The Source Arts & Literature section highlights the work of our creative readers. All visual artists and creative writers are encouraged to share with us new works. Please see below for full submission guidelines.
My Carnival Wish
This is the time of year when many Virgin Islanders anticipate Carnival activities with great excitement. They look forward to hearing the latest calypsos, tasting mouth-watering local dishes, cheering for their favorite pageant contestants, and, of course, enjoying the parades.
For me, however, there is usually some measure of anxiety. (The same anxiety that I feel when I see what passes for acceptable attire for women and girls these days, but that is another story). Carnival in April follows March which is celebrated for some as International Women’s Month with International Women’s Day on March 8. During that time women’s abilities, achievements and innovations are highlighted.
Carnival, as I see it, and the parades in particular, put many women in a different spotlight. When you look down the parade route, you notice that the revelers are mostly women. Images show some of them very scantily dressed with gyrations and actions that mimic what takes place in the bedroom. (It’s the same thing with some of our local ads and music videos about these islands). Are we advertising sand, sea, and sex? I tend to wonder what aspect of our culture they are representing (apart from the obvious music). How does this relate to the fight for freedom and women’s place in history? Should it relate? I think so. One way to do this on the parade route is to have a theme that is expressed on banners and highlighted by costumes and role plays which relate to VI history and emancipation.
But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? I am absolutely certain that with creative thinking, we can imagine a Carnival scene that is (still) historically accurate, educational, and fun. Of course, Carnival is multi-faceted, and the costumes which speak of artistic excellence are no good without movement.
So, if you must wind, let it be about winding down the years of inequities that still plague our female gender.
And, when you bend down, you must bend and not break in the fight for equal rights and justice.
In your pushing back, push way back against the erroneous beliefs that as women we are fit to be beaten, raped, and trafficked.
If you expose, make your exposure about the missing pieces of history that hide the accomplishments and acts of heroism by our female counterparts.
Celebrate if you must, but celebrate to lyrics that uplift, unite and respect us.
And as you plan for “illuminating our culture for the world to see”, shine a light on women in VI history.
Sandra C. Bradley is a Source reader who loves to explore the power of words, the pits of an avocado and the peacefulness of nature.
Poetry and creative prose submissions are limited to 1,500 words and should include a brief bio of the writer. Visual art submissions should include at least one high-quality image or video and a very brief bio along with an artist’s statement that speaks to the inspiration of the work. The statement should include the title if there is one, the medium used and what the work means to you.
Please send submissions and questions to email@example.com.