Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 11th 2013 Contents A9
Monday, November 11, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Antiguan band Burning Flames
contentious single Kick een She Back
Door is causing commotion once
This time, one of the world s largest
online campaigning community for
human rights and change, avaaz.org,
is calling for the total banning of the
song from the airwaves in T&T.
It has described the lyrical content
of the song to be endorsing violence
against women at best and sexual vio-
lence against women at worst. On its
Web site, a petition has been set up
asking individuals for their signature
in support of the song being banned
from local airwaves.
Last month, the petition was for-
warded to the Telecommunications
Authority (TATT), along with a letter
outlining opposition to the song. How-
ever, when contacted on the matter last
week, the TATT said it was not in
receipt of any such information and
would have to look into it.
So far, the petition has gained 1,263
signatures from across the globe and
has a target goal of 5,000. Some locals
who have signed the petition told the
T&T Guardian via Facebook that the
song is absolutely ridiculous.
Frontline singer Caleb Hart, of Cana-
dian-based gospel band Tazman
Jude, said he signed the petition
several times because he outrightly
rejects the message in the song.
"From a musician/ songwriter/
lyricist s perspective, it not only
shows utter lack of creativity but
most importantly, utmost disre-
spect to women," he said.
Local freelance journalist and
PR consultant Adrian Simmons
said he signed it because the song
is utter nonsense.
And social worker Akeila Joseph,
also Trinidadian, said it was an
outright disrespect to women.
The online network said: "At
face value, the lyrics refer to kicking
in the back door of a woman who
will not let you into her house even
if she is screaming murder, how-
ever many are able to discern the
thinly veiled innuendo of rape by
anal sex. This song dangerously
humorises, normalises and trivi-
alises violence against women and
is a poor influence on our young
people and adults alike."
It added that accepting the song
is akin to endorsing and welcoming
its message as a part of our social
attitudes towards women. It fur-
ther argued that signing the peti-
tion was important because
according the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP),
domestic violence is endemic in
Highlighting statistics from the
T&T Police Service, it said 933
rapes were reported in 2012 and
337 reported in the January-August
period of 2013. It said it was
important that the society of T&T
does what it can to ensure that
attitudes encouraging violence,
especially sexual violence towards
women, are not tolerated, propa-
gated or institutionalised through
In June 2013, Guyanese women s
group Women and Gender Equality
Commission spoke out strongly
against the same song, calling it
illicit and seeking to promote gen-
der-based violence. A petition for
the banning of the song was also
circulated a few months ago by
petition platform change.org.
The controversial song, which
won the Antiguan Road March in
2012, was subsequently banned
there and also in Barbados. How-
ever, it is still receiving heavy rota-
tion on local frequencies.
T&T on banning
The T&T Guardian spoke with
a few radio station managers/pro-
gramme directors, DJs and fem-
inists to get their views on the
song and whether arguments for
it to be banned were justifiable.
Programme director of Slam
100.5FM, Joel "Signal To Noise"
Morris, said if it comes down to
a total ban of the song, his station
will abide by it. However, he
thinks those who are making the
calls should take into considera-
tion that different societies have
different perspectives on certain
things and that includes music as
"There are a lot of songs past
and present that convey wrong
messages...are we to ban them
all?" he asked.
He said the song is highly
requested at parties and on air
and people seem to like it.
"We will wait and monitor and,
like I said, if it comes down to
that, then we will comply," he
Station manager of
I95.5FM/RED96.1FM, Tony Lee,
said he has not really paid much
attention to the song, but he is
aware there have been some dis-
cussions surrounding it. He said
he was curious as to why the song
was being singled out, though,
when similar songs have been
At Vibe City 105.5FM, selector
Kamau Harriott, aka "DJ Kaotic,"
supports a ban.
"It is really violent. They should
have taken it off a long time ago,
I mean the song is not new and
it has already been banned in
other countries. I don t support
it and I don t play it at all. If they
ban it I am cool with that," he
Boom Champion 94.1FM s
radio host Adrian "Third Base"
Hackshaw said he has no problem
with the song because it s just
"In a court of law the singer of
the song could say he s talking
about a real door, it s people who
are interpreting door to be a
female body part," he argued.
'Song has no redeeming quality'
Feminist and advocate against
violence and substance abuse,
Natasha Nunez-St Clair, said she
is all in favour of the song being
banned. In a telephone interview,
she said there was no need for that
sort of misogyny on the airwaves.
"I never listened to the entire
song because when it got to the
chorus and I realised what was
being implied, it was enough to
get me distressed," said Nunez-St
Clair, daughter Hazel Brown, fem-
inist and head of the Network of
NGOs for the Advancement of
Nunez-St Clair said the song
was definitely not for airplay, as
the message truly incites violence
and rape of women.
"People s reaction to the song,
especially young women, think
the song is catchy and funny. I
don t think they have really taken
the time to realise the illustration
in the song can be an actual sit-
uation where a man impresses
himself upon a woman. It may
not influence a man to do it, but
its message is negative nonethe-
less," she said.
LGBT gender and equality
activist and feminist Stephanie
Leitch said women have been his-
torically violated through songs,
which is unfortunately a reflective
of a culture s ideology and how
women are valued.
"Calypso has historically carried
the metaphor through double
entendre but the metaphor cannot
be at the expense of women s
choice and autonomy," she said.
She said the ways in which
women are consuming these kinds
of messages were particularly dis-
turbing and she wonders if it could
be explained through cognitive dis-
sonance or read differently.
Dr Maude Dikobe, of the Uni-
versity of Botswana, in a 2007
paper titled Historical Culture of
Gender and Heterosexual Violence
in Calypso in Trinidad, said gen-
der-based violence is a pervasive
staple of T&T s calypso music and
has been presented and encouraged
in some male calypsonians lyrics
for a long time.
All attempts to reach Burning
Flames management for comment
More trouble for Burning Flames song
Petition launched for ban in T&T
Models Liselle Peters, left, and Thurza Peters portray costumes from the
sections Eruption and Tsunami in Defiance's 2014 Carnival Presentation
Beautiful and Deadly, during an event at Southern Edge, La Romaine, on
Saturday night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
BEAUTIFUL AND DEADLY
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