A Massive Count?! Live Wire considers underlying issue as Gosein takes Rowley’s mudda for a ride

EPL Infrafred Sauna

It is crude, simple and catchy and it references a part of the female anatomy that has caused more men to be laid off in recent times than low gas prices.

Mr Live Wire is talking, of course, about Nermal “Massive” Gosein’s Carnival 2018 song “Rowlee Mother Count,” a song as empty and as meaningless as the criticism it has provoked.

If PNM Women’s League chair Camille Robinson-Regis and National Chutney Foundation president Dr Vijay Ramlal really believe Massive’s song is an insult to mothers across the country, then they must also think Lord Blakie was promoting animal cruelty with “Hold de Pussy” and the late Mighty Duke brought the weather forecasting business into disrepute with “Thunder.”

Photo: The cover photo for Nermal “Massive” Gosein’s controversial song, “Rowlee mudda count.”

If Arrive Alive was around in the 1980s, would they have condemned Drupatee’s “Lick Down Mih Nani?” Probably not.

It is getting to the point where, before attempting to start a sensible conversation, one must first ask all politicians to leave the room please.

It is not that Camille—and others—do not have a legitimate reason to be turned off by Massive’s song. It is just that when dishonesty has been your first language for long enough, your impulse to patronise supporters sidelines your ability to think.

Just to be clear, “mudda” talk has about as much to do with mothers as hot dogs have to do with canines. Which is why no school boy ever went home and told mammy: “Well, I had a great day but you should hear what Jason was saying about you… Do you know him?”

So if it isn’t demeaning to women, then what is wrong with “Rowlee Mother Count?”

Well, nothing…and everything!

Now Mr Live Wire has not written a calypso since Standard Five but I will hazard a guess that Massive’s song started with the chorus, which itself is hardly a work of art. Sadly, it only got worse from there.

Photo: Soca chutney singer Nermal “Massive” Gosein.

Had Rowley’s mother, for instance, counted the number of non-functioning national stadia in the country, even as the government looks to begin construction of a new one in Diego Martin, well, Massive might have been on to something.

If Rowley’s mother was counting the number of people murdered—a statistic as troublesome under this government as it was under the People’s Partnership—Massive’s offering might be worth a listen.

If Rowley’s mother was counting the number of times the PNM blamed its predecessors without proving its case where it counts or at least closing the loopholes that made misbehaviour possible in the first place, hoss, Massive might be headed for the Big Yard.

Instead, Massive starts and ends with an obscene, frustrated yelp that he impotently dresses up with a quizzical tale of Rowley’s mother falling victim to praedial larceny. And then he has the gall to demand the protection of artistic license.

If “Rowlee Mother Count” is art, then Anthony Garcia is a lumberjack.

The image of a woman in ‘blackface’ playing Rowley’s mother in Massive’s video further highlights the utter emptiness—moral and otherwise—of this offering. When even Sat Maharaj can’t defend you, there really isn’t much more to be said, is there?

Remarkably, amid the shrill and counter-shrieking, it was the Maha Sabha General Secretary who made the most sensible statement.

Photo: SDMS Secretary Sat Maharaj gesticulates.
(Copyright Power 102)

“I object to any song being offensive and I equally object to any speech that is offensive,” Maharaj told the Trinidad Express. “[…] If we intend to start pulling songs, then we have to start pulling some of the songs that went before, all the songs.

“I have no problems with calypsonians or chutney singers making political pronouncements in their songs, but when it crosses the line of good behaviour, of obscenity, then I raise objection and I also raise objection to people who conveniently are offended.”

Calypso and soca music are not inherently racist or sexist. But let’s be honest, for far too long, a racist and sexist fringe has found safe, comfortable lodgings there—like the grown man who won’t leave his parents home and is writing “don’t drink me” notes on his juice boxes right now as if he is in Alice in Wonderland!

