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| | |-+  St. Lucia Carnival Photo Drama
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Author Topic: St. Lucia Carnival Photo Drama  (Read 5406 times)
Iniko Ujaama
Posts: 528

« on: July 30, 2014, 09:52:27 PM »

This was the front page of one of the local newspapers in St. Lucia following the Carnival. Naturally it caused a lot of discussion and sold lots of papers. Apart from those who felt it inappropriate because young children could be exposed to the naked breasts of the lady in the pic, others felt that it was maliciously putting the lady on display etc.. I did not find the reasoning behind posting that particular pic on the part of the publisher convincing. Below I am posting an article and video on the publisher's response and another link to a response by the Media Association and another Carnival band leader.  What I also found interesting was how easily persons in discussion the issue would take jabs at the appearance of the lady and her breasts etc.
“They so offended by the picture of a girl and they don’t even recognise…simply because they saw the woman’s nipples, ugly as they were too."
“Sorry ....but this is not a picture of  ‘a young lady.’ This is a picture of a not-so-young woman past knowing; past caring; past seeing; past feeling; past mattay; past mash up; past even being cared about by her fellow revelers who allowed her to be so exposed."
So here are a few articles that came out on the issue. Views?

“That was my protest against ‘Hurt It’” – Publisher Rick Wayne responds to front-page picture

Publisher of the St. Lucia Star Newspaper Rick Wayne has responded to criticisms regarding a front-page photo that appeared on the Saturday, July 26 edition in which a woman’s breasts were exposed, stating that “it was my protest against Hurt It”.

Wayne told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an exclusive interview today that it is not the first time that his newspaper published a picture that caught the attention of its readers.

“The Star has always put on its cover, some of the ugliest things happening in the country,” Wayne said. “We are talking about ‘Hurt It’ like idiots while our women are raped and the cases never come to court because they are scared, because the laws are not on their side…women and children who get raped, murdered and forgotten.”

“I went to Vieux Fort during the weekend and all the kids were jumping up and singing ‘Hurt It’. Hurt what?” he questioned.

The newspaper publisher opined that the country’s moral fabric is quickly deteriorating. He said politicians are silent about the increasing number of rape cases, even though it is now becoming more rampant. The behaviour portrayed by the woman, he said, is what leads to these issues and causes social problems to increase.

Asked whether he believes the move to have that particular picture published was unethical, Wayne told SNO: “Ethics had nothing to do with it. When you go ethical and unethical these are valued judgments that are meaningless to anybody. What would happen if the girl would have broken the laws of obscenity in the country and that is all that matters yah know…our personal values and judgment…who gives a sh**.”

He believes that the woman should have been arrested for indecent exposure.

“They so offended by the picture of a girl and they don’t even recognise…simply because they saw the woman’s nipples, ugly as they were too. I knew she was not charged with obscenity, I knew that thousands of kids were looking on. I knew there were hundreds of cameras, I knew TV cameras were on her, I knew she was on the internet around the world and I knew that she knew what she was doing and I knew she wore that costume having checked with it at home.

“Everybody who was at the Carnival knew it. She jumped around and didn’t seem to care. Newspapers don’t invent moralities for people, newspaper report what is there, and what that picture depicts very clearly is how far we have come forward or backward in what is called the main cultural showcase of St Lucia,” Wayne stated.

“The reactions to the picture is palpable proof of the ignorance and hypocrisy of both the people who commented and the press people who think they can make a story out of it and underestimate me into believing that I did not have calculated reason for putting that picture there. And the calculated reason is this: it was totally in tune with what Carnival was about it was not fabricated and served as a great illustration of attitude both to carnival and the perceived morality of the country.”

- See more at: http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/that-was-my-protest-against-hurt-it-publisher-rick-wayne-responds-to-front-page-picture/#sthash.nEjtknI6.dpuf

Media association president says Star photo not illegal, says woman should have kept her goods in place -

“He explained his rationale for it…whereas I would not necessarily agree with a decision to publish such a photo…my personal view is that I would not publish a picture like this, however, I have to respect the individuality, and I have to respect the judgment of the Star for publishing it,” Reynolds told SNO.

