teaching Excellence, was organized by the UWI’s Faculty of Humanities and Education Cultural Studies Programme. Mottley, a former director of culture with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), blasted the NSC for giving the form “the runaround”. He stressed that sticklicking remained an organized discipline managed mainly by the Sticklicking Martial Arts School founded in 1987 and headed by Elvis Gill. He pointed out that the overall concept of marketing Barbados must involve ordinary Barbadians and their achievements and sticklicking should be part of any such package. Noting the use of sticks by National Hero Bussa and his cohorts in the 1816 slave rebellion, Mottley said sticklicking had existed here, since this had never been officially documented. The cultural activist noted that stick-fighting in Barbados mainly came from West Africa, and highlighted reports of Barbadians being 29
renowned for their skills in other islands like Trinidad and British Guiana from the 19th Century and onward. Many Barbadian sticklickers became policemen in Trinidad, he added, while others were involved in street fighting, gangs and underworld activity. Barbadians, he stressed, had earned a reputation as “a martial people”, “aggressors”, and “bad johns” especially in Trinidad. Describing the unique Barbadian technique, which is a fusion of African and European styles, Mottley said certain body parts, including the head, shoulders, knuckles, legs, knees, shin, toes and groin, were targeted in stick fights. Sticklicking forms or techniques, which were European or African, varied from island to island. Mottley noted as he recited styles as garoti or koko makeku (Curacao), kalenda (Trinidad and Tobago), mani (Cuba), setu (Guyana), mousondi (Haiti), and mayolet (Guadeloupe). In a well researched presentation lasting about three hours, the author delved into the history of sticklicking in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries, using images, quotes, recordings of interviews with sticklickers, and calypso songs to emphasize his points. He also mentioned famous Bajan sticklickers like Aberdeen Jones, Joe Hoad and Ione Knight to name a few. Mottley’s book, Cover Down Yuh Bucket: The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados will be launched later this year.
Elombe and the Cultural Archives of Barbados Introduction to ‘Better Must Come’ Prof. Linden F. Lewis
he publication of the book Better Must Come has to be seen as part of a broader project of the brainchild of the author, Elombe Mottley. The book is conceived as part of his ongoing observations and reflections on life, social change and politics in Barbados, all of which is generally captured under the heading of Chronicles of 20th Century Barbados. Better Must Come is therefore one of a series of books planned by the author. To date he has already published Identities Volumes I & II. Other books planned in this series are De City, The Music Bubbles Volume I, II & III and Night Songs. Better Must Come will serve as a source of reference for all those contemplating the study of Barbadian society and culture in the future. The expression ‘better must come’, is one that is more commonly associated with the Jamaican vernacular, especially in relation to a promise for improved social and material conditions for the Jamaican downtrodden, made in the heyday of the late Prime Minister, Michael Manley’s socialist experimentation. One can only speculate that the author of this book is intending to convey the idea that a better understanding of things Barbadian is not only one day possible, but will bring in its wake an unraveling of the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the culture of Barbados. The author of this volume is a well-known Barbadian, political figure, cultural critic, former radio talk show host, former Director 31
of the National Cultural Foundation, columnist and general chronicler of all things Barbadian, Mr. Elombe Mottley. Elombe, as he is familiarly known, has been recording aspects of the Barbadian culture, writing about it, speaking about it, and immersing himself in the study of the landscape, history and politics of his native Barbados for the last five decades. This book then represents a good half-century of information, topics, controversies and social developments of Barbados. The volume is a collection of reflective essays, letters to the editorial pages of the local newspapers, rejoinders and newspaper columns by the author, and attempts to capture the moods of Barbadians as they engage in a familiar and well-developed tradition of public discourse on the island. The first essay is an autobiographical account of Elombeâ€™s emigration to Canada to study medicine. Having changed his mind about pursuing that profession, Elombe subsequently moved to the United States, where he studied accounting at New York University. It was however in the first migration that he began a life-long quest for what Barbados meant to him culturally. Elombe refused to believe that Barbados was without cultural significance, as some had suggested. Instead, he became obsessed with finding the sources of Barbadian cultural contributions, about which more would be discussed subsequently. His second migration from Canada to the United States brought him face-to-face with the harsh realities of Jim Crow segregation, but also put him in the path of the sweltering heat of the Civil Rights struggles, the Black Power Movement and the bounty of the New York jazz scene. This confluence of movements had a profound impact on the life of Elombe Mottley, which many years later manifested itself in his social and political activism, his cultural interests, and his devotion to all things Barbadian. The reader will find the beginning of the book a bit repetitious in terms of the presentation of letters and articles, but it should be noted that to read these contributions in the present moment, requires a different understanding of the period from the context of the time within which these pieces were originally written. In fact, the early articles were compiled from a specific period in the 1960s, and were often written in response to the particular challenges of 32
