Trinidad Carnival: Afri-Caribbean Resistance
Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2003
February 23, 2003
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by Corey Gilkes
Carnival is colour, no doubt about that. Carnival is revelry, gay abandon a period when sexual inhibitions are lowered, all this is true. The "Mas" has also become very much a world festival: a period where the creative genius of people no matter what ethnic background, can be showcased for the entire world to admire, but Carnival as a forum for resistance to oppression? Many people familiar with the Carnival celebrations of Trinidad, Cuba, Brazil, New Orleans, Labour Day celebrations in the US and other places know about a wild, colourful, celebration just prior to Ash Wednesday. What is not so well known is that this colourful festival also served as a medium for resistance to white domination, particularly when one considers that the ways in which the British imposed their authority and "superiority" was [sometimes] much more sophisticated and subtle than the blatant thuggery that characterised North American racism. What is even more obscure is the actual origin of this festival.
I wish to highlight the history of the African in this part of the Caribbean and their passive [and sometimes active] struggles by highlighting the festival and the musical tradition Trinidad is most famous for – Carnival and calypso, since the history of our struggle is incomplete without an inclusion of these two traditions. Continue...
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