A Letter To The Bahamas National Festival Commission
Firstly I want to thank the Board/Committee for lending me your time to read/listen to my opinion on this matter, I hope I do not offend all of you, but I am sure I will offend some of you, as I am offended by this proposition of a “Bahamian Carnival” because this enrages every fiber of my Bahamian being.
When I started in the music business back in the early eighties, being young and ignorant to nationalism, I never cared about defining an identity for our nation’s cultural expressions. It was not until the early nineties, did I find what I still think is my life’s purpose, to inspire our Bahamian people to a sense of self, a sense of Bahamian pride, a sense that we are as great and as talented as any other nation out there, through our natural abilities and artistic expressions, bar none.
Many have sacrificed their lives and livelihood to uplift this countries culture, all of the hard work done to instill national pride back into our people’s lives have been flushed away by the laziness and copycatness (if there ever was a word, it would be appropriate here), of a few, and only shows the weakness and lack of ideas by our nation’s leaders.
Other than The Goombay Summer Festival, Junkanoo In June Festival, and the Christmas and Boxing Day Junkanoo Parades, there is the most authentic of them all, The Cat Island Rake-N-Scrape Festival that offers a true Bahamian Cultural experience, (no disrespect to Crab Fest), but the Rake-N-Scrape Festival encompasses music, dance, literature, clothing wear, food, drink refreshments (leaded and unleaded), and a lifestyle, it is the only form of musical expression I know of other than Rock-N-Roll, Reggae or Rap, that offers so much to bank on and offers sure money making avenues, if only we would truly invest in it.
We also have the people’s festival, the Junkanoo Festival that we have not even scratch the surface on, or invested in by any substantial means. There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from other jurisdictions, studying the successes of their festivals, (I am sure it has already been done), but not at the expense of further diluting and watering down of our Bahamian Culture, and kicking our people further down the ladder’s rung of not knowing and feeling positive about themselves, (which I think is a main reason for the escalation in crime and for the moral decay in our country).
So you want another Festival, we have them already, take your pick, why bring in another foreign cultural experience into out midst and ask us to finance and support it, when we don’t even fully support our own homegrown festivals.
I recommend a National Rake-N-Scrape Festival bring all the family island participants into New Providence to compete, make it a major national event, a week or more of festive events. It will breed entrepreneurs to produce original Bahamian made clothing lines, Bahamian food delicacies, Bahamian arts & crafts and wood works, new and old musicians will come to the fore to produce original Bahamian music. It will also bring forth young talented musicians, story tellers, actors, comedians, writers, dancers, competitions in music, straw works, etc., grand concerts throughout the festival, that could be from a week to two weeks.
It will bring a sense of pride to the people, it will bring the nation together and most importantly, it will be Ours, “Our Tings”, the world will come to see “Our Tings”, and “Our Tings” will go out to the world. It’s the people’s monies and it should be invested in the people’s cultural expressions, not a foreign one, we can’t be that stupid ay?
There is so much more to say, but I will end on this note, I guess it is easier to jump on someone else’s bandwagon, instead of starting ya own tings, don’t let laziness cost us, people our kids are watching, once again, thank you for your time on this matter, I hope you all stand up for right, Bahamian Culture Forever!
Kirkland H. Bodieculture, festivals