In Honor of My Ancestors in the Caribbean-an attempt at photojournalism

March 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Concept_Santeria RepresentativesConcept_Santeria RepresentativesI only add this here for emphasis and clarity. So you can see the "Big picture" from the other larger picture.

 

I could not help but discuss this- African religion. I am an Anglican and I am also a Spiritual Baptist.

I can't say I practice either because I can't remember when last I set foot in any of their buildings. But,I am a proud member of both and I am proud of all that I have ever done and all that I do now. So I am also proud of not publicly practicing my Religion. That's the irony.

You see my parents and grand parents set me on a path(which is what parents aught to do)-I call that path THE PATH TO SELF DISCOVERY. So ,at one time,they were in control with their guidance and insights and after -the proverbial rites of passage- I took over. So any thing I would have done as an adult I was responsible, nobody else but me. I was in control.

Back to religion now. I was always interested in religion. My parents , though poor and uneducated, according our circumstances and according to the world view, allowed their children my brothers and I, exposure and appreciation to all religions- non was clearly or publicly denounced. And that same approach , was shown with other  aspects of culture. So my family appreciated and embraced almost  everything that enrich our lives, although poor.  In addition my maternal grand mother was an excellent seamstress( dress maker) and I was able to spend a  considerable  amount of time with her in PREVILLEGED HOMES  as a child when she had to make the clothing  for  these people's weddings.

 In an earlier time I even wanted to be  an Anglican Priest. But I  decided against the idea early, before age 15 after giving it much thought.  Nevertheless, at the University of the West Indies I did read of   Religion in the Caribbean. I may not have done it as a course but I remembered reading a book by an anthropologist who did studies in the Caribbean on the subject.

 

So when I attempt to say or suggest things this is the kind of background from which I operate.
A British dentist said to me,once , in Anguilla, LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME REAL AFRICANS. It was a black couple and I was still green at self discovery, so I wanted to share some expletives as a response to his statement. I hope you can understand the emotive value of a statement like that to an individual who is from Trinidad and Tobago and grew up in the WAVE of the black power movement. You would have noticed that I did not lay any emphasis on the concept because although it did some good in my country. There was much that was not so good and I am happy that I was not swallowed up by most of their ideas. History always finds a way  to tell us of the correctness or errors of our past decisions. If we live long enough.


So a more mature understanding of the dentist's comments made me believe that he was more accurate than I wanted to believe. I am no African from the continent. My African influences were from Barbados-which was skewed more to Europe-UK (growing up we use to call the island LITTLE ENGLAND. My other African influences were from Tobago-skewed more to Africa ,but with a bit of French. Trinidad was the only piece of ground I knew. And please don't tell me any BS about other ethnic groups for comparison, because I am very  strong in my belief  and conviction to my heritage and ethnicity. And that is all grounded in the Caribbean.

The more I  interact with peoples of the Caribbean I know that when I get the opportunity to go to Kenya, I'll  be just visiting like most tourists do when they come to the Caribbean- i.e.,exploring all I can, to get a comprehensive view  of the country. So you see I am just digging up in me and my experiences and trying to completely comprehend them.


Those people who look like us on the continent demonstrated to us ( we students from the English Speaking Caribbean who look like them) that they did not want to link with us in our formation of a AFROCARIBBEAN student body on a campus of a UK University and they were the enlightened ones of their countries. I hope things have changed, with the young intellectuals from the continent,now.  But maybe they were right  ,at the time, because we of the Caribbean should attempt to strengthen the bonds in our path of the world before reaching out to others. I am no expert at the politics and the economics ,therefore I am addressing the socio-psychological .

Appreciate others ,and their contributions to the world. But don't deny our own people's contributions -e.g., Bob Marley, The Mighty Shadow(this great artist was earlier seen as "dark and demonic"and push the concept to the max) , the Mighty Sparrow, Winston Spree, Kitchener. All these people are from the Caribbean ,outside of my family  and are my influences -including the real father of my Nation-the ultimate historian. For it is he who pointed me to Cuba after reading one of his books that I got as a gift. 

 But what amazes me is that we still don't look inwardly for direction. This  always seem to come from the outside. In my book if you continually want to have  an identity crisis, keep looking  outside for your answers.  I learnt of this early from my parents. So, as one  who is  mainly of African descent ( exclamations always ring out when I state this) I know that ,the name my mother gave me had meaning and significance . She named me John, my father's name and yes I am much like him-even this photography thing is HE in me.  And she named me Trevor, the more popular one . This  is the one that  DRIVES  me.  She said  that it meant  trivia, simplistic, simplicity, small things, detail, and possibly perfection.  And if you know me you would know that  LITTLE  and SIMPLE things  get my attention, first .

  So I agree with the black power movement  in relation  to the importance of names. That they do  influence your being. But I also learnt  that you must consider CONDITIONS and CONTEXT in your understanding of almost everything.  You can imagine if  my mother  had decided to gave me a  great AFICAN NAME what would possibly be my issues of identification, I don't speak any African languages. I know only  some of the languages of the Caribbean.  And I shudder to think if the name  LYONS  was part of my family name.

 Yes, names are powerful.

  I am not bashing anyone, so please don't overly bash me. just understand that I am on a true path to Self Discovery and Identity.

 

 Others outside of my ethnicity have influenced me too.  But ,here,I concentrate  on the ones that look a bit, and more like me. Now take a look at the image again. If I did not mention in the keywords that these women were in Cuba. Check their outfits can you not mistake them as women of African religions in Trinidad and Tobago?  Is this  religious wear  from Africa or from the Caribbean?

My ancestors in their past quest to LIBERATE themselves through their BLOOD,SWEAT AND TEARS can rest , quietly , very assured that they did not waste their time on me. To them I am eternally grateful.


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