I am a Soca Warrior
I say win or loose I am a fighter!
I am a Soca Warrior
I come tuh shine meh nationality brighter.
Maximus Dan – Soca Warrior
Up until this point. Up until we football make ah move, we had only one true national philosophy. This self-same ‘Carnival mentality’ we had nurtured for years, we exported and proudly touted it as Trinidad.We also bragged and limed and dined it, sayin’ “Iz Chinidad.”
What has that done? What has the use of mediocrity done to us when used as a tool to forge culture from love and liberty? How will the fires of hope and prayer treat us when we disown self-responsibility? If a Trinidadian refuse tuh claim dey space, what kinna mas it go make? And I use mas tuh describe the procession of people that call this island home. All of us, from now to eternity, chippin’ together in a beat, but on we own chip each.
And look how when we reach Germany, a simple man, a simple artist use words and music to pen a new national philosophy, if we would have it. We could be fighters! Not violent, bloodthirsty people, but fighters. A people who take responsibility for theyself and they actions. A people who, no matter where they go or what they do, they put out their best. It could be on a football field or in the boardroom of Google, anywhere a Trini reach, they will fight. And not fight to disrupt, but fight to organize and arrange. Not senseless fighters, but fighters with a purpose and passion. Fighters who aspire and achieve together.
We will attack
We will defend!
“I’m sorry, did you say you worked for the…?”
An arched eyebrow, a quizzical look, a quick reappraisal of the dreadlocks, the accent (could she be American? perhaps Welsh?), the attitude, the general foreign-ness.
And so on, and such like.
It’s not that I’m the only black person in the building, at these conferences I attend, or the events I often cover. It’s just that I’m often the only one not waiting tables, or collecting coats, or generally clearing up the detritus of the Establishment.
Surprise surprise, for I am unaccountably articulate, and bright and clean, and I work in the very heart of a City where “diversity” does not quite look like me.
“So are you going home to Jamaica for the holiday?”
“I’ve never been to Jamaica, but I am looking forward to going back to Trinidad.”
Smile brightly, look them right in the eye.
“So, what do you speak in the Caribbean? African?”
But sometimes you have to blink.
It wasn’t until I left Trinidad for much colder climes I discovered I was black.
All my life I had been a so-called “red girl” – a racial hybrid with Indian, Caucasian, African and Chinese anscestors.
Mixed, middle-class, prestigiously schooled and commensurately sheltered, I railed against the hyphenated identities adopted by Indo- or Afro- Trinbagonian peers.
“I’m a Trini,” I would insist when faced, as I so often was, with those who demanded to know how I defined myself.
But what did that mean? It was a question with which I struggled. I lacked a defined cultural context.
Continue reading Young and black in Babylondon: part one