DURING THE past week, Foster’s Fairplay has been reminiscing on times that were somewhat less complex than they are now. So much has changed in moral terms, to the extent that what was formerly deemed to be decidedly wrong and unacceptable has taken on a more positive and acceptable image.
Of course, that can be reversed to make the right way seem not to be the path to follow. As a part of the look back, a lot of time was allotted to a song called “If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another”.
It was gifted to music lovers by Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields and came from a 1982 album. Fields, in reflecting on some of the happenings at the time, included in his mind-stimulating lyrics “It’s a crazy mixed-up world”.
That assessment, from which several inferences may be drawn, brings this columnist to a situation that has been played out in the written media since the Rio Olympics celebrations over the Heroes weekend.
The discourse, controversy, or whatever it can be appropriately called, on the booking of the dancehall act, Spice. She performed at the Rio Sports Gala at the National Indoor Sports Centre on the second of three nights over which the ‘thank you’ event was held.
Despite having delved into music for entertainment from an early age, this columnist confesses almost total lack of knowledge and, by extension, appreciation for the now-popular art form.
However, there is no difficulty in making the call as to whether Spice and what she brings to the stage should have been considered in the first instance.
The series of functions was conceived by the Government and executed through the relevant ministry, managed by a veteran soldier in both sports and entertainment, Olivia Grange. ‘Babsy’, as she is affectionately called, has strut the sporting arena in previous administrations, as well as in Opposition.
In either dispensation, her voice has been just as strident and scholarly in matters relevant to the games that people play. She has managed the welfare and affairs of a variety of entertainers and in that regard, studios and stages are her familiar stomping grounds. With all that in mind, her choices should be respected.
On the particular occasion to which invitations were issued, the expected mix of the audience was never in doubt. It was comprised of persons picked from various backgrounds and cultures, the accent being on an affiliation to sports and the glory and honour which the Rio participants – able-bodied and handicapped – had showered on the nation. While not viewing the entire Spice act, Foster’s Fairplay can comment on that portion which was seen or heard. There was an accusation of virtual nudity on the part of the entertainer. Those who spoke in defence claimed that she wore a skin-coloured material under a transparent outfit, which simulated the effect of a bare body.
This columnist rejects that explanatory response. If it is to be countenanced, why not have a performer of any gender, placing tufts of artificial hair in places where they would appear naturally, claiming that it is not the real thing?
The minister also referred to Spice’s ability to create alternative lyrics to supposedly inappropriate songs, which would be more in keeping with the occasion.
Isn’t this not a way of saying that this particular performance was not one for the moment?
Another argument put forward to justify what this column sees as a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ choice is this: the athletes, who were the toasts of the three nights, asked for Spice.
In response to that, Foster’s Fairplay asks the question: Would these same athletes say to a Stephen Francis or a Glen Mills, who are the orchestrators of their preparation programmes to prosperity, “Sir, I am doing three 300m runs this evening instead of the customary eight.” Think not.
To have booked Spice was not in the interest of what ought to be fed to a gathering carrying the full age spectrum. To stop short of describing that spot on the show as lacking in propriety can be explained.
It’s a crazy, mixed-up world. Who really knows and can honestly say if it is one thing or the other?
NOT THE REAL THING? Dancehall entertainer Spice performs at the Rio Sports Gala and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, October 16.