On hearing Hollis "Mr Killa" Mapp’s song Run Wid It, patrons have been picking up tents, coolers, chairs, barricades, furniture, corn soup, other people's property, and even women without their permission.
It’s no doubt the Grenadian soca star has produced probably the biggest “runaway hit” for Carnival 2019. After all, it’s one of the songs dominating Carnival events with overwhelming support from fans as well as a current ‘most trending’ parody on social media.
But despite the song’s ability to create excitement and fun for ardent fete goers, the TTPS has warned that without permission, these acts could be deemed violations of one’s rights.
Last Wednesday ASP Wayne Mystar cautioned partygoers that by complying with the instruction to pick up something (including people) and ‘run with it,’ without permission, they would be committing a criminal offence.
He told media, the police had received several calls from patrons and vendors who complained of their belongings being picked up and not returned, which is "one of the ingredients for larceny".
"There are a lot of offences that could stem from some of the actions taking place of being allowed by this particular song," Mystar said.
In light of a supposed divide on the song’s lyrical content and what it proposes to agitate, the Sunday Guardian spoke with a few stakeholders who shared mixed views about the popular song.
Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly:
"Action songs have always been a highlight of soca and Carnival, whether it gives instructions to wave, wine, or move to the left. I don't believe we should overthink this song; nor should we overdo it. There's good Trini fun, and then there's just plain foolish behaviour. We've generally been able to make the distinction. I trust we have not lost that innate ability."
Ryan "DJ Private Ryan" Alexander:
"If people get carried away without due diligence, it does have the potential to be a song that you have to be careful with. When you’re talking about having fun and picking up something and then destroying property, it goes into another realm. Another example is when you're on the road and you decide to take up somebody’s mailbox that, too, is when it goes beyond the realm of fun and into the destruction of property.
There are two sides to it; so far there's been no major incidents. I'm not saying people can't have fun, but when it goes into another space where people can be injured and when it starts affecting vendors and their products; that's when they crossed the line."
Attorney Keith Scotland:
"By no means whatsoever can I agree to any incitement to do anything illegal. When did human beings become like animals that don’t have a conscious choice? So when you play music, the animal moves without thinking. I am appalled. We want to keep the feting clean and enjoyable and I cannot blame Mr Killa for singing his song. But it is some of the people, they're supposed to say no, this is not like moving to the left and right. I don’t mind moving to the left and right where everybody's hand is raised, but it's not cool to go with people's corn soup or property."
Calypsonian Anthony "Brother Valentino" Emrold Phillip:
“There are characters especially around this time of the year when people get intoxicated. Music is a very influential factor in life at that point in time, so people will have the tendency to lose control of themselves and anything could happen. It's six of one, half a dozen of the other, so these things could escalate.”
Music truck provider for one of the "big bands" in Port-of-Spain:
"Our music system is too large and heavy for people to move. The music boxes, generators, and paraphernalia used on the truck are all huge. They're properly secured also for insurance coverage because the trailers are constantly moving."
Author Debbie Jacob:
"Awful! Rum could never be anyone’s “friend”, and in this time of social chaos and crime, it is totally irresponsible to sing about destroying anything–including someone’s party. Encouraging people to grab something and run with it, advocates breaking the law. No one has the right to pick up someone or take something from anyone, as this is encouraging lawlessness. Alcohol can’t make you “Superman”, and to put that notion into impressionable minds is dangerous and downright irresponsible. Sometimes I feel that we are a country that aspires to make people alcoholics. Fetes, carnival, concerts—all celebrations, depend on drinking and that is having a trickling effect on behaviour in society. Why must Carnival always have a rum song? It's a song that is not funny or helpful or useful. It violates people's rights to feel safe and comfortable in a fete. And you know there will always be some ‘sheep’ in a party that follows the stupid advice."