Friday, January 26, 2007

Fiya Strikes Again in Trinidad

Another sad incident of what from now on I'll just refer to as the "Fiya Bun" phenomenon just took place in Trinidad. It's the kind of incident that, short of the gay victim being brutally beaten and hospitalized like the CBS reporter visiting St. Maartin earlier this year, just won't make major headlines.

Global Voices picked up a post on the incident from Jessica Joseph, a Trinidadian blogger. She reports:

"The brutal attack of Dutch national and male model Michael Brantjes during a photo shoot in Blanchisseuse, reported in the Thursday 4th January issue of the Guardian raises a lot of pertinent issues that need some deeper examination. According to the report, I quote, 'The beating, he (Michael Brantjes) said, might have stemmed from “how people might view a male model.' In addition the report went stated, 'Cosmetologist Kirk Thomas, who was also with Brantjes when the attack occurred, described the incident as unfortunate. Describing what happened as a 'hate crime,' Thomas said: 'I definitely know that it was that, a hate crime because in Trinidad male models are stereotyped in a particular way. People need to change their attitude.' cosmotologist at the photo shoot added.”

In Jessica's blog, she goes on to speculate about the dangers and controversy that could unfold on Elton John's upcoming visit to Trinidad. I'm not super-religious but I say, Lord grant traveling mercies on Elton John.

Since this is the first major violent backlash of "fiya bun" I've heard about coming from Trinidad, I want to raise the issues again. Is this about young insecure black men asserting their maleness against what they see as the influence of depraved Western values coming from Babylon? (See my earlier post, Chanting Down Babylon with Homophobic Chat.) Is the fiya spreading or are dance hall fans starting to turn away from the insensitivity of the Buju's, Beenie Mans and Sizzlas of the business? Love to hear your impressions, outrage, opinions, info about this latest.



Anonymous Felicity said...

Wasn't this an isolated incident? Therefore, I don't think it has to do with "community." Also, do we know how old the attackers were? They could have been middleage for all we know so maybe it wasn't "young insecure black
men." Finally, wasn't this tourist guy white? I mean, if he was a Dutch national and all... this attack may have also been about race...
these are just my thoughts on what I read...

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Gio said...

Well it may have been the only reported incident. Homosexuals have precious few rights in the Caribbean, unless they have enough money or power to buy rights. Very few gay people would report an assault because they know they would get not support and possibly only be further abused by the police. By all account the attacks shouted anti-gay slurs when they attacked, although I would not be surprised if race was a contributing factor.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous said...

I am often amused at the way we always try to paint the musicians as the primary bearers of fault in these situations. Almost as if the Caribbean loved gays before then "the Buju's, Beenie Mans and Sizzlas of the business" just came and brainwashed entire populations, or sections thereof, throughout the Caribbean.

5:32 PM  

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