Carnival is an important part of our society and I for one LOVE the Celebration- I find it quite liberating – what concerns me is when organizers of carnival attempts to transform the celebration and carnival becomes corrupt in its meaning. We Dominicans need to think long and hard as to what we tolerate as a people.
Listen, I recognize that everyone is free to express themselves, creating the opportunity for perspectives to freely roam. The organizers of this band was I’d assume trying to make light of a heavy situation in Dominica, and they thought it be creative with the Acronym RUM- meaning Ruthless and Undefeated by Maria. On one hand, some are not bothered by it; on the other hand, other people are somewhat offended and others are disgusted by it and rightly so.
As an organizer of any event, it’s really important to listen to the people. The key characteristic is empathy. We are increasingly encountering shocked reactions by the people at the theme, the section names, at the flagrant display of fleshiness by the costumes, at this time the high costs of costumes, and some have even raised the issue of the character of women who model these costumes. The organizers are apparently being dismissive and need to recognize that the reality is that these “haha’s” to some, is particularly offensive to other people. Such who may be offended tend to fall into professional categories like teachers, media representatives, religious leaders, parents, and all kinds of other people.
The wife of the prime minister should consider changing the name and to be quite frank in my opinion, should not even have had a band especially at such a high price per costume that is not serving as a fundraiser and a great majority of the residents cannot afford at this time. Additionally, it is obviously beyond offensive due to the real harm that may result. The display and expression of language in music and art form can be appreciated by some, and at the same time others may have a different outlook. This may be especially so when social morals weigh heavily on the types of apparel donned and suggestive motives at national activities. If the organizers and Mrs. Skerrit, really cared about the plight of the people of Dominica, they would quickly amend course, as the theme is making a significantly large portion of the population feel unjustly offended. If the wife of the prime minister can wrap this basic concept around her head – that there are people impacted by those words, changing the name would be a no brainer- but then again, it would require an individual to have a heart, a brain and to be reasonable to do so.
The one thing we can agree on is that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Thus, Mrs. Skerrit certainly, or anyone as a matter of fact, has the choice to name their band, conduct their businesses, etc, in whatever way they may choose- it’s their prerogative. What everyone must equally understand is that no one, none of us are free from the consequences of the choices we made and continue to make.
Carnival is not meant to depict women as sex objects, nor in a degrading or offensive manner- and that is precisely what the wife of the Prime Minister insists on doing – Melissa Skerrit has the power to shape the image and status of women in our society, instead, she chooses to do the complete opposite. Just look at the shocked expressions on the faces of the audience in disbelief as the costumed women walked the “runway” in the middle of streets of Roseau! Is that the images we want to impress upon our children as their future selves? Is that what we want our little boys and little girls to grow up thinking of women as just “eye candy”? Thanks Madame Prime Minister, you’ve certainly created a lasting impression on the minds of our children, unfortunately. Bravo, NOT, for supporting the stereotypes of women- there is a saying that one’s priorities speaks to ones character -you are who you are and it shows over and over again!
To conclude, as a respectable woman, as a mother, I strongly discourage the use of such terms, such language especially from the Dominica Prime Ministers Wife Band- in my opinion it is in poor taste and sends the wrong message to the people of Dominica and the global community- it was a rather unwise move.