Vox pop: The graphic image discussion “Do we want to have fun or a Christian Carnival with no dancing allowed?

POSTED: 04/26/12 1:12 PM

GREAT BAY- The press office of the Prime Minister considered a Carnival picture Today published last Friday “tasteless and graphic.” Photographer Milton Pieters who made the disputed image went on the road to collect some opinions about the controversy.

One popular tune Bruck It Down by Mr Vegas, is one of the reasons for the new dance style the girls were practicing. But that may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Carnival has always been an event where adults and kids come out to have fun: Andrew Dick.

Andrew Dick, who is known for his involvement with social activities for the youths on the island, was the first promoter to feel the effects of the law in the Festival Village a few hours after the children’s parade concluded.

“Everybody has his own opinion on how much fun they can have, but everybody also needs to remember that during the kid’s parade, the grand parade and the adult shows, people will always say the kids look cute when they are performing. But when certain images are captured and published, it becomes a moral issue,” Dick said.

Dick is heavily involved in the entertainment industry, and he is looking at the bigger picture. “We need to make up our minds if Carnival is going to continue being fun, or are we going to see a Christian Carnival, where no dancing is allowed.”

Dick pointed out that the kids learn from the adults who have to set the examples. “Just think about the hundreds of adults in a troupe, jamming, drinking and having fun. And that group includes politicians, businessmen and other people in the community that kids look up to and they enjoy themselves. But when those kids express themselves on road and on stage, they are told that they have not reached the right age to do so,” he added.

What Dick found disturbing the most was the type of music that was played on the trucks during the children’s parade. “The kids were ‘brucking it down’ on the road and the people looking on were enjoying the performances. But when some of them were invited on stage in the village to dance, some were quick to point out the morals and values. If the young people can’t do it, then the older ones should not either.”

Immediately, the word double standard comes to mind, but Dick was quick to draw the line. “That is the reason why Christians and other God fearing believers don’t participate in Carnival. You just can’t have one foot in and the other out.”

To get a more balanced perception of the topic, Dick was shown a second image of girls from one of the local dance schools performing on stage during the Mature Pageant. “Personally, I see these images as young persons expressing themselves artistically, I don’t see anything tasteless. Carnival is the culture of St Maarten and we need to appreciate our culture whole heartedly.” Dick stated.

Dick, who also has a role in the media said that he was shocked to hear about the attack on the media. “What was published is just a taste of what happens during the jump up, a lot more happens that we can’t see. We have a responsibility on reporting the fun side of events and even the bad side.”

Dick could not refrain from pointing to a recent incident during the Soca Monarch competition. “When King Beau Beau came on stage, he came with a group of adult dancers, but at the end, he asked the audience if they wanted to see his granddaughter dance.”

According to Dick, the little girl, who was between 3 and 4 years old proceeded to entertain the crowd which included the SCDF officials, the police and the crowd loved every moment of her cameo appearance.

Dick underlined that he does not condone vulgarity and said that there are a few parents that encourage the young to express themselves, whether they are rapping, singing or dancing. “Not everybody was born to be a doctor, a teacher or a professor. We also need to promote the arts and stop looking at the simple things.

“Jouvert morning, the same thing will happen and the media has a role to play, but our eyes cannot be everywhere. The people will continue to enjoy themselves and if the authorities are going to set guidelines, they will first have to lead by example,” Dick concluded.

“I think it’s a bit offensive”: June

“In one picture, I see a professional dancer who knows that the public is looking at her and she expects that somebody is going to take her picture. I think that it’s offensive for these persons to be jamming on the streets. It’s a parade and anybody can do whatever they want and anybody can take their picture. But to publish a picture where they are in a provocative position, it can be damaging to her character,” June said.

While pointing out that Carnival was an activity slaves did to attain their freedom, June is concerned about the reactions the girls may have received from the published photo.”When we enjoy Carnival, we are being free and expressing ourselves and everybody does that in a different manner. But you have to be careful what pictures you publish, because at the end of the day they are wives, mothers, bankers, politicians who have responsibilities and positions. Even if you get a snap of them in provocative positions, those images should not be published,” June stated.

On the topic of the music that was played during the children’s parade, June said that she does not think that the music was appropriate. “The music should have been less vulgar.”

I find it ridiculous: Melissa

“You can dance and have fun, but that kind of behavior is not good and that is why I don’t attend those parades. They should have had some kind of ABC music for the children, adults should be adults and children should be children,” Melissa pointed out.

She attributed the degrading morals to one of the reasons for teenage pregnancy. “They feel like they are bigger than the adults who are doing it; those adults should know better. Some of the parents are right there, seeing and laughing, but I don’t agree with that.”

Melissa was even critical about the image of the dancers on stage during the Miss Mature Pageant. “I am sure that they have better clothes for them to wear, if they are going to perform, they have to bear in mind that kids and adults are in the audience.”

This happens in everyday life: Lavern Peters

“Children see these scenes on television and in the movies, it’s just a picture and I don’t see this as vulgarity and it’s the same ‘bruck it down music’ they were playing at the kids parade. It makes no difference.”

Some smaller children are doing worse than the adults: Fay Welch

To say it’s safer to say that parents with boys have less to fear than parents with girls during the Carnival parades may be the understatement of the year. “For the adult and children’s parade, it’s the same type of music and while the children may not be dressed like the adults, the actions are the same. Nobody has to teach the children how to dance, they learn that on the television,” Fay Welch said.

But, Welch, a mother of two, said that the responsibility starts with the parents who have to ensure that they do the right things. “As adults, they have a right to do what they want to do, but children should not even be allowed to be at certain functions.”

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Vox pop: The graphic image discussion “Do we want to have fun or a Christian Carnival with no dancing allowed? by

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