Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 25th 2016 Contents A27
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The film academy is pledging to double
the number of female and minority
members by 2020, and will immediately
diversify its leadership by adding three
new seats to its board of governors.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs
announced the changes Friday, following a
weeklong storm of criticism and calls for
an Oscar boycott after academy members
nominated an all-white slate of actors for
the second year in a row.
"The Academy is going to lead and not
wait for the industry to catch up," she said
in a statement.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences' 51-member board of
governors unanimously approved a series
of reforms late Thursday to "begin the
process of significantly changing our
membership composition," Isaacs said. The
number of minorities currently serving as
members of the academy has not been
Several of Hollywood's most prominent
African-Americans, including Will Smith
and Spike Lee, have said they won't attend
this year's Oscars, which is to be hosted by
Other changes include limiting
members' voting status to a period of ten
years, to be extended only if the individual
remains active in film during that decade.
Lifetime voting rights will be granted only
to Academy Award nominees and
winners, and to members after three ten-
year voting terms. (AP)
Film academy announced reforms to diversify
T he first time I met soca artiste and
songwriter Preedy (Akeem
Chance), we were both backstage
at Soca Monarch semifinals at the Savannah
I was in my element as a reporter covering
the Carnival beat, and he had just come off
stage and was very sweaty after performing
the song Away.
I was already a fan, and had loved his voice
when I first heard Wining Champion one
I gushed and transformed into a fan girl in
a way I ve only ever done for calypsonian
Explainer. It was awkward. He levelled me
with a stare that fully transmitted that he
thought I was strange.
One year later, I found myself sitting with
the same artiste in the lunch room of a popular
radio station, having listened to him defend
soca music in a year when the soca genre has
been badly criticised, with many insisting
the genre is dying.
In fact, in a widely shared Facebook post
in December, veteran artiste Edwin Ayoung
(Crazy) boldly challenged artistes to do more.
"Time for these young soca artistes to come
with fresh ideas and stop singing the same
old wine on a bumper every year and drinking
ah set ah old rum. Soca need a revival. It s
going nowhere fast fast fast," Ayoung said.
Sitting in studio with calypsonian Kurt
Allen, who also spoke on the topic, Preedy
He defended young artistes and may have
earned the respect of Ayoung, who two weeks
later left a complimentary post under the
younger artiste s YouTube video, describing
him as the Future of Soca.
Preedy, a 24-year-old
comes as part of
a wave of
made impacts on the music of the national
festival in ways that the more established
artistes can t seem to
St Louis) and
they are remem-
bered for more
than their writing
skills. Preedy was
a writer before he was a singer and has penned
songs for several established soca artistes.
Remaining in the background wasn t part
of his plan though. He has always loved per-
"I have performed a lot more this year.
It s the best thing in the world. It s like
"Every time I sat down and watched
someone else living their dream which
is basically my dream, I felt stifled
and lost and hopeless. Every time I
go on stage and perform I feel val-
Preedy released seven songs
for the 2016 sea-
son, the most
popular of which are Veteran, Drums, Walk
Out and his own favourite, Nation of Love.
Laughing, he says he feels like an all-inclu-
sive artiste, as the crowds which seem to
appreciate his music most have been found
in all-inclusive fetes, though he notes the
event Soccer Fete as one of his memorable
He readily admits that he hasn t reached
Veteran status yet but says he did his research
and can definitely relate to taking a red band
maxi to WASA fete.
"I wave a flag in a fete, with Marabella
Mad Dogs flag crew, I travel in a maxi to
WASA. I fete enough and I made it my duty
so whatever information I don t have, I get
"You don t want to sing about being a vet-
eran and then a real veteran comes to you
and questions you and you don t know any-
Luckily, Preedy hasn t been faced with that
"The song was written for a more senior
artiste, the song and the riddim was turned
down a lot. It came down to Erphaan, Sekon
Sta and myself. They said I should sing the
song and I wasn t sure but I ended up doing
it."While Veteran, a song he co-wrote with
Sekon Sta, is the song which resonates with
many soca fans young and old, it is Nation
of Love that he loves to perform the most.
"The reason why it is my favourite is
because I was scared because it was something
different. I wasn t sure if I would have been
sabotaging my career or if I was helping it
along by singing the song. It was scary."
It is also Nation of Love that s linked
with his biggest disappointment
for Carnival so far. The song
is being left out of the
Preedy is disappointed by what he
perceives as closed-mindedness by
some in the calypso fraternity.
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