Tuesday, July 31, 2007
How much is too much?
Before I begin, let me say that I have the greatest admiration for Madd Entertainment. They have parlayed what most persons see as 'mock sport' into a business, and every year I look forward to their Crop Over music. While some calypso tents are languishing, Madd's Bacchanal Time Tent is bursting at the seams.
Over the years, Madd has introduced us to several characters who are symbolic of the wider society. There is PC Broomes, the big-bellied policeman who is always mocked by the criminals; the forced-ripe school girl Glamour Girl Sue; the witty homosexual Archibul Cox; the cheap Indian merchant Ali Singh, the list goes on.
This year, Madd introduced John Mahahmeed, who is the illegitimate son of Ali Singh . The character has a Guyanese accent, and his song Curry Wine is infectious. However, I was dismayed to see the character performing in what amounts to blackface and what looks like a clown suit.
Since when did blackface become funny? The sad irony is that the young man playing the role of John Mahahmeed is already black. Through Madd's songs we've poked fun at Indians, the police and homosexuals (and those groups I'm sure have been offended), but isn't the blackening of the character's face a new low? Isn't it a perpetuation of the same negative stereotypes which have offended us as Black people? How much is too much?
Be careful what you laugh at...one day you may be laughing at yourself and not realise.