the day that called for the repetition of arguments and ideas to get a consistent message across to the Barbadian society. The reader must bear this point in mind, particularly since there is little or no attempt to explain the sequence of publication of much of what is contained in the volume. Instead, it is an attempt to remain true to the unfolding of events in the society at the time. In the absence of a developed discourse on the very sensitive and muted discourse on the issue of race in Barbados, Mottley had to use the editorial pages of the local newspapers to generate such a dialogue, in the process engaging the topics of social justice and the legacies of colonialism. Some of this public discourse was spirited and some of it became quite personal, but the publication of these letters in Better Must Come represents an important archive of the origin of a public discourse on race relations in Barbados, which had long been a taboo subject in the island. Race was also the source of much equivocation between middle and working class blacks on the one hand, and upper class and poor whites on the other. In a way, Elombe Mottley used the discourse on race to make another equally significant contribution in Barbados; this had to do with his advocacy on social justice issues. He mounted a spirited public campaign on behalf of the Barbadian public, and against the proposed rate increases recommended by the telephone company in Barbados. So passionate was his defense of the people that it brought him into conflict with his own father, Ernest Deighton Mottley, with whom he had stopped speaking for a while on account of their divergent views on the matter at hand. Mottley remained convinced that as a result of his agitation against the Barbados Telephone Company, that his phone service was terminated. What was significant in this regard however, was that the popular struggle he was waging to raise awareness had moved from an initial focus on race, and had entered a new dimension, namely that of a concerted challenge of the corporate power structure of Barbados. Mottley had therefore become a more formidable and dangerous critic. He was beginning to discern patterns of ownership among whites, to identify a system of interlocking directorates and the consolidation of family networks. He had raised some of these issues 33
earlier, at the popular level, on the political platform of his father. The more academic analysis of this phenomenon was to come later in the works of such people as George Belle1, Cecilia Karch2, Christine Barrow and Eddy Greene3. The more recent academic iteration of this contestation was seen in the economic enfranchisement movement, spearheaded by the historian Hilary Beckles, of which Mottley was also a key player. Taking on the rate increases proposed by the telephone company in Barbados brought Mottley more prominently into the public eye. It consolidated his public persona; it made his opening salutation at public meetings a memorable greeting many waited to hear on the occasion of each public address. “Brothers and Sisters,” he would say, then pause: “Peace and Love”. The crowd would roar its approval of this form of address, this call to attention. There was understandably, great personal sacrifice in this interrogation of corporate power. Doors of employment were systematically closed to him. He was unable to find a job because he had become an agitator, and a political irritant to the powers that be, both in government and in the corporate sector. The fact that Mottley was also seen as a Black Power advocate did not endear him to employers in the context of a country which at the time was not keen on a public airing of the relationship between race and economic power. The reader should not, however, misunderstand Mottley’s challenge to corporate power in Barbados. He was merely calling for some measure of equity and more democratic access to the economic pie. It may have appeared radical at the time, but though this might have come across to some as a challenge to the corporate status quo, it raised no question about the systemic and structural problems of capitalism in Barbados. Mottley never denounced capitalism; this was not his project. Indeed, he remained a firm believer in the economic philosophy of capitalism and the sanctity of private property. In other words his was a populist protest to the core, it was not a revolutionary challenge. His challenge to the corporate structure stopped short of a fundamental break with the existing system for whatever ideological or pragmatic reason he might have had at the time. Moreover, Mottley subsequently turned 34
his attention to the problems of black businesses in Barbados. His interest revolved around the rise and fall of black businesses, and the problems of succession and leadership in and among black business enterprises. Readers would find it interesting to learn that almost thirty years later Mottley remains convinced of the reason for the failure of some black businesses: “Black businesses fail for many reasons: lack of capital, lack of credit, bad management, over ambition, no provision for continuity, and psychological intimidation. As a result, many businesses die before their founders do. Very few pass on to a second generation.” (2003:56-57)4
Here again, Mottley’s concern was with the accursed share of black businesses, not with contesting the structure of capitalism. It is no surprise then that in 1988 he would become involved in the way the Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society was run, and the way it tended to disenfranchise the majority of its members. The Mutual was one of the largest such institutions in the Eastern Caribbean. Mottley joined forces with Hilary Beckles [an historian and current Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies], David Comissiong [a lawyer and political activist] and others to contest the board structure and policies of the Mutual. Mottley’s role in this struggle was pivotal, insofar as he was able to use the medium of his radio talk-show, Guttaperk, to popularize the opposition to the way the board worked to circumvent the input of the policyholders, and as Beckles later noted: “He [Elombe] provided the specific context for the harnessing of policyholders’ grievances around a path of action” (1989:85). 5 Many working class people who saw Mottley as providing a voice for some of their concerns, which might otherwise not be heard, embraced his protest. However, middle class blacks were a bit more reserved about their support with what they perceived as the radical, Black Nationalist, agenda of Elombe. His anecdote about holding a public meeting in Regency Park is both amusing and revealing at the same time. 35
“I remember once we went into Regency Park in Christ Church and set up the meeting next to Lionel Riley’s house. As soon as I started speaking around 9:00 o’clock, people started to turn off their lights until all we could see were streetlights. I said, I know wunna embarrassed to let anyone especially wunna neighbours think that wunna listening to me. Dah is all right. But I know wunna ent fall asleep yet, so wunna cud relax, get a drink and smoke a cigarette and listen to the gospel.” (p. 53-54).
