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THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Who can’t wuk up?


Al Gilkes

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Crop-Over is over and I was thinking that commentators like Denis Johnson and Admiral Nelson and their band of television and radio call-in critics had left nothing whatsoever for me to write about because they just about covered every aspect, every minute detail of the festival.From the very first beat to be sounded at a Cavalcade to the very last at Cohobblopot and everything in between, the talkers as well as the writers went down on everything and while many came back when it was all over on Monday, some refused to heed Li’l Rick’s call not to “stan’ down dey” and continued right up to Friday.And just as I was scratching my head in vain, a sports story about basketball made me realise that there had indeed been a significant element of Crop-Over that nobody had picked up on.I believe you can remember sometime in the early 1990s there was a movie titled White Men Can’t Jump, which revolved around two basketball hustlers, one white the other black.The reason for the title was that the white one was a former college player who went around the place winning tons of money from black streetballers by exploiting the perception that he could not play well because he was white.I do know if that perception is true or not in the United States, despite the fact that most of the top basketballers I known in my time have been black, ranging from the Bill Russells, Wilt Chamberlains, Karem Abdul Jabbars, Julius Ervings and Isiah Thomases of back in the day to yesterday’s Magic Johnsons, Scottie Pippens, Tim Duncans, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkleys, Dennis Rodmans and Patrick Ewings, to today’s Kobe Bryants, Allen Iversons, LeBron Jameses, Carmelo Anthonys and Kevin Garnetts. What I do know is that here in Barbados a similar perception has persisted about white people from the beginning of time which has nothing to do with their ability to play basketball or any other sport for that matter but with their ability, or lack thereof, to move their waists.Making this perception even worse was the influx of North American and European Whites with the emphasis on tourism development in the 1960s. It was terrible to venture into a venue like the Caribbean Pepperpot with The Merrymen burning up the places with tunes like Archie Brek Dem Up and seeing hundreds of tourists all but brekking their backs trying to get anything below their waistlines to move in time.But believe you me, while the tourists and the older generation white Bajans still can’t get their bumpers to roll, the young ones are matching their black counterparts, juk fuh juk and wuk fuh wuk.It is an ability that has been slowly evolving in recent years but what I saw at a few Crop-Over parties, but especially on Kadooment Day told me that no longer can our white boys and girls be classified or stereotyped as being unable to move their waists. Yes white Bajans can wuk up.What is even more revealing is the fact that they are also growing well rounded bumpers too.Furthermore, they responded equally to the call to guh down, guh down, guh down and come up, come up, come up. And not one of them didn’t stan’ down dey.Lowdown, you had better start getting out with the young people and learning the movements. • Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.

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