Is carnival too vulgar?

By Glen Bart, MyVueNews Writer:

Basseterre, St. Kitts, 8th January, 2018 (MyVueNews.com) – The outcry and condemnation is growing in St. Kitts and Nevis following the just concluded carnival celebrations and what many consider to be some of the most vulgar and lewd behaviour of revellers during the New Year’s Day Carnival Parade and Last Lap on 2nd January 2018.

This condemnation has come from private individuals and even leaders of some major Troupes that were featured in the parade.

Never before, in the 46 years of carnival has there been such a backlash against was revellers.

Some critics have said that during this past carnival revellers stepped over the line of decency and what is accepted even in a very liberal carnival parade like what we have become accustomed to in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean.

The complaints have been expressed on talk shows and on social media. One hears the discussion taking place on the streets and in homes, and of course, pictures and videos are being shared on various platforms of social media.

In one such social media post, a writer asked, “Do we no longer have respect for ourselves, our country and our children, who are on the streets hoping to get a glimpse of our culture and what our true Carnival has to offer? I hope those in authority will act and right thinking citizens will speak out against these crude and lewd acts, which I can only call abomination.”

Ashley Allers

Ashley Allers is a well-known band (troupe) leader of the Fhunn Vybes Mas Camp, and while speaking with MyVueNews.com, he said it is up to individuals to respect themselves.

He believes that alcohol plays a significant part in the actions of revellers affecting their behaviour and judgement.

“You can’t serve alcohol and then tell them to behave themselves. You know what alcohol does to people. So you, as an individual must know how much you can drink. Yes, it is a concern to me, depending on how far the individual takes it. The gyrating and the wukking-up is one thing, but when it comes to the exposure of one’s private parts and certain kinds of behaviour, I really don’t support that,” Allers said.

The Fhunn Vybes leader believes people can have fun in many ways but should not resort to behaviour that should not be seen in public.

“Mas players must carry themselves in a way that is respectable to themselves and to the people who are looking on,” Allers stated, recognising that children are looking, but at the same time, he said, it is an adult parade, but certain behaviours cannot be accepted.

“It comes down to individuals respecting themselves. They have children. They have friends. They know if they behave in a particular way, and everybody is recording now, it’s going to be on social media,” Allers continued.

Allers band, which was this year titled Nature’s Fury, placed second in this year’s parade.

Allers also stated, “I hope that people will learn from their actions, because once you have done it, you cannot go back and undo it. And depending on how far you take it, and depending on how bad it looks, it can hurt you for the rest of your life.”

Stanley Franks, a former chairman of the National Carnival, objects strongly to the lewdness being portrayed as culture in the National Carnival Parade.

Responding to what he said he had seen, Franks said, “It was obnoxious. It is bad behaviour and not something we should encourage. I know that when you take some drinks in, you free up yourself as they say, but words are one thing and the deeds are another.”

Stanley Franks

Franks, who is is a former costume maker for many kings and queens of the bands, also stated, “Indecency is now becoming the order of the day. People don’t care.”

People have settled for a bikini and some feathers as costumes, Franks opined, saying that as a society, we are not accustomed to those values, and suggested that we should not be copying from Trinidad carnival, or anywhere else.

He noted, “But even in Trinidad carnival, they don’t go down to that level. Yes, sometimes they have loose clothing and so on, but the vulgarity is not in it… Our values are falling short.”

However, Franks is hoping that the Church would give its voice on the matter and that politicians, too, speak out against such behaviour.

He lamented, however, that the Church faces its own issues regarding moral standards.

“Even the values of the Church, and what the Church regards as immoral and indecent, we are now accepting as a normal way of life, and if the leadership of the Church does not come out and stand against it, then nobody will stand against it. Who will talk about it?” Franks asked.

Noah Mills

Noah Mills, the current chairman of the National Carnival Committee, commenting on a radio program on the discussion taking place, said, “I support there being an understanding, a blend, an equilibrium, because not only do we have children, we have persons with various religious backgrounds, who may consider this lewd, as well… and there are some persons who will simply think it is distasteful.”

In contending with the argument that a reveller will say he has paid money for an experience, Mills suggests that such can be countered with the fact that there are laws against indecent exposure.

But he cautioned against implementing strict codes of conduct on the way one can dance in the streets, and opts for dialogue among stakeholders of the National Carnival Parade.

 

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