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Big Mike: Vulgar mas, no big sin

By JULIEN NEAVES Saturday, March 8 2014

LEGACY bandleader Mike “Big Mike” Antoine says the country’s leaders should not focus on the minor issue of vulgarity in Carnival but the major issue of crime in the country.

“The nudity would not affect people so much. They would just...ask people to put on some clothes and that’s it. It wouldn’t hamper or kill or damage or wreck anybody’s (mind) or send them mad. What will send us mad or what will affect us in a big way is the crime. So I think the leaders should focus more on the bad, bad things that happening in the country rather than watching these women,” he said.

Antoine was responding to comments by Archbishop Joseph Harris in his Ash Wednesday message that the lascivious and lewd behaviour by some revellers has nothing to do with our culture and was an aspect of national life that needed to be transformed. Secretary General of Hindu organisation Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Sat Maharaj also commented that some female revellers are “virtually naked” and taxpayers’ money was being spent to corrupt the nation’s children.

Antoine, speaking to Newsday yesterday, said he respected every man’s opinion but the religious leaders have to respect the opinion of the masqueraders as well.

“When the Master (God) calls he will choose the good from bad. And if they (the religious leaders) do wrong then they will pay for it and if the people who (showcase) nudity they will pay for it. Everybody expresses themself in different ways. Who without sin cast the first stone,” he said.

Questioned whether there was more vulgarity and lewdness over the years, he said it was “always there”, pointing to portrayals of jab jabs in little clothing. He noted that it was happening now more because more women are playing mas and “everybody sexualising everything”.

He pointed out that he has been designing costumes for more than 30 years and he is doing almost the same thing, and it was a similar case with other bands. He said some masqueraders may take their costume then go and get their own pasties and paint, but that cannot be stopped or criticised.

He said the leaders in Trinidad should be concerned about stopping crime and speak more against it.

“Because that is what disturbs us. The nudity in the street don’t disturb us so much. Unless we might feel sexy. Nudity might give some of us who pervert(ed)...feel to go home to have sex or have sex in the street or whatever. But what disturbing us here is the crime and what these leaders should do is deal with the things that affect us most,” he said.

Ronnie and Caro bandleader Ronnie McIntosh commented on the issue during a media conference yesterday.

He noted he has seen the attire of the female masquerader “taking it to another level”, including small pasties or large breasts.

He said a lot of the females “who take it to the extra, who go the extreme” are not based in this country, adding that in Trinidad, “everybody knows everybody and some of the extreme ones none of us could say we know them”.

“A lot of people who behave like this are not from Trinidad or are not living in Trinidad. We need to investigate that. These are people based outside and they come home and they decide that ‘well nobody eh know meh nah’. Because Trinidadians are still conservative. Because don’t forget we still have to go back to work Wednesday morning,” he said.

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