RASTA TIMES - Trinidad Carnival: Afri-Caribbean Resistance
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Trinidad Carnival: Afri-Caribbean Resistance
Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2003

February 23, 2003
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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