a sort of dougla. Not fair, but not dark. She was kind of busty. I would
describe her as thick and big-bottomed. The fat girl was cursing...”
teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser
man because of his colour or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when
you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job
or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow
citizens but as enemies—to be met not with co-operation but with conquest,
to be subjugated and mastered.”
Robert F Kennedy 1968
incident, in which soca star Machel Montano and his entourage allegedly
assaulted fans in a nightclub, landing one man in hospital, was not
statement at his “media conference” that he was the only “real” celebrity in
this country, and one who mingled with the masses at that, and who was
trying to “celebrate privately” in a public space in a nightclub would have
been hilarious if it didn’t leave you feeling so defeated, as if to ask
another king? (How much royalty can a tiny country handle? There are just
not enough subjects to cheer.)
I heard and
read his full statement. He was so emptied out of a true identity as a West
Indian, so filled with trashy American ideas of celebrity, so judgmental in
his descriptions (fat, big-bottomed) so ungrammatical, I didn’t know whether
to laugh or gag.
Montano is a soca star, a man with a quivering groin of exceptional talent,
able to whip thousands into frenzy with two “yeahs” followed by two-word
tunes. Hell, it works...the smoky stage, the yelling... It’s entertaining.
undeniably successful. One of the few performers who has “made it” in our
baby entertainment industry. He must have discipline, a decent work ethic
and the ability to collaborate. I understand he encourages his employees to
save and invest their money instead of blowing it. But does the man know how
ridiculous it is to crown himself? One night in Madison Square Garden
doesn’t make you a celebrity.
is a celebrity because the whole world—Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand,
Africa—knows who he is. He plays in the international arena, has broken
world records, and uses his celebrity to give back to disabled children and
for explaining where I’m from when I’m abroad I say “Brian Lara.” He shines
a torch on this country.
laureates Sir Vidia Naipaul and Derek Walcott are celebrities. Celebrated
for being arguably the finest living writers and poets in English today.
Studied by thousands of graduate students worldwide.
He’s calypso. Jean and Dinah in a jukebox in Texas—that’s celebrity.
who believes Trinidadians are too stupid to recognise a celebrity (him),
bothers to read some more he will see that the celebrities he apes, the Mel
Gibson type who swear at people, or the ones who throw cellphones like Naomi
Campbell either end up grovelling prostate to the people they’ve offended
(Gibson) or mopping floors in community service (Campbell).
words echo from a time and world away.
we honour swagger and bluster and the wielders of force. We learn, at the
last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but
not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common
effort. We learn to share only a common fear—only a common desire to retreat
from each other—only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For
all this there are no final answers.”