Spicemas: Character, Class, Jab Jab, Controversy & More

St. George’s, August 18, 2011 – Spicemas organizers are standing firm on this year’s theme which sparked debate among Grenadians at home and abroad.

The 2011 carnival theme was, “Uniquely Rooted in our Rich Ancestral Traditions. Spicemas: Home of 100,000 Jab Jabs.’’

“I am comfortable in saying that traditional mas is what stands out for Grenada. Jab Jab is unique to Grenada,’’ said Senator Arley Gill, Minister with responsibility for Culture.

He made the comment on “Beyond the Headlines,’’ the live GBN television show hosted by veteran broadcaster Lew Smith.

Sen. Gill and Grenada Carnival Committee (GCC) Chairman, Collin Dowe, both defended the chosen theme, despite criticism from some individuals and groups such as the Alliance of Evangelical Churches.

The Alliance called the theme “distasteful and disrespectful of the sensibilities of Grenadians who subscribe to Biblical Christianity.’’ It described Jab Jab as “a celebration and worship of Satan who was cast out of heaven in the first place because of his ambition and desire to claim God’s prerogatives.’’

However, historian Dr. Nicole L. Phillip is among many Grenadians who find no fault with the theme.

“Firstly, throughout the debate the theme has been misrepresented in its stating,’’ argued Dr. Phillip. “Critics, including the churches, claimed that the theme was ‘Grenada: the home of 100,000 Jab Jabs’. Simple research and inquiry, just by looking at the advertisements on television, would have informed them that the theme was: ‘Uniquely Rooted in our Rich Ancestral Traditions. Spicemas: Home of 100, 000 Jab Jabs.’’

She added that by “misrepresenting the theme, the critics have entirely missed the point of or substance of the chosen theme. In so doing it is difficult if not near impossible to make a rational judgment based on erroneous information.’’

According to Dr. Phillip, Spicemas is one of the best carnivals in the Caribbean.

However, she said that if Grenadians are to compete and establish a carnival niche, “an appropriate tag line needs to be used to promote this festival. It seems obvious that this was the thinking behind the theme chosen this year. Grenada can boast of being the only island that displays, year after year, from as far back as carnival has been recorded, unique aspects of traditional mas.’’

As far as Dr. Phillip is concerned, “the choice of the number 100,000 is simply a play on our population figure. It does not imply that all other aspects of carnival would be sidelined and there will only be Jab Jabs on the road. It simply emphasizes the need to highlight our traditional mas as being different and thus making the Grenada carnival experience one of a kind.’’

For original article: Spiceislander.com » Spicemas: Character, Class, Jab Jab, Controversy & More.

Photo: http://www.spiceislander.com/?p=1229

Author: Ken Archer

I am an ethnomusicologist, who obtained my doctoral degree at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. My areas of interests include the musical, ritual, and celebratory traditions of the circum-Caribbean and the African Diaspora. I worked as a lecturer at the Columbus and Marion Campuses of the Ohio State University, where I taught classes in World Music, Rock and Roll/American Popular Music, Western Art Music, and directed the OSU Steel Pan ensemble.