He concluded that the black Barbadian middle class was scared of its shadow. Indeed, this was a typical black middle class response. Located in the volatility of the middle stratum, being constantly reminded of the slippery slope downward into the working class and away from the heights, terraces and parks which they currently occupy, the last thing this group of black Barbadians was prepared to do was to question the status quo ante. Rather than supporting, let alone joining the struggle that Mottley was engaging, they along with the white power structure, saw him as stirring up trouble at a time that they were quite content and satisfied with the way things were. An important contribution of this book, which is in part also a memoir, is that it provides great insight into the life and legacy of the author’s father, Ernest Deighton Mottley. Elombe Mottley clearly had great admiration for this father and for the contribution that the latter had made to the Barbadian society. E. D. Mottley, as he was familiarly known, was Mayor of Bridgetown under the old vestry system. He was popularly known as ‘The Father of the City’. In the author’s reflections what comes through are some insights into E.D. Mottley’s pioneering political and social work, his lobbying on behalf of the poor, and his insistence on social change, whether it occurred in the banking system or in terms of racial injustice. The issue of the affirmation of the free expression of blackness and the development of a black consciousness were never far away from the practice of the activism for Elombe Mottley. Indeed, the development of a black aesthetic was part and parcel of the political engagement from the beginning, starting from his involvement 36
in the Black Power movement, which swept the Caribbean in the late 60s and early 70s. This period saw Mottley trading in his cravats, conventional sports shirts, and shoes for his trademark, nicely groomed Afro hairstyle, colorful dashikis and sandals - the embodiment of a distinctive black aesthetic - which was his signature attire until well into the 1990s. In addition, he was also designing and selling the Afrojac, which was bought and worn by some of the major political figures of the day. An important part of the strategy of black affirmation in Barbados was the establishment of what Mottley called Black Night. Black Night, created in 1969, intended to provide a space for a different type of racial discourse in Barbados. It provided a forum for writers and was held every Sunday night at the Fishnet, a small restaurant and bar in the city. Black Night was a forum for the expression of a black aesthetic. It provided a space that served as an alternative to the dominance of Eurocentric values and norms in the Barbadian society. Black Night was part of that wider project of centering African culture and heritage in Barbados. These Sunday night sessions eventually metamorphosed into the establishment of Yoruba House and the Yoruba Foundation on Fontebelle, just on the outskirts of Bridgetown. According to Mottley, the establishment of Yoruba House was intended to integrate the various strands of advocacy, black affirmation and Black Night activity into one coherent organization. Better Must Come, provides readers with a wonderful and perhaps forgotten history of the contribution of the Yoruba Foundation, and more specifically of Yoruba Yard, to the social life of Barbados long before the contemporary outlets for cultural expression were put in place. The Yoruba Foundation was attempting to carry on Mottley’s interest in black businesses. It was yet another attempt to define the black experience in Barbados through the lens of culture. One of the most memorable events to be staged in Yoruba Yard was the enormously popular series of symposia entitled: ‘Dialogue: Is there a Future for Black Business?’ These symposia were as interesting as they were controversial. The symposia dared to raise the issue of the role that race played in the rise and fall of black business establishments 37
in Barbados. They were co-sponsored by the Yoruba Foundation and the Extra-Mural Department of the University of the West Indies. The program brought together academics, politicians, journalists and business people. One of the real benefits of a book such as Better Must Come is that it provides an archive of an event such as this one, that would be difficult to find anywhere else. Mottley demonstrates his sensitivity and commitment to things Barbadian, by retaining the record of this event, and now returning it to the public in this volume. He has a rich supply of reports and rejoinders from the newspapers that take the reader back to this extraordinary, national dialogue, which took place in 1979, and mapped out a place of significance for Yoruba Foundation, Yoruba Yard, and Elombe himself, as the visionary behind this project. There is another important side to Elombe Mottley, and this has to do with his interest in the development of the arts in Barbados. In this book, he details the origin and struggles of the Barbados National Theatre Workshop, and compares these challenges against the support received by the Green Room Players (a theatre group made up largely of white or near-white Barbadians and expatriates). Mottley once again raises the issue of race in this context. He makes a very serious observation about the difference in support for the arts by white and black Barbadian patrons, but also and more importantly, by white business interests. Mottley found the Green Room Players to be somewhat out of sync with the cultural interests of the majority of Barbadians. In this section of the book are also some classic pieces by the author on early efforts at art criticism in Barbados, which would be a treasure trove for students of the arts and in Barbados. In discussing the status of the arts in Barbados, Mottley raises some critical questions about the suitability of several of the locations in which plays were staged and makes the case for a dedicated theater hall. At this time when Barbadians have access to venues for the production of the arts such as the Frank Collymore Hall, the Errol Barrow Center for the Creative Imagination, Combermere Hall, the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium etc., it might be difficult for a younger generation to comprehend at least part of the struggle to have some 38