“There are certain things that might be uncomfortable to us and might be distasteful …and might be crude and even unethical but at the end of the day it is not illegal, and with the publication of this photo, I do not think that it is illegal,” he added.

As to whether he believes the photo may carry a pornographic element, Reynolds said that he does not believe so.

“For something to be pornographic, it has to… go into something that is sexual. I do not think that the intention of the Star and the public was to sexualise this individual. However, I thought what the intent was in depicting that photograph was to show what our cultural expression has evolved to,” he said.

See more at: http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/media-association-president-says-star-photo-not-illegal-says-woman-should-have-kept-her-goods-in-place/#sthash.NwnNzr1j.dpuf

Dark Nipples of De Stress?
by Rick Wayne

It begins with a sneaky-sneaky recommendation to his president on Monday morning from a leading Carnival Bands Association official, lawyer, tourist board honcho and the holder of several of other prestigious portfolios, including leader of a popular carnival band. Here now, his letter to Sonia Sifflet:

“Dear Madam President: Under the presidency of Adrian Augier it was made very clear that the negativity of carnival would not be highlighted as the norm and the same stated by you. In light of this, Red Unlimited is requesting of the Carnival Bands Association a statement condemning the publication of a young lady’s breasts popping out of her bra.

“One can clearly see it was a wardrobe malfunction and one should not seek to take advantage of something so unfortunate. Moreover, portray this as being Saint Lucia Carnival. Are there no restrictions on what can be published? Is that what the government grants licenses for? We hope that the association and indeed the managers of CMPA would join you in putting out a joint statement condemning such, which only serves to ridicule carnival.”

The letter, published online, was written by lawyer and reveler Thaddeus Antoine.

There has been no joint statement of condemnation from CBA president Sonia Sifflet. But by Monday afternoon Adrian Augier, who needs no introduction, had once again placed on record his own views on the route that has brought carnival to its present place. Under the heading “Dark Nipples of Distress,” this is what Augier wrote:

“Dear Thaddeus and Fellow Members: When, as CBA president I took a definitive stand against overt vulgarity in the carnival music, I don’t remember much of a supporting statement from fellow band leaders or the carnival community in general. I certainly don’t remember any other body publicly declining to play offensive songs or refusing to feature offending artistes. I was cited as a bourgeois prude, a hypocrite and other things no doubt.

“So if we allow vulgarity on the radio and in our streets, why not also in our newspapers? At any rate, while I am sympathetic to the exposed individual (and note well that her face has been strategically cropped out) it seems to me that our outrage is just a little misplaced. To be honest, we must ask ourselves what is it about the picture that really offends us?

“Sorry Thaddeus, but this is not a picture of  ‘a young lady.’ This is a picture of a not-so-young woman past knowing; past caring; past seeing; past feeling; past mattay; past mash up; past even being cared about by her fellow revelers who allowed her to be so exposed. Perhaps, in the words expressed publicly by one male observer from Martinique, Fam Sent Lisi Fini.

“Remember the soca song ‘NUMB?’ Well this is the accompanying image. You see, the Carnival is truly just a candid reflection of us. Nothing more, nothing less. So if that is what we are selling as the ‘new’ carnival, then let us not be surprised to see it front page. Meanwhile, most of us are selling costumes far more scandalous than this. (See accompanying picture on Pg 9.)

“So what message are we really sending? Get on nasty . . . but don’t print photos of us getting on nasty? I think we need to wake up to reality. We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and recognize that, unfortunately, this is what our carnival has become. In the absence of policy and practice from the powers that be and the powers that wannabe (you know yourselves!) this is it.

“It has been said repeatedly by those in the know that the traditional bands are passé, behind the times, in need of new thinking. Well here is your image of the future already upon us, ushered along by a lack of enlightened policy and the strategic frustration of all that is wholesome about carnival. How can it be that the most creative elements of carnival—Kings and Queens, Junior Mas and Pan—where creative growth can occur—are the least respected aspects of the art from? Because they don’t make money?

