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The Drag Queen can dance

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I was quite surprised to hear the opinions of veteran mas designers of Minshall’s Carnival king costume. I was not surprised that they did not like it, but rather the reasons why.

What is most disappointing is that the majority of this nonsense came from the winner, Marcus Eustace. Let me just repeat that. The winner. I was always taught that when you excel at something or are recognised for your work over that of your peers that you should be as gracious as possible; it’s good sportsmanship. 

Every single entrant into the competition demanded sacrifice from all those involved, whether it be a particular skill or simple time and energy to support their friends and family. Dismissing other competitor’s effort and final result is as classless as it is tasteless—dare I say tacky? 

One would almost assume that the real issue was that Minshall’s Carnival depiction was that it was of a man dressed as a ballerina. No, that wouldn’t be it, we’re not that provincial in our thinking, are we? 

“That (moko jumbie) is not mas.” 

Well then why was Minshall allowed to enter? Surely he would not go through all that creative process, time, and money to illegally enter a competition? While he is undeniably eccentric, I would by no means tick the ‘intellectually-challenged’ box.

“You have people building all kinds of expensive costumes and they coming tenth and eleventh.” 

So the criteria on being crowned Carnival king is cost? Cool. More money, more better. Got it. How delightfully quaint and Trump-esque to “juss pelt coin at it nah.” I must remember this financial nugget of wisdom.

“How would it look if next year everybody playing moko jumbie?” 

Personally, I think it would be delightfully refreshing. Performing on stilts, I would think, requires a little more skill than hauling a monument as big and hefty as the Taj Mahal behind them. More physical strength? Definitely. Skill? Sorry, no. Moko jumbies prancing around the stage en masse versus watching men and women doing their best to smile through their heart attack and pulled hamstrings sounds like a much more pleasurable time for all involved to me.

“That is not mas. That is why the stands are empty.” 

Padna, you related to Learie Joseph because this comment had me rolling, I not lyin’ tuh tell yuh. Excuse me. I must collect myself. Ahem. Yes, the plethora of moko jumbie entrants over the last two decades has clearly driven the spectators off in droves. That must be why photographers were elbowing each other out of the way like teens at a Bieber concert. It certainly couldn’t be the repetitive nature of man/woman dragging their village’s weight in gaudy materials across the stage that is causing a slack in attendance. That would be ridiculous. 

It still baffles me in this obviously multi-cultural society how we Trinis love nothing better than a good pigeon hole. Dare to be different and watch how quickly that square peg is bashed into that round hole. (Why we don’t have a store dedicated to torches and pitchforks is equally confusing.) 

If everything must be fixed and unyielding, then why even bother? As in why bother at anything. We are a species of inventors, it is what we do. I am sure millions of people twirled their moustaches or parasols and scoffed at the automobile when it first came out. If our traffic is anything to go by, I think we can say it was a success. Don’t even get me started on what Philadelphia’s residents must have thought about Benjamin Franklin running around in a storm with a kite. Utter bonkers.

I hesitate to mention...okay, I don’t...that I actually had to use google to find an image of your entry...unlike Minshall who, understandably, took social media by storm, but then that’s the thing with crowd favourites, you see. 

David Cogdell


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