of these facilities put in place. Moreover, the publication of these early articles on the development of the arts in Barbados should ensure against national amnesia around such issues. In addition to the above, Mottley was also making the case for a national theater in Barbados, similar in orientation to that of Derek Walcott’s Basement Theater in Trinidad. Indeed, one gets a sense of the sign of the time of Mottley’s writing when a donation of $50 by the Barbados National Theater Workshop [BNTW] was actually published in the Daily News, in a sort of handing over ceremony with the President of the Barbados Arts Council, Sir William Douglas [former Chief Justice and Barbados Ambassador to Washington, D.C.], the President of the BNTW, Peter Robinson, and Elombe himself as Public Relations Officer in attendance. That such a small donation could rise to the level of a photo opportunity in one of the leading newspapers, speaks volumes. The point here is not so much about the size of the monetary contribution, but its value, symbolic or real at the time. In addition, it also gives the reader a real sense of how far the arts have grown in modern day Barbados. There are also some insights into Mottley himself in this book. For example, he takes on the highly respected man of letters in Barbados, the late Frank Collymore, whom he did not regard as deserving of the reputation he was customarily assigned in the arts in the eyes of some. In fact, Mottley described ‘Colly’ as the “blackest of the non-whites since non-white was so obvious a description that that world “black” could fill”. This section of the book also locates Mottley as fledgling film critic, commentator on entertainment issues and generally addressing all things cultural. This section on the development of the arts in Barbados ends with an interesting interview that Mottley conducts with the legendary Caribbean poet and playwright, Derek Walcott, who observed that Barbados, in his view, was rather insular and was still steeped in prejudice, and that the role of theater in an island should be one of tackling such problems. One of the more engaging parts of Better Must Come is the detailed account of a part of Mottley’s tenure as Director of Culture at the National Cultural Foundation [NCF]. During Mottley’s tenure in 39
office, the Caribbean region began to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Emancipation. As Director of Culture, Elombe Mottley wanted to celebrate this historic landmark in a special way, involving the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts [NIFCA]. The NCF wanted to pursue a 4-year program of NIFCA celebration leading up to this event. It would comprise the periods: Slavery, Resistance and Revolt, Emancipation, The Road to Independence and Freedom Street. This program was heavily criticized by a number of prominent people in Barbados as a form of brainwashing, not particularly relevant, too narrow in its focus, exclusionary and even racist. Critics included: Cameron Tudor (former Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister), columnist Lickmout Lou (Jeanette Layne-Clark), and Sir Carlisle Burton (former Head of the Civil Service). There were some supporters, namely Adonijah, a journalist, and Dick Walcott (a former Magistrate), who called for patience with the themes of the program and their unfolding, more so than actually supporting the idea of celebrating this landmark. One of the most cynical and racist reactions to the Emancipation program for the planned four years came from Richard Goddard (a businessman), who among other insulting remarks captured in this book, celebrated the fact that the government of Barbados was able to put down the 1816 rebellion, led by the slave, Bussa, thus saving the country from a plight he claimed that would have been similar to that of Haiti after the Revolution there which began in 1791. Goddard also sarcastically suggested that given the interest in building a monument to Bussa that the Director of Culture [Elombe Mottley] might be “planning a statute for ‘Dr. Rat’ (a criminal), complete with stolen handguns in either hand, blazing away at the Barbadian society, at the Belmont Round-about, to commemorate his exploits in 1972, when many Barbadians were living in fear of his banditry” . ‘Dr. Rat’ was an alias used by a Barbadian fugitive, who was shot and killed by the police. Other types of irrational responses came from Gordon Matthews (an evangelist cum political activist), who argued that to balance off the monument to Bussa, we should have a statute to William Wilberforce. One sober, rational voice in the public discourse that went on for several weeks was that of the late 40
Richard Allsopp, a reader at the University of the West Indies at the time. Allsopp was able to deconstruct a lot of the rhetoric to reveal the Eurocentric bias in the society, and the deep-seated hostility to things African in general, and to the proposed celebration of African emancipation, which he felt destined to destabilize the veneer of racial tranquility on the island. A lot of time has now passed, and it is quite possible that some authors captured in these pages may very well become embarrassed by their utterances in a different time and place. It is still possible also that such a program today could engender some hostility, but it is probably unlikely to have the same rancor that it had at the time that it was proposed. Perhaps among Elombe Mottleyâ€™s most crowning achievements are the establishment of the Bussa Awards, the initial impetus, which gave rise to the erecting of the Emancipation Statue, and the staging of the Emancipation lectures. The Bussa Awards were so named after the leader of the slave rebellion mentioned earlier in this introduction. These awards were established through Mottley and Yoruba Yard, and were intended to recognize the cultural contributions of Barbadians. With respect to the Emancipation statue, according to Mottley, he first approached the government of Barbados with the idea of erecting a statue in celebration of emancipation in Barbados, and to honor of Bussa. In 1985 the Emancipation statue, which is commonly referred to by Barbadians as the Bussa statue, was erected. The statue was created by sculptor Karl Broodhagen, and unveiled to mark the 150th anniversary of emancipation in the Caribbean. Mottley has maintained that even though he had first suggested this creation of this monument, the government of the day did not see it fit to invite him to the unveiling ceremony. The Emancipation lectures were established during the time that Mottley was Director of the National Cultural Foundation. After considerable negotiations between the National Cultural Foundation and the Department of History at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, a series of lectures was planned to honor the 150th anniversary of slavery in the Anglophone Caribbean. These lectures were delivered in 1984, and were well received by 41
