Friday, November 23, 2007

Forty-one fave Bajan personalities

Well, there's one more week to go before we Bajans celebrate our 41st Anniversary of Independence on November 30, and so far it's been fun thinking up facets of Bajan life that I can share with you.

Right now, Bridgetown stores are decorated with blue and gold lights and bunting (of course some of them also have their Christmas trees up but I digress). Locals songs are blasting on the airwaves and NIFCA and Community Independence activities are in full swing.

Forty-one years ain't 41 days, as the old folks would say, and it has taken the combined efforts of many Barbadians to help us reach this point. Political leaders and National Heroes aside, there are scores of entertainers, sports persons, journalists and ordinary Barbadians who have put Barbados on the map in their own unique way, or simply made life easier for the rest of us.

Here's my list of 41 Bajans who, in my humble opinion, should be lauded for improving or promoting the Bajan way of life. The first 10 will be posted today and the remaining 31 over the course of next week.

Alfred Pragnell - Some of my fondest childhood memories include listening to the late Alfred Pragnell perform short stories on Rediffusion, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him many years later. Alfred was a gifted griot who brought Timothy Callender and Jeannette Layne-Clark's characters to life. He'll forever live on in our hearts.

Alison Sealy-Smith - Bajan actress Alison Sealy-Smith has appeared on numerous US television shows (Street Legal, Kevin Hill, This Is Wonderland) and for a few years voiced the part of Storm in the animation X-Men. An accomplished stage performer, she has returned home on several occasions to star in local productions.

Allison Hinds & Square One - During their 17-plus years in the music business, Square One played for royalty, won numerous local, regional and international awards and captured the hearts of party-goers across the world. Barbados' Musical Ambassadors are sorely missed.

Austin 'Tom' Clarke - Perhaps Barbados' most famous literary luminary, Austin Clarke is a magician with the English language. From "Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack" to "The Polished Hoe", Clarke has a way of dissecting human emotion and placing the reader right at its centre.

Senator Andrew Bynoe - I don't think anyone has done more to promote the pork industry in Barbados than the Managing Director of Carlton & A1 and Emerald City Supermarkets, Senator Andrew Bynoe. The ads for his "proper pork" campaign were quintessentially Bajan and I'm convinced the sales of pork went through the roof. Proper.

Brian Talma - Barbados' "Action Man" Brian Talma needs his own television show. The windsurfer's boundless energy and zest for life is so contagious that he would be a natural on screen and his brief travel show for Virgin Atlantic was a hit. Work that out, CBC.

Dr. Colin Hudson - It's hard to believe that three years have gone by since environmentalist and Barbados' green conscience Dr. Colin Hudson passed away. I didn't know him personally, but the love he had for the environment was palpable. We could all do with a few more Dr. Hudsons around.

Giggurd & Boo - The comic duo of Patrick Maxwell (Giggurd) and Agie Yearwood (Boo) has been used to promote everything from HIV/AIDS to tax tips, and some Bajans still can't get enough of these two.

Gladstone Holder - The best way to describe the late journalist and Chief Information Officer of a newly independent Barbados was fearless and objective. His articles on political and societal matters were often talking points, and he was living proof of the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Harold Hoyte - The former Editor-in-Chief of the Nation Newspaper was known for his objectivity and business prowess, and will be a hard act to follow. Enjoy your retirement, Sir Harold!

More on Monday. Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

Khaidji said...

The submissions of Cheese-on-Bread continue to be a source of inspiration. It is amazing how the first selection had personal acquaintances and former colleagues of mine.

Salute To The Sons Of The Soil
Such talent and so friendly
Alfred Pragnell was great company
Lots of laughs and professional to the core
Unveiled his skills and knowledge galore
The nation celebrates his legacy
Enjoyed Holetown Festival and his comedy
Then he weakened and his time drew nigh
Only, I never got a chance to say good-bye
The summer last I saw a old friend
Her acting life had long transcend
Expectant boundaries we set for our own
She became a star and very well known
One day she was a neighbor smiling at me
Now Bajan Queen of Drama, a celebrity
Star in US film like Street Legal and more
Our Alison Sealy-Smith returns for encore
Folks in Barbados should be very proud
This literary genius was suitably endowed
His no nonsense professionalism was kind
Exceptional management, a rare find
So working with him was uplifting for me
Organization, scheduling and efficiency
I salute these icons on Bajegirl’s list
Looking out for the others who lie amidst