In a sudden turn of events, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s iconic cultural landmarks was rescued from the jaws of international embarrassment by a man named Michael Jordan – no relative of his famous basketball namesake or the late moon-walking singer.
Of most recent vintage is Jordan’s launch of a rum branded J’Ouvert, a name which is used the world over in various but which is considered synonymous with the revered early morning Carnival-launch festival held in Trinidad and Tobago.
While Michael has been showing an innovative tendency resembling the creativity some of his famous TT-born friends such as Nicky Minaj, he has also got himself into hot water.
What a bag of mixed feelings he would have been surely confronted with therefore when awakened from his bubble by a group of Trinidad artistes, Jordon was told that J’ouvert was causing quite a stir in the TT world because of an unintentional sin called “Appropriation”.
Already bedazzled because he had gone through all the proper channels for legal approval of the name, Jordan, who has a great regard for Trinidad and its culture, was reported as having quickly decided to withdraw the name without exactly knowing why.
While this brought great relief to most people in Sweet T+T, many serious observers politely made the point that because of Jordon’s generosity, TT was saved a heap of international embarrassment. This is because Jordan, in his innocence, had hidden the deeper problem under the layers of old clothes that characterized the country’s old time J’Ouvert.
For like a colonial mind stuck in reverse gear, the leaders of this so-called twin-island Caribbean Democratic Republic had once again exposed her vulnerable rear end to show how easily any ‘bitch and she breddah” can stick it.
During a number of protestations led by Wendell Manwarren of 3 Canal fame, a number of people who know better have insinuated that it was just another big blunder by the TT authorities charged with protecting the history and legacy of the rich culture that is a treasure of this tiny twin-island state.
According to “Newsday”:
Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, found the issue to be “of extreme concern.”
Ironically, she said in a statement: “The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so. Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we’ll do the necessary investigation and, as always, seek to support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours.”
One blogger stated: “Many people have criticized the star for trademarking the name, while having no apparent connection to the culture itself”.
And yet another chimed in: “Someone point out Michael B Jordan’s Trini roots fast for me please!!! Cuz I’m not understanding this shit…”
This is what may be at the core of this major problem, namely, the traditionally loose and irresponsible behaviour of the well-paid TT executives who sit in posh offices overseas and appear stuck and clueless about how to preserve their people’s business.
Sadly, this great transgression has been happening for a very long time. And there are so many other cultural iconic entities and elements that are floating in the international air just begging to be adopted by some alert Jordan-type individual who sees more value in the element than the creators themselves.
One of these elements at risk, alarmingly, maybe the Steel Pan –not only in name but the instrument and all – which has been surrounded by controversy about ownership with the TT Tourist Board caught running up from far behind – which is nothing unusual.
With an abundance of talent now flying out to represent Sweet T+T on the world stage, it is hoped that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley will put his heavy black foot down on this wanton abuse of power by those entrusted to ensure that we are kept safe and sound from all predators in this area.
In this connection, he will do well to send in young energetic and dedicated ministers like Stuart Young and Evans Lashley to light some fire under those cultural bottom feeders who have so far lived comfortably off the Land, the Mas and the Pan – but whose time has now finally come.