the general public. The public presentation of these lectures, combined with the subsequent televised broadcasting of the events, stimulated considerable dialogue in the society. Mottley is widely regarded as a key player in the conceptualization, negotiations with the Department of History, organizing of the program and the publicizing of this lecture series. In 1986, the National Cultural Foundation and the Department of History subsequently jointly published these lectures. The book ends with Mottleyâ€™s response to his critics, a response that has never before been published, and is therefore usefully included in this collection of essays. In general, therefore, Better Must Come is an entertaining read; it is a popular effort at chronicling some of the more compelling political and cultural events of the day. I believe that Elombe Mottley, in bringing these articles and essays to light, has made a tremendous contribution to history and popular culture, and many people will view this book as an important guide to Barbadian culture in the future. The Caribbean in general and Barbados in particular, despite its illustrious scholarly achievements, is yet to develop an adequate intellectual infrastructure for archiving and documenting the quotidian dimensions of social and political life of the people of this region. Better Must Come, by Elombe Mottley, is an attempt to correct this situation with regard to Barbados, so that those who come after us might have a better sense of the legacies they inherit. Prof. Linden F. Lewis Department of Sociology Bucknell University Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Belle, George. “The Political Economy of Barbados, 1966-72”, MSc thesis, University of the West Indies, 1974.
Karch, Cecilia. “The role of the Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society During the International Sugar Crisis of the Late Nineteenth Century”, paper presented at the 12th Annual Conference of Caribbean Historians, 1980.
Barrow, Christine and Greene, J.E. Small Business in Barbados: A Case of Survival. Institute of Social and Economic Research (Eastern Caribbean), 1979.
Mottley, Elombe. Identities, Volume II. Fatpork Ten-Ten Production, 2003.
Beckles, Hilary. Corporate Power in Barbados-The Mutual Affair: Economic Injustice in a Political Democracy. Lighthouse Communications, 1989.
ELTON ELOMBE MOTTLEY NATIONALITY:
Married to Donna Marie Scott
1.0 EDUCATION 1970-71 1963-66 1962-63 1958-62 1947-58
Faculty of Law, Cave Hill, University of West Indies School of Commerce, New York University, NY, Graduated BS. Degree - Accounting & Finance Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, USA St. Johnâ€™s College, University of Manitoba, Canada Harrison College, Bridgetown, Barbados
2.0 WORK EXPERIENCE 2.1 Media 2004 2003 2003
Ronnie Hughes, Barbadian Historian: Interview Anchored two television programs on George Lamming: CBC-TV, Barbados and CPTC, Jamaica. Produced and hosted Curry Goat Dialogues on George Lamming for CBC-TV, Barbados 2000 JOINT HOST: Good Morning Jamaica, TVJ, Kingston, Jamaica. 1998 COMMENTATOR: CBC-TV/CMC Caribbean Television Broadcast of Pic-o-De-Crop Finals, Annual Crop Over Festival, Barbados. 1997-2000 COMMENTATOR: On several Caribbean Television Broadcasts for CBU/CMC. 1997-1998 JOINT HOST: Man and Woman Story, TVJ, Kingston, Jamaica 1997-2000 COLUMNIST: Identities - The Nation, a Daily newspaper, Bridgetown, Barbados. 1996 HOST: Tuesday Forum, JBC-TV, Kingston, Jamaica - a current affairs program. 1996 HOST: Morning Show, JBC-TV, Kingston, Jamaica - a morning television magazine program. 1994-1999 PRODUCER AND HOST: Straight, No Chaser, JBC FM Stereo,
Kingston, Jamaica - a 2-hour jazz program featuring the music, the people and the times. 1994-99 PRODUCER AND HOST: Marimba, JBC Stereo, Kingston, Jamaica - a 2- hour program featuring the music of the African Diaspora. 1993-94 PRODUCER AND JOINT HOST: Donna & Me, JBC-TV, Kingston, Jamaica - a talk show with emphasis on regional issues. 1992-93 CONCEPT DEVELOPER AND JOINT HOST: The Power Brokers, POWER 106 FM, Kingston, Jamaica - a daily morning news and information program with emphasis on local and regional business with audience interaction. 1992 COLUMNIST: “Crappeau Pipe”, Pulse, a weekly newspaper, Bridgetown, Barbados. 1990-92 MODERATOR: Getting Down to Brasstacks with Elombe, VOB 790, Bridgetown, Barbados - a daily call-in program where the public could express their views on the political economic and social affairs of the country. Performed the role of Ombudsman. 1991 WRITER, RESEARCHER, PRODUCER AND HOST: Duppy Dust, VOB 790, Bridgetown, Barbados - a program which examined the cultural linkages of African people through music, literature, traditions and culture in general. 1989-90 MODERATOR: Getting Down to Basics, VOB 790, Bridgetown, Barbados - a daily call-in program. 1988 HOST: Elombe in the Eddoes, CBC-TV, Bridgetown, Barbados - a program where personalities from the diplomatic corps, education, politics, etc. were interviewed and questions from the general public were received. 1988 COLUMNIST: “Crappeau Pipe”, Barbados Advocate, Bridgetown, Barbados. 1986-88 HOST: Guttaperk, CBC Radio, Bridgetown, Barbados - a daily call-in program. Created and developed this program in 1981. 1986-88 HOST AND PRODUCER: At the Standpipe, CBC Radio, Bridgetown, Barbados - a call-in program which focused on the cultural heritage of the Caribbean. 1981 HOST, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER: Black Heritage, CBC Radio, Bridgetown, Barbados - Portraits of Outstanding African-Caribbean and African-American people. 1981-82 DIRECTOR OF RADIO PRODUCTIONS: CBC, Bridgetown, Barbados - planned all radio productions including call-in 45
programs, documentaries, special features and overseas linkups. DIRECTOR OF NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS: CBC, Bridgetown, Barbados - Managed and developed news broadcasts for Radio and Television particularly regional coverage from French, Spanish and Dutch territories. HOST, WRITER, RESEARCHER: Jazz Junction, CBC Radio, Bridgetown, Barbados - a music program featuring Jazz from its origins to contemporary times including Caribbean expressions. FOUNDED YORUBA (Bdos) LTD - a company which was established to promote Barbadian culture; managed YORUBA PRESS and published ASHANTI BOOKS in the areas of Education, Law and Literature. Managed an art gallery, theatre, bookstore and performing groups. CONSULTANT: Communicarib, CADEC, Bridgetown, Barbados - Delivered a training program in Journalism for participants from the Region. CIRCULATION MANAGER: Barbados Daily News, Bridgetown, Barbados - Responsible for increasing circulation, through the establishment of appropriate marketing strategies.
2.2 Government 2001-04 CONSULTANT: CARIFORUM as part of a team evaluating project proposals. 2000 CONSULTANT: Department of Tourism, Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. 1999-00 CONSULTANT: Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, Kingston, Jamaica to develop plans for Festivals and Events. 1995-96 CHAIRMAN: Ministry of Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, Barbados, Consultation Committee to develop of 10 Year Cultural Development Plan. 1994-96 CONSULTANT: Ministry of Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, Barbados, on development of 10 Year Cultural Development Plan. 1993 CONSULTANT: Barbados Labour Party: Policy and Marketing strategies. 1984-86 DIRECTOR: National Cultural Foundation, Barbados Established the NCF; Managed a staff of 80; responsible for 46