It was just six years ago, after all, that Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins appeared in the Calypso Monarch finals singing about “Lick-bottom Africans.” Racist ideology is often shared in far subtler terms, though.

Consider Gypsy’s “Little Black Boy” song, which won him the Calypso Monarch crown in 1997.

“There was ah little black boy, ah black boy was he,

The boy when to school and come out duncy

Never learn how to read, never learn about math,

Never learn how to write, he never study bout that.

All he study was he sneakers, he sneakers and clothes

He learn how to dress and he learn how to pose

Now he can’t get no work, can’t get no job.

He decide to steal and he decide to rob.

But little black boy couldn’t last long at all;

The police put ah bullet though he duncy head skull…”

Photo: You mean to tell me nobody check to see if Gypsy mudda does count too?

Had Massive sung “Little Black Boy,” would he have been feted, cheered and begged for encores? Did Gypsy get away with it because, although he is a dougla, he had just enough Afro features to make his composition seem self-deprecatory rather than like racial profiling?

Can an artistic work be deemed either racist or acceptable based upon the race of the artist? And would that be progress or the opposite of it?

There is much that we have to talk about in Trinidad and Tobago as regards race, sex, class and even State-sponsored censorship—Gosein complained that he was warned of a possible financial backlash for his song by entities reliant on taxpayers’ dollars.

But it’s hard to get started without political fanatics jumping in to fog up the conversation.

And no, Camille, that was not a weather forecast.

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Lasana on a very serious and more substantive note, the tone of the calypsoes should send a plaintive warning about the issues and struggles in TT.

  2. Ironic that two of the four calypsonians so far mentioned “count” in their renditions on Dimanche Gras night.

    on Point No time for foolishness.

  4. Can you imagine if the CJ was invited to Ato tea party….they would have to ban the song too

  5. “Of course, it could have been worse. Sport Minister Darryl Smith might have called to offer couples therapy.” Lol Lasana, Why yuh so?

  6. sooooo anyone doing the cost accounting behind the CSM? id like to know where the real costs are

  7. Lasana, this whole flicking mess could have been avoided if we didn’t have this ridiculous custom of giving private entrepreneurs taxpayer money to promote Soca and Chutney Monarch competitions that they keep the profits of.

    But watch eh, almost NOBODY will acknowledge that because we prefer to create situations that inevitably lead to bachannal in Trinidad.

  8. First, “Massive” Gosein is allowed to compete in the Chutney Soca Monarch. Then the Ministry of Finance cancels sponsorship of the event.
    Does anyone think those two things are linked? Or not?

  9. Here’s the question… Can those two stories about Massive Gosein being allowed to compete in the Chutney Soca Monarch and the competition losing funding from NLCB be linked?

  10. Mr gosein would you please go to a primary school for the carnival season next year and sing your song along with the kids…..cro cro and sugar aloes and even bubbles did it.. after all it’s just political commentary

  11. “When they go low; u go high.”
    “Sticks and stones could break my bones, but words….”

  12. Do so don’t like so a bunch of hypocrites now the shoe on the other foot people bumping they gum what about all those songs that were song before degenerating other people they were shouting and clapping pure hypocrisy

  13. sing on brother, let the idiots continue to pontificate and contemplate on where they have brought us…

  14. Steeeeeups all yuh forget murder rate almost 500… a dead naked woman found yesterday…..steeeeups dis place

  15. Aye hear nah, all joke aside, people really calling Massive song a road march song. I’m not seeing radio djs giving that shit, ah mean song too much airplay. I guess he hadda depend on the goodwill of the road djs. Either way…….not happening!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Stueps, I still tryna figure out what all the hubbub is about. It’s a song. It will pass just like the others. Politicians stoking fires, meanwhile we have serious problems to address, the least of which is this song

  17. I don’t believe this shit everybody’s mother’s. Count!!!

  18. Does anybody see how the murder rate fir December alone is 50 and so many murders daily , the song is another distraction being used to deflect from a failing state

  19. Its ok for other calypspnians to sing about Panday Oma Kamla and d rest who are not PNM, but its not ok for someone to sing about PNM. How bias and unfair.