“Well, sex sells. And breasts sell. And spider panties sell. So by all means let us sell what sells! Now look at almost any photo or any footage of the festival and check the boredom and disgust on the faces of the spectators. That is your audience. That is your taxpayer. Despite the hype and spin, the people sense that the carnival has become something dark and sinister, and empty as this woman’s purple bra cups.

“But that is your market. So you gonna love it or not? In the eyes of the public vulgarity is exactly what our bands are selling. This is exactly why there is no more money for carnival . . . and nary a sympathetic voice out there to say otherwise. Wake up and smell the music; it also stinks. And by association, so do we all, because that what we dance to.

“‘The ultimate carnival experience’ is exactly what Rick Wayne has captured here: meaningless costumes, the skimpier the better, drunkenness, wanton vulgarity . . . Anything can happen and it’s okay. But for God’s sake don’t print the pictures? Rick must rightfully be laughing at us all. Take a good look, people. This is the future of your festival. Is this not what you wanted? Carnival, Trini-style? Rio-style?

“But rest assured, Trinidad and Rio are spending big bucks to preserve the creative, traditional, the authentic, the cultural well-spring of their carnivals, even as the nakedness finds the eager lens of the cheap-thrill seeker. Now Ash Wednesday reach we realize that this is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s mother, somebody’s sister, somebody’s teacher?

“So Rick is wrong to bring these dark nipples of truth to light? Perhaps The STAR has merely taken a picture of our carnival and thrown it back in our faces. Recommended reading: article in the same newspaper by Toni Nicholas. “And while we’re at it, let’s ask ourselves if the two images featured here are really any different? As a member of the public I find them equally ‘revealing’ except that the orange exposure is no accident. Definitely no malfunction there, right?”

It is absolutely what the eye of the beholder can see. All we set out to do was our job: photograph CARNIVAL HURT IT! We did not dress the performers, neither did we choreograph their moves. As for those who say certain pictures do not belong on the front pages of newspapers, we say they are as entitled to their views as our editors are entitled to theirs. Just as carnival revelers are free to jump and prance in costumes that free up their goodies and put them on public display before thousands at home and millions via the internet.

Wardrobe malfunction? What wardrobe? And even if those now famous unidentified mammaries were accidently put on display, since when have photographers been banned from photographing accidents, whether involving speeding vehicles, drunk drivers or black nipples run amuck?

For the record, not one word have I said about the morality of carnival or of the owner of those breasts. After all, carnival is bacchanal, we are told. And since when has bacchanal been synonymous with morals?

An online article by a reporter who interviewed me on the phone obviously did not quite get what I told him when he suggested my placing that photograph on The STAR’s front page was “unethical.” Neither did I consider his opinion “valued judgment,” as he wrote: “Value judgment” was the phrase I used. Big difference!

Neither did I say I was protesting against the road-march winning “Hurt It.” What I tried to get across to the reporter was that my decision to publish had little to do with the unidentified individual behind the exposed breasts; it had nothing to do with her morality. The picture served only to suggest what Carnival Hurt It was about.

I also told the reporter, as food for thought: “Maybe the woman on The STAR’s front page was staging her own personal protest against what carnival has become, in the same way that Bruce Willis’ protesting daughter had recently gone topless while shopping in LA. Maybe I, too, was protesting against the ‘Hurt It’ song.”

I repeat; that was not the case. Protest was the last thing on my mind when I decided to feature the picture as I did. I was merely handing the oh-so-ethical online reporter some food for thought.

The face of CARNIVAL HURT IT deserved front-page status—and once again The STAR delivered!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Xvn9d1Skc - Publisher Rick Wayne
Posts: 99

« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2014, 04:58:45 AM »

      I don't like what the Star did. 

