Wednesday, April 24, 2024

AWRIGHT DEN!: In the black

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I love being me. I love that I am Bajan; I love that I am Caribbean; I love that I am 100 per cent male; I love that I am the husband of one wife; I love that I am a father; I love that I am a Christian; and I love that I am black.
In February, Black History Month was observed. It was an opportunity for us as black people to reminisce on our challenging past, discuss and analyze our present, and share our hopes and aspirations for our optimistic future as a race.
On Saturday, February 26, while on my way to teach mathematics lessons, I was tuned into my favourite radio station BBC Caribbean on 92.1 fm when an interesting interview of Vybz Kartel by Karen Madden-James was being aired.
In the introduction, Ms Madden-James said Kartel had admitted he did bleach his skin, but would take no responsibility for the increase in number of young people using harmful chemicals for a lighter skin. She went on to say it was blue soap, also known as cake soap, which he uses to wash his face, that had resulted in his lighter skin.
According to Kartel, he is not a role model and does what he does to grab attention, and young people should look else where for social guidance.
During the interview, Vybz Kartel said: “I never signed on as a social leader or a religious one. Vybz Kartel is an entertainer. In entertainment it comes with the unexpected, it comes with the outrageous and Vybz Kartel has always been doing the outrageous.
“If somebody else is doing it to raise their own self-esteem, well I guess they have already lost the battle. If the country is in a state where the masses have to look to a Vybz Kartel or a Movado for a social guidance and not just for entertainment, well that says a lot about the society and a lot about the governing body.”
“This is my new image,” Kartel said in another interview in Jamaica.
“You can expect the unexpected. I feel comfortable with black people lightening their skin. They want a different look. It’s tantamount to white people getting a sun tan.”
In an article published on June 11, 2007, by BBC Caribbean, it stated that as recently as 2007 authorities in Jamaica had carried out a public awareness campaign warning of the dangers of skin bleaching. Doctors in Jamaica had reported that apart from the more traditional skin lightening creams, some Jamaicans use toothpaste, curry powder, milk powder, household bleach and cornmeal to lighten their skin.
Vybz Kartel is an entertainer, and an adult, and, whether he accepts it or not, he is also an influential “role model”. Though many may see this as a phase, my greatest concern is that young people in Barbados and the wider Caribbean will, if they haven’t already, do anything possible to bleach their beautiful black skin.
It seems to me that Kartel no longer wants to be associated with being a black man. He gives the impression that “light” is superior or better. I want to let Mr Kartel know the world would be a miserable place without the presence and contribution of the black man.
Below I have listed some of the numerous inventions of black people that have changed the way we live. Because of space I will not mention their names, but the list that contains their names and dates of inventions may be found at http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/history.html.
Between 1721 and 1988, a black man either invented, developed or received a patent for a cure for the smallpox virus, the air conditioning unit, horse reins, a fire extinguisher, fire escape ladder, dough kneader and roller, ironing table, a scaffold design, joiners’ clamp, biscuit cutter, rotary design engine, eggbeater, folding bed, the predecessor of the sofabed, folding chair, a riding saddle, fountain pen, lawn mower grass catcher, refrigerator design, clothes dryer, curtain rod, the mop, dust pan, door stop, door knob.
To me it seems like all the black man inventions made general day-to-day life simpler. You should also note that black people also invented, break-dancing, soca, calypso, spouge, ska, reggae, dancehall, dub, jazz, blues and rap.
I leave you to ponder on an excerpt from Black Is Bad? by poet DJ Simmons.
See because in pool the black ball is most superior,
And in martial arts a black belt shows the pinnacle of power,
Also a black tuxedo is only worn to the most elegant event,
And when a man is in the black he no is longer in debt.

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