Happy Thanksgiving (Yankee/Trini dilema)

December 8th. 2013

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 8. I stumbled into the house at 11:51pm. For those who have been following I have been writing an article a day and am trying to post this one before midnight (December 8).

Oh yes I know the title is Thanksgiving and by this date I missed thanksgiving (the Yankee one). I am two weeks late. My mom and my great-aunt celebrate it in Trinidad, no no turkey and eggnog, but level bursted shirt (buss-up shut) curry mango, pelau, fry rice, boil corn with pig tail, and yes lots of family. And yea I am two weeks early for Christmas but what the hell, oh no did I say hell (lol).

So hear why I so late for posting my article. I left my house at 4pm Trini time, (that mean 4:36) to go to a meeting and end up in a thanksgiving. My Trinis know what that mean – nuff hand clapping, duption, breaking of bread and rejoicing, a cocoyea broom here , a preacher there, some, in fact much quoting of scriptures etc. Mind you not even this Thanksgiving (Trini) was normal, A former Government Minister and a media man speaking (but that’s a different story)

Sooo, my friend Tanya Forbes , picks me up from the “thanksgiving” and we “pump” by my pardner “Smokey” Kevin Bramble . We then go by Jojo Kinsale and pick up a case of Stag, no, not Deers, but Beers. Now any Trini know if you went a “thanksgiving” you cyar be having Beers after, but it gets better.

We then went to a Parang Lime, by the River Lime (Bar). Now a parang Lime by the River Lime is another set a bacchanal. Parang lime means, ole rum, French creole/Spanish, coffee, a box bass and a quarto (maybe somewhere up in Lopinot or Paramin) . River Lime, means Curry Duck, tassa, roast Pepper and running water (Usually up Caura or Valencia). Trust me, all were present in the lime, a true Trini callaloo, (oh yes, I eh eat for the day). The parangderos even sing “rum till I die”, which is a Chutney. Parang, my friends is not Chutney.

Time check 12:05 and a case of stag later, and my December 8 article is late, at least it rhymes.

The moral of the story is, only in Trinidad can you leave home to go a meeting, end up in a thanksgiving, get inveigled by a friend to go and drink Stag (beers), in a parang lime, by the River Lime, and the parangderos sing chutney. Oh yes, I forget, they was selling Jerk Pork (Jamaican). Brian Lara and Dwight York drove by and Baby Killer now Mr Killer’s (a Grenadian Soca Star) song “Rolly Polly” mash up the dance. Literally and figuratively.

I come out to live my life, another day approaching 40. Did I mention that an iguana dropped on my mother’s head and that could mean somebody in the family pregnant. (A lizard usually means pregnant, but an iguana, welllllllll).

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I see gay People

December 7th – 2013

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 7. I see Gay people. Yea, upraise your eyebrows, deal with it (I am going there).

I think I know gay people, and I think I have gay friends. The thing I have come to realise is that I am not sure. Do you know gay people or have gay friends? These days when people ask if someone is gay (homosexual/male) my answer is “Well I have not had him or he me, so I don’t know”

You see the things is I have lots of friends who I think are gay but I don’t know that they are. As a matter of FACT, I have one gay friend, by this I mean a man who is openly gay, has told me so and we have had open conversations on the matter. The rest are gay by association. And this is my sore point about the issue of homosexuality.

Straight people by now wondering what the arse going on with me, and my “gay” friends, waiting for me to say something that will make them judge me for judging them. In my mind I have not judged them, and that is my truth. What I may be guilty of to some extent is stereotyping. Yea you know “the gaydar”

My reality  is that they (my suspected gay friends) have not come straight with me and as such I am left to my ass-umptions (lol). Do we judge straight people, I know I do, if I see a chick and she looks nice I say in my mind what are the things that make her appealing. I am not homosexual, but if I say a person who I think is homosexual, I say in my mind what I believe makes me think that he or she is homosexual. Deal with it people, we stereotype people.

Now I am not asking all my “gay” friends to come out and tell me they are gay. Heterosexual people don’t have to come out and say they are. Fact is though we are raised in a “straight” world…generally. This being the “norm” leaves some need for clarification. I would like to say that at the age of approaching 40, if you gay “is a cool scene”.

A long time ago when I did realise that my gay friend was gay I did not take it well. “This man used to hug me up, we used to lime like brothers, huddle” I felt betrayed. This WAS my truth. Strange though, at that same time I was in tight with this man, I had a woman friend who I then thought was gay. She used to kiss me on the mouth every time she saw me, and I keep saying to myself “she have no respect for this your virile robust Mandingo”. She did it with such comfort that I realised quickly, I was clearly not a threat nor a treat to her. Yea, for me Man-gay and Woman-gay different. But that was then and this is now.

