Consider the data released in “The Rap on Rap” report issued in April 2008, the same month as the King Kong VOGUE cover. The Parents Television Council, in partnership with the Enough is Enough Campaign, analyzed a total of three weeks of content found on BET’s “Rap City” and “106 & Park,” and MTV’s “Sucker Free.” When it came to sex, the report released shocking findings, including:
• 746 sexually explicit scenes or lyrical references for an average of 27 instances per hour
• 45 percent of the adult content in the music videos was of a sexual nature, followed by explicit language (29 percent), violence (13 percent), drug use/sales (9 percent), and other illegal activity (3 percent)
• 103 vulgar, slang references to sexual anatomy (e.g., the term “gushy” used to refer to a woman’s lubricated vagina) in a one-week period in March 2008
– pg. 50, BRAINWASHED, by Tom Burrell, SmileyBooks, 2010
I was listening to a radio newscast on Tuesday afternoon, and it sounded as if the announcer was saying that a British group was reporting that Belize is one of 27 countries which has a debt crisis. On Friday evening last, however, I had heard the Right Honorable Prime Minister tell the Belizean media, after the House meeting, that he had solved the superbond problem and that he essentially had no more worlds to conquer.
I was puzzled by the different perspectives, the one abroad and the one in the mind of Belize’s leader. In fact, I wondered whether being in a situation where you had no more worlds to conquer was necessarily a good thing. Historically, the response of the Greek warrior/king who found himself in such a situation (or predicament?) was to sit down and cry, presumably in frustration.
You have to wonder about Belize, you know. This weekend we will be celebrating yet another of these holidays for which none of us natives really understands the explanation or rationale. It is a difficult proposition to celebrate a holiday when you are not in possession of disposable income, so that the masses of the Belizean people, who find themselves in such a precarious financial reality these days, perforce have an ambiguous approach to such holiday exercises. How does one celebrate when one has nothing with which to party?
Anyway, there is always, always the boob tube, cable channels “like that.” Looking back to the early days of television frenzy here in 1982 and 1983, we could never have imagined back then that the day would come in Belize when we would have to search so desperately to find something of quality on the tube.
The NBA playoffs, which are an annual craze in my neck of the woods, are down to four teams, and it does appear that Golden State and Cleveland are destined to clash again in the finals. The first game of the Golden State vs San Antonio Spurs semifinal series was, nevertheless, almost sensational. Playing on the road, San Antonio appeared on the way to upsetting the 2015 champions, Golden State, in the first of their seven game series, until the Spurs’ brilliant Kahwi Leonard re-injured his left ankle. In slow motion the play looks dirty. But, the money is big. The stakes are high. I’m saying that the NBA playoffs are still a gambler’s delight in Belize.
Let me move on to local television. Mose Hyde and I have a prickly relationship at times, but I definitely feel that his “Bad ting mek laugh” series deserved more support from advertisers. Needless to say, you can’t tell private business people how to spend their money, but you and I know, when it comes to the public sector money, that that money is used for partisan political purposes in this country. Mose and his crew deserved more support.
When I had a chance to go television around 2003 or so, I was apprehensive, maybe even scared. Radio had not been a good experience, business-wise, and the similarity had to do with the fact that, unlike the case with newspapers, radio and television are totally dependent on advertisers and their corporate money.
Ultimately, my decision to jump into the turbulent waters of television was based on the fact that this was the most powerful communications and entertainment medium known to man, it was especially exciting for the younger generations, and it was really an opportunity to do something creative, something authentic, something Belizean. (It may well be today that social media has overtaken television in impact as a communications and entertainment medium.)
Mose had become controversial politically where the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) was concerned. He was speaking out on various issues where he saw the UDP becoming arrogant and corrupt. He and the television came under UDP government pressure. I would like to ask the man who has no more worlds left to conquer, what is it that his government has produced in the world of entertainment, let’s say television, which is creative, authentic, and Belizean? The answer, and I will give it in Spanish, is nada.
But the government’s apologists can rightly argue that this is not really the administration’s job or responsibility. This is the challenge for the creative artist in the struggling Third World. In fact, it is even a challenge in the developed world. Miles Davis may have been the greatest jazz trumpeter ever, and he was fortunate enough to be born and to live in the fabulously wealthy United States of America. But Miles went through phases where his work became commercialized, and some of his fans became critical. All he was trying to do was put food on his table, but hard core fans don’t want to hear that: they insist that you be absolutely real.
I want to say to the young people involved with “bad ting” that they’ve done some very good work, very promising. Sure, there’ve been problems, but keep on. The poets of Spoonaz and 501 also deserve my congratulations. And Belize’s musicians have been coming on strong.
All such creative Belizeans will benefit materially from the gang truce, if it continues to hold. Belizeans will begin to come out of their homes at night, if the truce holds. You know, of course, that there are powerful people who don’t want to see the gang truce hold. Such powerful individuals are enemies of the Belizean people. I am categorical on that.
As always, power to the people. As-salaam-alaikum. Peace be unto you.