the planning, promotion and successful implementation of the Annual Crop Over Festival; NIFCA; ESSO Festival of Dance, Classical Music, and Drama; the Barbados/Caribbean Jazz Festival; the International Guitar Festival; several other projects, programs and workshops - all aimed at promoting the culture of Barbados on a national level and ensuring the receptivity of the Barbadian public to arts, in general. DIRECTOR OF CULTURE: Ministry of Information and Culture, Barbados - Responsible for establishing Government policy on Culture, Women’s Affairs, Youth Affairs and Community Development. Adviser to Minister of Information on Information and Broadcasting policy. Produced the 1982 Crop Over Festival. CONSULTANT: Ministry of Education and Culture, Barbados - Planning and development of Crop Over and NIFCA Festivals. TEACHER: Girls’ Foundation School, Barbados - Taught Chemistry and Mathematics to 4th and 5th forms.
2.3 Private 2008- CHAIRMAN: Palms of Lower Estate Development Inc - a land and housing development company, Barbados 2006- CONSULTANT: Scotts Realty, a real estate company involved in Sales and development, Jamaica 2003- Member, Advisory Board of the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica. 2001 CONSULTANT: Caribbean Food Festival, Devon House, Kingston, Jamaica. 2000 CONSULTANT/DIRECTOR: West 104 Radio, Negril, Westmoreland, Jamaica, development plan for this radio station. 1999- CONSULTANT/DIRECTOR: Scott Realty, Real Estate Development Company, May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica. 1999- CONSULTANT/DIRECTOR: SpeedNet Communications Inc Internet suppliers, Kingston, Jamaica. 1996-98 CONSULTANT: GPD and GHz Group of Companies, Florida, USA, on Telecommunications and Culture in Caribbean, Barbados & Jamaica 1996-97 CONSULTANT: Slope Auto and Security Inc, Brooklyn, New York, on developing a presence in the Caribbean Labour Day Parade. 47
1995- 1994-95 1989-92 1985-86 1985- 1985-95
1979 1979 1977 1976-80 1975-79 1973-76
1972 1971 -75 1969-70 1968-69 1968-69 1963-65 1962 1962 1961-62 1960
MEMBER: Board of Directors, Scott, Bhoorasingh & Bonnick, Kingston and May Pen, Jamaica. CONSULTANT: Labcom International Ltd, Jamaica, a human resources development group. CONSULTANT: Speightstown Development Committee on restoration of Speightstown, Barbados. CONSULTANT: Art Collection Foundation of Barbados. PRESIDENT: Mardley Investments Ltd and FATPORK TENTEN PRODUCTIONS, Barbados. PRESIDENT: EDM Realty Ltd - a real estate company selling and developing commercial and residential property in Barbados. PRODUCER: National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts (NIFCA) RESOURCE CONSULTANT: Phelp Stokes Fund, USA MANAGER: YORUBA Yard: Theatre, art gallery, book shop, etc MANAGER: YORUBA Press and Publishing House, Pelican Village, Bridgetown PRESIDENT: YORUBA (B’dos) Ltd. CONSULTANT: USA Universities and Groups: Colgate University, Rutgers University, Peace Corps, Phelp-Stokes Fund on Caribbean programs, Barbados RESOURCE CONSULTANT: Communicarib Course, CADEC, Caribbean Conference of Churches, Barbados TEACHER: Modern High School, Barbados - Taught Commerce and Accounting to 4th & 5th forms, Barbados ASSISTANT MASTER: Girl’s Foundation School, Barbados MANAGER: De Opels - a singing group and band, Barbados LECTURER: Skinner’s Business College in Accounting, Barbados LIBRARY ASSISTANT: Brooklyn Public Library, NY MORTICIAN’S ASSISTANT: Davis Funeral Home, N.Y. RAILWAY PORTER: Canadian Pacific Railway MUSICIAN/SINGER: Various Canadian Night Clubs, Winnipeg, Canada ORDERLY: Winnipeg General Hospital
3.0 CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOPS ATTENDED 2002 2002 2002
1991 1990 1986 1986 1985 1981 1980 1979 1978 1975 1974 1973
Heads of Government Meeting, Nassau, Bahamas Slave Project, United Nations held in Barbados Chairman: Committee on Culture & Heritage, World Black Diaspora Conference, Sherbourne Conference Centre, Barbados COLLOQUE ON TOURISM AND CULTURE: Rencontres Caribeennes de la Culture et du Tourieme, Guadeloupe Antilles Francaises, Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, delivered paper on Gathering the Generations Caribbean Tourism Organization Annual Conference, Port-ofSpain, Trinidad and Tobago, delivered a paper on Culture and Sustainable Development ‘Caribbean Culture’, A Tribute to Prof Rex Nettleford, UWI, Mona, Jamaica. Jamaica National Heritage Trust, Management and Development of Jamaica’s Cultural Heritage Resources, Kingston, Jamaica. UWI Gathering of the Graduates, Mona, Jamaica - Delivered paper on “Culture as a Catalyst in National and Regional Development.” Ministers of Information Conference, Kingston, Jamaica Delivered paper on “Information and Culture.” International Conference of Ombudsmen, Bridgetown, Barbados. CARIMAC Evaluation Conference, Basse-Terre, St Kitts. Caribbean Jazz Festivals Conference, Trinidad. Caribbean Ministers of Culture Conference, Guyana. CARIFESTA, Bridgetown, Barbados. The Black Diaspora, UNESCO, Barbados. CARIFESTA, Havana, Cuba, Barbados Youth Council, Bridgetown, Barbados. Caribbean Cultural Experts, Bridgetown, Barbados. Theatre Information Exchange, Codrington College, Barbados Group Media Project, WACC, Kingstown, St Vincent. African Studies Association of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. Folk Arts in World Population Year, Institute of Folk Arts, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Conference on Folk Heritage, CADEC, Windsor Hotel, 49
Bridgetown, Barbados. West Indian Conference, Montreal, Canada. West Indian Student Conferences, USA.
4.0 MEMBERSHIP - ORGANISATIONS 1994- 1992-94 1991-94 1991-92 1989-92 1989-92 1988-92 1985-86 1983-89 1982-84 1980-86 1978-83 1978 1975 1974-80 1974-76 1971-73 1970-74 1969-71 1969-70 1969-70
1969-74 1968-74 1967-71 1967-68 50
Member, Barbados Museum & Historical Society Council of Barbados Museum & Historical Society Council of Barbados National Trust. Board of Directors, Agricultural Commodities Trading Company (ACTCO). Board of Directors, Barbados Agricultural Association (BAS), Barbados Board of Directors, Barbados Black Belly Sheep Association. Board of Directors, National Association of Pig Farmers, Barbados Advisory Committee on Curriculum Development, Ministry of Education, Barbados. Advisory Committee of Barbados Industrial Development Corporation Handicraft Division. Board of Directors, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, Barbados. Council of Barbados Museum & Historical Society. Board of Directors, Folk Institute of the Antilles, Trinidad. Co-Founder/Director - Southern Africa Liberation Committee, Barbados African Studies Association of the W.I., Jamaica - Member Founder/Chairman, YORUBA (Bâ€™dos) Ltd Coordinator, African Liberation Day Committees Board of Directors, Barbados National Co-operative Society YORUBA House Executive member/PRO, Barbados Labour Party Founder/Director, Black Night (Writers and Activists) Founder/Coordinator, Ad Hoc Committee Against Increases in Telephone Rates which lead to first ever challenge of a Public Utility rate increase in Caribbean Barbados Cricket Association Barbados Press Club Co-founder/Producer/PRO, Bâ€™dos National Theatre Workshop Coordinator/Founder, Ad Hoc Committee Against sale of
