First I give credit to toriweldon for this photograph.
As we approach Carnival climax ,which synchronizes with International Womens’ Day and Siv Ratri ,it was really pleasant to witness a Nation give respect and honour to a contributor to a National Art form that itself still struggles for full and unreserved support and recognition from our society, particularly the ” sanctimonious and holier than thou” sector of our community.
From the arrival of our enslaved and captured Ancestors who made the Atlantic trip the ” ruling class ” redefined what was ” good ” and “acceptable “. Trinbagonians from that time have been struggling to define our morals and ethics and the principles that guide our new found home – the Caribbean.
The unplanned and selfish motives that brought the population of the Caribbean together have us still engaging each others perspectives and outlook on life to arrive at a National ethos and outlook. This struggle and engagement have often left out the opinions and thoughts and contributions of many of the contributors to the emerging cultural milieu , and these include the First Nation Peoples , Africans and women and children more than any other sectors of this National community.
That today we are attempting to pay respect and give some sort of recognition to several sectors of our society that were relegated to second class citizenship is a step in the correct direction. I must say that I am truly pleased to witness these efforts taking place in this moment of history.
Calypso Rose born McArtha Lewis, must have faced many challenges in coming to recognition both as female and as a person of African descent with the typicall African beauty that many Trinbagonians were ashamed of until the 1970 ” Black Power Uprising “, where affirmation of African identity became a positive outcome of that social upheaval revolution. Even where there is legislative recognition of Spiritual Baptist and African Traditional spirituality our society still reels under the bias of Judeao / christian / Asiatic/ Arab / Islamic world views. This dominance of these views in our society still define African spirituality as ” juju ” ” obeah” , ” necromancy” all defined from a negative ” western ” perspective. I thank TUCO, NCC , and the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism for this initiative.
Calypso Rose represents a diminishing category of calypsonian – those who write and compose their own lyrics and perform it themselves.Calypso Rose is reputed to have written close to 900 calypsoes. In this journey she won the Calypso Queen title five times and was instrumental through her winning of the Carnival King title have the title changed from Calypso King to Calypso Monarch. Calypso was the first woman to win the Trinidad Road March Competition in 1977 . In year 2000 she was recognised with the Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal.
It is hoped that through this short tribute presented here that others will take the opportunity to give Calypso Rose her tribute and accolades via this on any other appropriate media. May the legacy live on.