Now I have one simple rule, God gave me one square metre or personal space and that’s all I need, and yes men or women, gay or straight, just need to give me that. I see gay people, straight people, at this age I just see people.

Nelson Mandela is dead – He Belongs to the Ages

December 6th – 2013

“Space: the final frontier.These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 6.Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel. I know what allyu thinking “Mary boy child…” Nah I want to change that, no disrespect to the Christ-ians but long time ago it will be said there lived a man called Nelson Mandela. Yea I have a His-Story degree and I writing my own thing.

Christopher Columbus believed he would reach the east if he sailed west. It is rumoured he was looking for a short cut for India and that my friends was the beginning and for some the end of Africa. The world then was a very big place (social media would have us believe it is smaller now HA HA). It took months to get from one place to another. So imagine how hard it was to be popular, worst yet be part of or lead a global movement.

They had some ole fellas around these parts, one Williams, one Adams, and one Manley, who together tried to come together and all that remained when they separate was an equation, a math equation that some of us are familiar with (one from ten leaves nought). They were right here and could not make one.

In the era following at least in Trinidad, from what I know there existed a spirit that linked us the world, but to Africa in particular and to things African. Case in point the 70’s. Even before and after that the Pan African movement, which we own be it CLR, Henry Sylvester Williams here and in Europe, or Over in America Kwame Ture/Stolkey Carmichael. Serious academic men of Global proportions.

Culturally Valentino’s ‘Stay Up Zimbabwe”, and Merchant’s “Um Ba Ya Ya O” these are songs that tell of a consciousness of our brothers and sisters far away but close to our hearts. These things were not nurtured on the internet, via fb or twitter. We casually read text messages and posts, but like the word itself, read (fb posts of Mandela’s passing) is not necessarily read (Long Walk to Freedom).

Then there was this man Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson aka Chief Olokun Igbaro (not me the Ooni of Ife call him that). This man make me, a secondary school student go to deluxe Cinema to see “Cry freedom” the Steve Bico Story (me a black CIC boy, from Cunupia, trying to find my place in the world). You all know I never went ZEN, for those who don’t know, it was deluxe cinema.

Flip the script a bit. Imagine these men in the non social media, non Bill Gates, non Steve Jobs era commanding by their presence and existence in the global diaspora (and I eh even mention Garvey) and here in Trinidad, not now but in the relatively modern era of pc’s and pagers people having “golliwog nights” and you cyar even get 50 brothers together to protest.

Today, yes today, Minister of Foreign Affairs getting “rupes up” by Minister of National Security about 13 “illegal immigrants” (Jamaican) and we cyar make a proper statement about Haiti, but everybody on fb know who the Jamaicans were and why they get rejected. Maybe Stalin said it best “Rastafarian cult growing and Carifta dying slow, is something dem Rasta’s on that dem politicians don’t know.”

Nelson Mandela stands tall for me, a man who achieved his Mission, I know this, I trust that much of my generation knows this. I fear that in the world of fb and twitter, in this shrunken world, generations after me (those here) and generations to come will not even know the essence of the man, like many of them who do not know of some of those whom I have mentioned above. They will say “Long time ago there lived a man called Nelson Mandela.”

The Oppressor can be overcome… without violence. This is the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Obeah

December 5th – 2013

“Space: the final frontier.These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 5. I believe in Obeah, yes I said it I – believe – in -Obeah. There was an old man named Fitz Baptiste who lectured me in UWI and introduced me to the concept of African Sacred Science, aka Obeah, fondly known to some as Orisha.

I have provided vocals on an Ella Andall CD, I have time and time again danced to the Drums on Emancipation Day. I did a play called “Shango Tales of the Orisha” in Trinidad, Jamaica and Cuba. I met Mother Rodney and she lay her hands on me. I have been to many Orisha yards, Oshun festival etc.

So now that your mind is at the crossroads (this in itself being a mythical/real place in Orisha ideology) wondering how much blood sacrifice I have done to get what from who and how,  permit me to ask a question. What is Obeah?

Obeah is Clorox, Breeze, Mokoto, a brand that has become mixed with a product. You see Clorox is really a bleach, but not all bleach is Clorox. Breeze is a laundry detergent, but not all Laundry detergent is Breeze. Mokoto is a brand of cockset, but not all cockset is Mokoto. Try telling that to some people and you will sure have a battle on your hands. Obeah it seems is the poster boy for evildoing. The African brand is the universal and household name for necromancy and all other things bad in Trinidad.