1967-69 1966-70 1966 1965-66 1964-66 1962-66 1960-61 1959-61 1959-60
Daily News to Barbados Advocate Executive Member/PRO, Barbados Arts Council Barbados Arts Council Coordinator/Founder, Ad Hoc Committee Against NYU Investment in South Africa, N.Y. President, West Indian Students Association of NYU Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), USA Vice President/Chairman, West Indian Students Associations of USA President West Indian, Students Association, University of Manitoba Executive Member, University of Manitoba Students Union, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada Executive Member, St. Johns College Student Council, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
5.0 PRODUCTIONS AND PRESENTATIONS 2006-13
Public Lectures: Cover Down Yuh Bucket: The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados, UWI, Cave Hill Shilling the Guitar Man, UWI, Cave Hill. Bajan Folk Music, UWI, Cave Hill Waiting for this Day: Cropover and the Emancipation of the Barbadian Mind, Emancipation Lecture, Frank Collymore Hall Landship - Mek it Live! - UWI, Cave Hill
Developed and produced: Crop Over Festivals National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Barbados/Caribbean Jazz Festivals International Guitar Festivals ESSO Festival of Caribbean Dance ESSO Festival of Drama (On stage and on television) ESSO European Classical Music Festival ESSO Play writing Competition YORUBA Calypso Festivals YORUBA Peopleâ€™s Bumbatuk YORUBA Peopleâ€™s Abereke
Also produced and presented several dramatic, dance, musical, poetry, 51
education, film, art exhibitions, festivals, lectures and training programs on stage, radio and television. In addition, produced several recordings and published several books by various authors on poetry, law and culture, some of which are outlined below. DRAMA:1979 Stage I: Mother Poem - YORUBA Yard Dem Two and Gabby - YORUBA Yard UWI: Ladies in Waiting - YORUBA Yard 1978 Writers Workshop - YORUBA Yard. 1974 All O’ We - Various Schools 1973 Dem Two - Various Schools 1968-69 Community Theatre: Various community centres and pastures 1968 B’dos National Theatre Workshop: Drama Moderne - Queen’s Park Theatre 1968 B’dos National Theatre Workshop: Henri Christophe - Queen’s Park Theatre 1967 B’dos National Theatre Workshop: A Raisin in The Sun Queen’s Park Theatre Derek Walcott’s Basement Theatre - St. Winifred’s School DANCE:1978 1977 1976 1974
Youthbridge, Conn. U.S.A. - YORUBA Yard, Finals of Nation Dance Competition - Globe Cinema Les Fleurs, Martinique - YORUBA Yard Los Enfants, Trinidad - YORUBA Yard Nation Dance Competition - YORUBA Yard Abereke, YORUBA People - YORUBA Yard Bumbatuk!, YORUBA People - YORUBA Yard Nigerian Cultural Troupe - Kensington Oval Nigerian Independence Celebration Presentation - Marine House Bajan Landship, YORUBA People - Mt. Benedict, Trinidad
Hallelujah Group International, Guyana - YORUBA Yard Gospel Music - YORUBA Yard Lord Melody in Concert - YORUBA Yard
1978 1977 1974 1973 1967-69
King JaJa Calypso Tents - YORUBA Yard Quiet Storm, with Gabby and Phillip Bannister - YORUBA Yard Courtyard Concerts - YORUBA Yard Olatunji in Concert - National Stadium Ras Boanerges and the Sons of Thunder from Jamaica YORUBA House, UWI, and various. schools Courtyard Concert - Barbados Museum Jazz and Poetry - The Beau Brummel, Number One
POETRY:1976 1975 1974 1969-70
Edward Kamau Brathwaite - YORUBA House Writers Workshop - YORUBA House Robin Dobru (Poet) and Bashu (Drummer), Surinam YORUBA House, various schools and community centres Bruce St. John - YORUBA House Black Night - The Fishnet
EDUCATIONAL: 1984-86 THE EMANCIPATION LECTURES: A series of lectures by the staff of the UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados, to mark the 150th Anniversary of Emancipation, Barbados 1979 Dialogue: “Is There a Future for Black Business?”: A Symposium in 11 parts - YORUBA Yard “African Music”: A lecture by Prof Kwabena Nketia of University of Ghana, YORUBA Yard, Barbados 1977 The Australian Aborigine - YORUBA Yard 1970-76 Lectures and Readings - YORUBA House & Yard John Oliver Killens Novelist, U.S.A. John Henrik Clarke, Historian, U.S.A. Richard B. Moore, historian, Barbados/U.S.A. Jan Carew, Novelist, Guyana Earl Augustus, Writer, Trinidad Ahmadu Jarr, Drummer, Sierra Leone Kole Omotoso, Writer, Nigeria Barbara Ann Teer, Actress, U.S.A. Ben Addae, Lawyer, Ghana Austin Tom Clarke, Novelist, Barbados /Canada Boscoe Holder, Artist & dancer, Trinidad 53
1975 1971 1969-74 1968 1966
Joseph Dube, ZANU, Zimbabwe Dr. E. Zapata, Artist, Columbia Fred Carty, Writer, Trinidad Prof. Sinclair Drake, UCLA, USA “The African Experience”, A symposium in 5 parts - YORUBA House Drama and Dance Classes at various schools Lectures and readings by various Barbadian artists at various schools Open House Weekly discussions on all aspects of Barbadian culture - YORUBA House Readings by Sam Selvon - Various schools Readings by George Lamming - Various Schools
Produced commercial on film for Cadbury (Nigeria) Ltd. of traditional African market ‘Black heritage’ film on Black Arts Festival in Nigeria YORUBA Yard Last Grave to Dimbazee and Soweto Riots - YORUBA Yard Short Swedish Films Award winners at Cannes Film Festival YORUBA Yard “Traditional Festivals in Nigeria” - YORUBA Yard Roots, Alex Haley’s film - YORUBA Yard “YORUBA People” dance for CBC TV.
ART EXHIBITIONS:2003 1979 1978 1977 1973 1970 76
Jamaican Artists at Queen’s Park Gallery, Bridgetown, Barbados. Permanent Exhibition of Bajan Artists at Bank of America, Barbados ‘Tribute to Ivan Payne’ - B’dos National Bank Phil Bannister - YORUBA House Dawn Scott, Jamaican Artist - YORUBA Yard ‘An Oshogbo Artist’ - Adeniji Adeyemi, Nigeria - Pelican Art Gallery Young YORUBA Artists’ - YORUBA House Exhibitions of various Artists: Roger Moore, Clifford Hobbs, Fielding Babb, et al - Bank of America
BUSSA AWARDS: Centre for Multi Racial Studies, Cave Hill, UWI. These were the first Awards in the Arts in Barbados. Miss Eagle Hall Contest: Roxy Cinema
FESTIVALS:1984-86 1984-86 1983-86 1983-86 1982-86 1979 1978