  20. Song have nothing to do with Rowley mother..

  21. We know your History shit stain.. Your father is your brother.. You in bread . talk bout your mother/sister.. Dress up a pig any how you want. It is still a pig.. You hater.. You have to walk with that (hate) in your chest.. I am sure it makes you a better human being.. NOT.. You big peace a shit

  22. Possible the comment of the day… Arguably the perfect counterbalance to the PNM Women’s League’s response, which pretends that mothers are under attack. Both are amusingly dishonest in my opinion.

  23. You said that a boy wouldn’t tell his mother that ah boy in school was talking about her…… But a boy like me would have gotten into a fight if a boy even think about my mother… Big man thing

    • Lasana Liburd

      My belief is it is a phrase to get under the skin of the person it is directed at. That’s why you will tell someone that at a traffic light although you don’t know if they have a mother or not or if their relationship with their mother is good or not. It is not literally an insult to the person’s mother.

  24. This is a backward and stupid song just like all the others you mentioned. People seem to like mediocrity. Hence the reason why this is even a topic.

  25. Only a historical and cultural retard would use the ‘black face’ in 2017 and not expect a serious backlash.. Massive Gosine better be glad that he is safely tucked away in TnT. In other parts of the world he would have to go into hiding.

  26. the song have Noting bad comparing to what those others calypsonians sings

  27. I also believe that this is the level of Massive intelligence.

  28. I believe the song represents the tireless effort of a mother working to provide for her family. It is not demeaning to mothers but very uplifting.

  29. I think this whole country going mad

  30. Sing your song bro and forget them black jacket white jacket hypocrites

  31. Let us pray for a better Trinidad&Tobago.

  32. And yeah, what about A + V Drilling and all the other bullshit.

  33. I’ve just read all of these comments. The song is wrong and the countless songs before it are wrong. Yes they say calypso is an artform, and chutney as well. However, this goes way back. Sparrows “Ah never eat ah WHITE meat yet”. This is racism at it’s finest, and from how long ago. I’m looking for someone to give us studio time, and I’m bringing in a big name singer, and guess what people, we’re going to do a remake of Sparrows song. “Ah never eat ah BLACK meat yet”. Yuh think ah WHITE person singing this song and switching every white word with black, and vice-versa. I would be considered the most racist person around, and furthermore, the song will never make the airwaves. So Trinidad and Tobago, yuh really can’t have yuh cake and eat it too. It’s either a total ban and censorship of all of these song’s, or no censorship at all.
    And while we’re at it, what’s the story with these women’s groups. Silent on so many things including Rowley’s utterances disrespecting women and Balgobins legal issue within Angostura and the retired judge making a lone decision. Just some food for thought.

  34. Lest yiu forget (or didn’t know)Every day , Every day is Mother’s day

  35. The song is nonsense, the effort to write it was lazy and all who find it entertaining really need to ask themselves why are they so easily amused. No matter which part of the political fence you choose to sit this song is nonsense. And many others that were song before were also nonsense. Lack of imagination.

  36. For those who are concerned about principle,values etc. All these years when calypsonians were singing about other people u had nothing to say.in fact u saif it was d art form.now what happen to d art form.this had to happen .i hope we can learn and move forward.

  37. I love Massive Gosine song. Its just a chutney for god’s sake. Lighten up people. This is Trinidad and its a freedom of speech and song country.

  38. This is the art form. For those who dont like it. Just replace rowlee with kamla. Ah sure u will like it now.

  39. Lasana I never knew Gypsy was a dougla I always thought it was jerry curls when I saw him last that’s how it looked his hair that is!!! Lol

  40. I still say those women groups are a set of hypocrites.

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