So thanks to our colonial masters and some ancient laws/statutes, African Sacred Science ALONE is Obeah. For me Obeah is/are some of the things handed to me by my ancestors which I choose to associate with. Those things that African man in Diaspora have generally been stripped of but which continue to exist thanks to the Griot, The Rada, The Calypsonian, the Stick man, Carnival (yes carnival), and so on and so on. Yes there is an undeniable religious element, but is religion not one of those things that inform’s man’s reality in a community. Can Obeah be divorced from everything else African that we enjoy.

Sooooo, if my grandmother say “when you come in here after midnight, walk in backwards” is that Obeah? To me that is my Obeah. Even if in reflection it was just a mechanism to make sure nobody eh follow you home or coming to thief, of if she genuinely believed that spirits could follow you inside. I am not going to use anyone else’s religion to support my Obeah, but what I will say is much of what exists as African “Obeah” in the minds of many, exists as part of religious practice in ALL religions. Yes I said ALLLLLLLLLLL.

Yessssssssssssss I say I believe in Obeah, my Obeah, and it works for me just as other people Obeah does work for them. Or did you not buy Maljo beads for your child?

Take a listen to some obeah music… Super Blue – Soca Baptist – Video taken from you Tube

Matriarchs

Originally posted December 2nd. (2013)

“Space: the final frontier.These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 2…I have encountered some women in my time here. Boy if I tell you some stories, but I am not one to kiss and tell.

Audrey Fortune (school Head Mistress)..aka “the Daily Missal” a strong catholic woman she was my paternal grandmother who would write “the word” daily on the wall at the front of our house. Spanish mix with a handwriting like calligraphy. Alvin Fortune

Unizer Abraham (maternal grandmother, she would be 91)…aka “MAMA” well she is the embodiment of the Caribbean woman, a mix up African trailblazer woman who pave the way for generations to come.  Grenadian. Cam Vincent

Barbie Boomer aka “mammy” she hitting 70 on Jan 2 (2014). She is the queen of the timely intervention. (I celebrated her on my 40th birthday) Duff Abraham

MOM – Aka Lycia Dillon, the Tobago in my Trinidad and Tobago.  Advisor, teacher, comforter, life skills coach and feeder.  Mom would have you standing in the yard as she hosed you down on J’ouvert morning. Leslie-Ann Dillon

Beulah Abraham (Teacher/Dean/Mathematician) she guided me through secondary school (the formative years). Marley Brooklyn

Margaret Abraham…aka “the Warrior Princess” sometimes you need a cue of when to fight (for things you value in life), you could trust Auntie Margaret for the signal.  Ashteen Belford

Alicia Abraham aka “School gate Sister” you know them uncomfortable moments, when your sister is “a girl.”.. “by the school gate”…yea as man you need them lessons.

Lessons from these woman have taught me to deal with daughters and sisters and girlfriends. About respect and “tracking” and what is acceptable and not acceptable… I look around and the lessons from dem women still with me. Dem women still with me too, on my shoulder, behind, in front, in my mind. Wish I could bottle and sell them lessons to save us from some of what I see in today’s society.

I am glad they came along, to dedicate this song…..

Andre Tanker Morena Osha.  Video taken from you Tube

Osmosis Mammy…osmosis

Dec 1st 2013.

“Space: the final frontier.These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise” Star Date Dec 1…so begins my countdown to 40. Mark Jiminez aka Klanny, recently ‘renegade”. Had the pleasure of working with this man on the play “I Marcus Garvey”. David Rudder was there too and my ole school pal Michael Cherrie. He (Klanny) is a man of my generation and a man I admire. A man for and from Morvant. Have you heard “flood on the main road”…have you experienced the”naked walk”. When in this song Klanny says “Ah Wanna Fall” and invokes (for me) the power of the Spoiler and ole ole time Kaiso do you hear it. I am thankful to be approaching 40 and for the experiences that life has “thought” me via creative Brothers (Ataklan,Taye (Dennis Allen), Rubadiri Victor , Ozy Merrique just to name a few “grass roots” and “galvanize” brothers). If you never heard this one take a listen, if you have then take a walk with me to Christmas past.

Listen for the “osmosis” in the end.  Thanks for the music Ataklan. For your listening pleasure, Christmas Stagger .  Video taken from you Tube.

This is the beginning of my blog.  Special thanks to Adanna Austin who makes me feel I can write and Caroline Ravello, who makes me feel I have “writes”.

I will be reposting old stuff until I run out of them, and then…