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FOR THE RECORD: Critics lacking vision


Ezra Alleyne

FOR THE RECORD: Critics lacking vision

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This country has an anti-hero mentality.
We may choose not to appreciate the stellar achievements of Rihanna, but her consistent achievement at the highest levels of a most demanding profession deserves a national standing ovation.
On Grammy night a fortnight ago, unlike one of James Bond’s famous drinks, I was shaken . . . and properly stirred.
My wide-ranging interest in female couture, imbibed at my mother’s knee in the company of an old sewing machine, glued my attention to the screen and my body to a seat. I was waiting to see “my girl”.                                                         
I was suffering through the sight of some strange outfits being dragged along the red carpet, until Rihanna of Combermere and Barbados and of Guyana put in a majestic appearance in a magnificently attractive gown “sitting down correct” (to use the calypsonian’s phrase) on a supremely sculpted female body. Damn!
My testosterone-infused temperature went through the roof and my reason and I both found it difficult to resume our seats. Eventually, we did!
I have always been intrigued by the trilogy of wine, women and song. You can keep your wine. I choose not to drink, but my long interest in female singers caused me to reflect on the deaths in the past year of such famous female singers as Etta James, Amy Winehouse and now Whitney Houston.
That each one of them was a highly talented Grammy winner who fell victim, at some point, to alcohol or drug addiction might suggest an inevitable connection between substance addiction and the entertainment industry. But if there is a connection, it is not inevitable and thereby hangs a tale, for choices have consequences.
I wish Miss Houston eternal rest and peace, and long may Rihanna and “my other girl” Adele adorn the music industry, as they have Bajan connections with Adele’s director of music being a son of the soil.
While awaiting Ri-Ri’s entrance, my eye caught a newspaper’s front page photo showing four cruise liners at bay in the Deep Water Harbour.
The Harbour continues to benefit this island 50 years after its construction and the cruise liners were in port helping to propel the slowly turning wheels of our economy.
The Harbour has benefited generations of Barbadians since the 1960s and continues to be a boon to the economy. Yet it was viciously criticized during construction and was blamed as a cause of unemployment for those men who, like Michael, would row the barges ashore laden with imported goods.
The spurious argument that future generations would be unfairly saddled with paying back the loan was used to influence voters in the 1961 election.
Not many listened then to the view that future generations would also benefit from the Harbour and therefore should carry part of the cost in the future. But cruise tourism now required a Deep Water Harbour then, and without vision the people perish.
So what point am I making? Some of us are needlessly criticizing Barbados’ most visible international iconic personality of all time; but since Rihanna started pushing Barbados’ image, I have noticed that Barbados is being scripted (as part of the dialogue) in situation comedies and soap operas on both sides of the Atlantic as the place where some of the characters are vacationing.
The unwarranted, continuing criticism of Rihanna is as empty and shortsighted as was the criticism of the Deep Water Harbour over 50 years ago, but then again, time is longer than twine, and without vision . . . .

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