THE ROYAL BANK/BARBADOS CARIBBEAN JAZZ FESTIVAL, Barbados THE ESSO ARTS FESTIVAL, Barbados Festival of Caribbean Dance Festival of Euro-Classical Music Festival of Original Plays based on winning plays from the ESSO Inde- pendence Play writing Competition INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL, Barbados National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts (NIFCA), Barbados CROP OVER FESTIVAL, Barbados CROP OVER FESTIVAL, Barbados National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts (NIFCA), Barbados
RADIO AND TELEVISION:Elombe In De Eddoes: A early evening television discussion call-in program, CBC-TV, Barbados 1982 CARIFESTA IV: Total coverage of the Caribbean Festival of the Arts for two weeks on Radio Barbados, Barbados 1981-82 Black Heritage: A series on outstanding Africans in the old and new world, Radio Barbados, Barbados 1980-86 Jazz Junction: A Jazz program, Radio Barbados, Barbados 1979-1983 Night Ride: A three hour evening call-in program, Radio Barbados, Barbados 1979 Dialogue: Is There a Future for Black Business? - Radio Barbados and Rediffusion, Barbados 1977 Les Enfants with Ahmadu Jarr from Senegal - CBC-TV 1975 ‘African Heritage’: A series of lectures by John Henrik Clarke on origins of man in Africa thru the golden ages of Egypt and 1986
West Africa in 13 parts (30 mins each) - CBC TV Poetry is Fun, Bruce St. John (30 mins) - CBC TV ‘Bruce St. John at YORUBA House’ (30 mins) - Radio Barbados ‘African Music’, Professor Kwabena Nketia 2 parts 30 mins each - CBC TV ‘The Origin and Evil use of the Name Negro’ - Richard B, Moore’ 2 parts (30 mins each) - CBC TV ‘African History - John Henrick Clark’ 2 parts 30 mins each CBC TV Religion: The Basis of African Culture, Timothy Callender’ (30 mins.)-CBC TV ‘Ras Bournerges and Sons of Thunder’, (2 parts) 30 mins each CBC TV, Radio Barbados, Rediffusion Government Information Service, The Arts - CBC TV Barbados Arts Council Program weekly - Radio Barbados, Rediffusion
RECORDINGS:1970-75 Produced or contributed to recordings by: Blue Rhythm Combo El Verno del Congo The Draytons De Opels Lunar 7 Michael Thompson Flatbush PUBLISHING:2006 Author of the following: Night Songs – A Volume of Poetry Better Must Come – Essays of issues related to Race, Colour and Class in Barbados Cover Down Yuh Bucket: The Story of Sticklicking in Barbados Navel Strings – Stories from Griots in Barbados Crappeau Pipe and Other Stories – A collection of Essays The Music Bubbles – Music in Barbados Cultural Strategies for National Development All to be Published by Fatpork Ten-Ten Productions 2004 Author of the following: Identities Volume 1 - A collection of Newspaper columns 56
1979 1978 1977
Identities Volume 2 - A collection of Newspaper columns De City â€“ A volume of poetry dedicated to 375th Anniversary of Bridgetown, Chaudhary & Burgess, West Indian Laws on Contract Ashanti Books, YORUBA PRESS Bruce St. John, Joyce & Eros and Varia - Bantu Books, YORUBA PRESS Mottley and Broome People, Parties and Politics - Ashanti Books, YORUBA PRESS Timothy Callender, Religion the Basis of African Culture YORUBA PRESS John Henrik Clark, Black and White Alliances, YORUBA PRESS Kwabena Nketia, African Music, YORUBA PRESS
TRAINING PROGRAMS:BARBADOS NATIONAL THEATRE WORKSHOP 1971 DRAMA Daphne Joseph Hackett, Barbados Olwyn Bully, Dominica Dr. Ed Smith, New York State University, USA Modern High School 1971-73 DANCE El Verno del Congo, Barbados Sextus Charles, St. Lucia 1972-74 DRAMA Milton McCollin, Barbados Tony Thompson, Barbados 1972-74 MUSIC Shirley Yarborough, USA Barbados Festival Choir 1973-74 DRAMA Dr. Ed Smith, New York State University, USA YORUBA HOUSE 1973-74 DRAMA 1973-79 DANCE
Alwyn Bully, Dominica Robert Lee, St. Lucia Milton McCollin, Barbados Bodger Gittens, Barbados Boscoe Holder, Trinidad Sextus Charles, St. Lucia Alwyn Bully, Dominica Akwasiba Atigbi, Surinam & USA Adeniji Adeyemi, Nigeria, Mary Waithe, Barbados & USA 57
El Verno del Congo, Barbados Oshola Olaoye, Nigeria Son Son Bishop, Barbados Archie Bummer, Barbados Jim Sepyo, Barbados & USA Adeyemi, USA. Prof. Kwabena Nketia, Ghana
1974-79 PAINTING & SCULPTURE Omowale & Sundiata Stewart, Barbados Timothy Callender, Barbados Edmund Gill, Barbados Karl Broodhagen, Barbados 1975-79 CREATIVE WRITING: Timothy Callender, Barbados Lionel Hutchinson, Barbados Bruce St. John, Barbados 1975-79 HANDICRAFT Adeniji Adeyemi, Nigeria Glenn Ross, Trinidad Alade Springer, Barbados Michael Millington, Barbados Nancy Fergusson, Barbados Ayodele Mottley, Barbados
6.0 AWARDS 2011 2007 1996 1991 1991 58
THE CLEMENT PAYNE NATIONAL HERO AWARD 2011 BARBADOS MUSIC AWARDS Cornerstone Award PINELANDS CREATIVE WORKSHOP For his Vision to Use Our Great Cultural Resources BUSSA Award for Lifetime Contribution to African Heritage. CULTURAL PROMOTIONS Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Music. Award for the Most Outstanding Call-in Program. Award for Best Moderator.
1990 1989 1988 1985
MAN OF THE YEAR: The New Bajan Magazine MAN OF THE YEAR: The Nation Newspaper BARBADOS YOUTH COUNCIL Award for contribution to Youth Development. MEGOB Award Musicians and Entertainers Guild of Barbados.
7.0 RESOURCE CONSULTANT
Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (Radio and Television), Barbados The Nation, Barbados The Advocate News, Barbados Barbados Rediffusion Voice of Barbados YMCA, Barbados Barbados Conservation Association Ministry of Labour & Community Development, Barbados Harlem Children Workshop, USA Stanford University School of Music, USA Barbados Community College Barbados Dance Theatre Folk Institute of Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago Trents Northern Youth Group, Barbados De Peopleâ€™s Art Movement, Barbados COMCARC, Barbados Zimbabwe Patriotic Front Ministry of Education & Culture, Barbados Stage 1 Productions, Barbados UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados BBC, UK Barbados Museum Sing Out Barbados Rutgers University, USA National Geographic, USA Rontana Dance Movement, Barbados Barbados Hotel Association Barbados Government Information Service Phelp-Stokes Fund, USA UNESCO CBC, Canada 59
Codrington College, Barbados Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP), Barbados Advertising Agencies in Barbados Colgate University, USA Peace Corps, USA Theatre Information Exchange (Ken Corsbie) Youth Enquiry Series, Television programs, Barbados OAS Barbados Youth Council Barbados Defence Force Barbados Dance Theatre Tyrona Dance Movement, Barbados Ministry of Education and Culture, Jamaica CARIFORUM, Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Jamaica National Heritage Trust African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica Caribbean Conference of Churches & CADEC, Barbados
8.0 RESEARCH Barbados Landship Bajan Folk Music Bajan Dance Caribbean Music West African Music Jazz & Blues The Bajan Landscape Slave Revolts Barbados Cultural History Bajan Artifacts Bush Medicine Stick Fighting Cultural Forms Barbados & Caribbean Folklore Caribbean Festivals Calypso
Chronicles of 20th Century Barbados