King: It’s more than Crop Over, slavery

The Season of Emancipation is more than just the Crop Over Festival or slavery, says Government’s Special Advisor on Culture and Heritage, Senator John King.

He stressed that point Friday as the Division of Culture in the Prime Minister’s Office continues to raise awareness about the season.

“We really want people to think of the Season of Emancipation as more than Crop Over and more than just slavery, but to look at it in its widest form.

“If I mention the Season of Emancipation, 99 per cent of the time people will think of slavery because that was what we taught for many years . . . . However, if you are serious about building out a unique society, then it has to begin to broaden its understanding of itself and all of the different races, religions and different dynamics in society,” King said.

He was speaking during a meeting with The Nation’s Editor-in-Chief Carol Martindale, Digital Editor Sherrylyn Toppin, Publication Coordinator Natanga Smith and multi-media journalist Tre Greaves at the Harold Hoyte and Fred Gollop Media Complex, Fontabelle, St Michael.

King acknowledged that while last year’s season was filled with events, they will be doing more to educate the public, especially children, about the importance of the season, particularly leading up to the Emancipation Day Walk on August 1 and Jackie Opel Day Commemoration Music Symposium on August 27.

“Last year we were coming out of COVID and needed people to feel comfortable coming back out and to acclimatise. This year is about the educational aspect. For example, on Jackie Opel Day there will be a music symposium with Jamaican guests, because we are trying to get our artistes to think of themselves as world players and not just the six weeks of Crop Over or to relegate entertainment to just calypso,” he said.

“In the past, it [the Emancipation Day Walk] was done by private entities but we are getting involved this year in a different way. We are expecting to have a huge contingent of schoolchildren involved to bring more of a structure to it.”

Hundreds of students are expected to participate.

This year, the season is being held under the theme Reimagining The Past; Celebrating The Future.

It officially began on April 14 with a series of pop-up events across the country. There were live paintings, dancing, spoken word and musical performances.

The next major date on the Season of Emancipation calendar is National Heroes Day, April 28. During that weekend, the 11 parishes are expected to host events in honour of Barbados’ national heroes.

Some of the other key dates during the season are Labour Day, May 1; Africa Day, May 25; The Day of National Significance, July 26; Emancipation Day, August 1 and Marcus Garvey Day on August 17.

“It’s about getting people to emancipate from misconceptions and from ignorance about who they are and the roles different persons have played in developing the Barbados we live in. That’s the whole idea of reimagining the past and beginning to celebrate the future, and you guys are going to be paramount to begin this long process of education,” he noted. (TG)


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