Brian Mac Farlane and the Controversy of Mas

His 2017 presentation, Cazabon: The Art of Living was supposed to celebrate our heritage architecture and the period when those buildings, like the members of the Magnificent 7 were built.

The problems were present from the get go. Those buildings were constructed in the 20th century. While George Brown, the architect who designed the fret work that has become the hallmark of the gingerbread houses moved to Trinidad before Cazabon died, they had little interaction. So the association is messy.

brian-madness
WTF Brian?

But what really upset some people was the section La Belle Dame and Garçon de la Maison. The beautiful woman and the house boy. It glamourised a relationship where one of the partners, in this case the overly sexualised houseboy, wasn’t an equal partner, and probably couldn’t refuse the relationship if he wasn’t interested. Regardless of how beautiful his mistress may have been.

Earlier this week, the band leader held a Facebook live discussion where he apologised for causing offense and dropped the section.

You can read his statement in full here and his website www.Macfarlanemas.com is now live.

I had an interesting conversation with a lecturer in Carnival Studies about this controversy, Trinidad Carnival’s history and society. I also spoke to the leading expert on Cazabon about this. I’m working on that piece now, and hope to have it ready for broadcast soon.

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Dance Pioneer Beryl McBurnie’s House Destroyed

A portion of Trinidad and Tobago’s artistic community is up in arms about the demolition of Beryl McBurnie‘s house, a property that was shortlisted by the National Trust — the organisation charged with safeguarding the country’s heritage sites — to be considered for protected status. The house was bulldozed to the ground on September 16.

Read the rest on Global Voices.