      How can you say that you printed a picture of a female reveller with her breasts temporarily and accidentally exposed, next to the caption in blazing red print "HURT IT!" then claim that the picture was meant to be a protest against misogynist lyrics of the song?  How does it compute that the manner in which the female body is portrayed juxtaposed against that phrase would automatically be recognised and understood to be a protest about violence against women?  I would say that its actually calculated to do the opposite, to further incite violence against women.  He goes on to describe aspects of the woman's body in a manner that reflects his own desire to denigrate, "...her nipples, ugly as they were too" he says.  What does that mean?  Is he attempting to sanitize himself of taking any salacious pleasure in how her body was portrayed by his newspaper?  He talks about how the issue of rape is such a concern to him then rambles on to discuss morality in Carnival and how the woman should have been arrested for exposing herself and for playing her mas.  He contradicts himself here since his earlier claim was that the use of the photo was to be a protest about violence against women.  Was his pictorial display then an attempt at censure for her "indecent exposure?"  Punishment of the female for an accidental exposure during the heat of the masquerade?  A form of shame he is attempting to inflict and justify with patriarchal notions of how a woman ought to conduct herself according to the norms of this "morality" he references?  His later article does nothing to clear the conflict since he seems to be backpedalling on the first report somewhat, claiming that he was misquoted and in fact published the photo to illustrate what Carnival Hurt It was about.  Again, this doesn’t wash.  The cover clearly shows what he did, he did not use the phrase “Carnival Hurt It.”   The manner in which he posed the photo next to the phrase would suggest that his intent was calculated and inflammatory.

      I don't think that the response of the media association is any better.  Rather than treat with the cover and the use of the photo in the correct context instead it seems to have gotten swept up in the patriarchal wave of female standardization and the fixation seems to be on the fact that a woman's body has been exposed outside of the prescribed (patriarchal) modes allowed...the Media Association President even goes so far as to state -

quote- "Many people have not spoken about the responsibility of the young lady to carry herself appropriately and to ensure that even though she is going through carnival [and] that this is the costume of her band that her goods are [kept] in place and they’re not out of place where they are exposed to every Tom, Dick and Harry to have a feasting…” he said."

      What is "the responsibility of the young lady to carry herself appropriately?"  The idea again is being projected that a woman must conform to a specified standard of behaviour subject to the approved mould of morality or else men are justified for doing what they want with said imagery?  Is that ok?  Seems to me that the image is what is being vilified rather than the use of the image by the publisher. 

      CBA official Thaddeus Antoine offers an equally baffling response to the issue.  He declared in writing that the image is a "negative" and ought to be condemned but not because of the manner in which the publisher used the image.  Its negative because it portrays a female reveller's breasts being exposed and therefore this opens the St Lucia Carnival to "ridicule."  I'm wondering if a woman's breast being exposed to feed a baby would have inspired the same fear of regional/international "ridicule"?   

      Adrian Augier also takes several swipes/gripes at the morality of the woman in the photo.  Nowhere am I seeing that these men are addressing the issue within the context of someone exploiting an image of a female in a manner that's tainted with misogyny and calculated to demean her and/or her gender.  I think they've gotten caught up in their own conditioning on how a woman ought to behave, how she ought to portray herself and carry herself "appropriately," so much so that they have failed to see how their own behaviour is the real problem in how women continue to be victimised.  Would a similar societal revulsion have been evoked if it had been a picture of a woman with her breasts exposed as she breastfed an infant?  Would Augier's article have equally been headed "Dark Nipples of De Stress?"

      Personally I see nothing wrong with the image in of itself.  My problem is with the manner in which it has been used and exploited to further a male agenda of female conditioning. 
Iniko Ujaama
Posts: 528

« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 07:21:04 AM »

In the discussion of this issue so much attention was being brought to peripheral issues and the discussion itself was being used for some or other to pursue other agendas such as between the Carnival bands and their idea of mas' and the "image of St. Lucia" outside.

What I found most striking about the discussion is the importance given to the idea of whether the publisher's actions  were legal in terms of how some people reasoned about the appropriateness of his actions. It is assumed that the law is not simply the measurement of appropriate and not appropriate in the eyes of the State but is the ultimate measure and basis for determining these things with no history. Notwithstanding that laws arise from and are often supported by(and support) long-held value systems and prejudices.

Many of these values and prejudices come into play in how the issues was dealt with, what was ignored or brushed over and the general disregard for the female in the photo.

This is the song from which the phrase came and I think the publisher very off in his interpretation of the phrase. In my view it carries the message of most soca, which is rum and wine.

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