Thursday, 02 August 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - The stage is set for the 2012 LIME Party Monarch competition but some contestants don't believe the weeks leading up to the event have been quite fair in terms of exposure and “rights”.
Supporters of reigning Jumpy Monarch Hard Knaxx have come out against what they claim is a matter of double standards and conflicts of interest on the part of the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) and its handling of musicians during the season so far.
A recent letter to the media penned by Annia Benjamin, who signs as a “Supporter for King Hard Knaax”, questions why the soca monarch was not booked for any pre-carnival shows and why the CDC failed to play its part in promoting the reigning monarch throughout the carnival season.
Benjamin described the situation as the “epiphany of disrespect towards our Soca Monarch King” and pointed out that at no time in recent memory has a soca monarch been treated in this manner.
As expected, the question of conflict of interests alludes to Kayode O’Marde, who holds the positions of Chairman of the CDC as well as manager for Tian Winter. Winter has managed to be in the lineup of almost every pre-carnival show for the season.
“I love Tian Winter to death. But I am very curious as to how it is not a conflict that his manager is also the chairman for CDC … My argument is simply considering that he manages a huge contender as well as the fact that there are so many other persons who could qualify for that said position. Does he himself not see a problem with his continued management?” the writer asked.
When contacted for a comment on the matter, O’Marde said he would not comment on the record, since the group promoting allegations of disregard on the part of the CDC regarding the reigning Soca Monarch are deliberately targeted.
The CDC Chairman explained, off the record, his thoughts on the matter but opted not to go public with those views.
The issue was first raised in the social media arena through the Facebook page WeAsel's What Really Grinds My Gear Group Therapy Page
where over 1666 Antiguans at home and abroad gather to vent on issues that concern them.
“There are too many factors that appear to be shady in the atmosphere and I hear absolutely no one publicly questioning the upper heads as to what exactly is going on? So let me permit someone, anyone to bring some sort of clarity to me,” the writer said.
In the meantime, those questioning the matter sought clarification on other issues, such as: Why haven't we seen CDC step to the forefront in ensuring that he (Hard Knaxx) was kept "involved" leading up to the opening of carnival? - Why are we not hearing his songs on the radio? - Why was he not on a float for the opening of carnival?
“I am utterly disgusted by the deliberate and blatant disrespect towards Hard Knaxx in an effort to (what I feel) cut him out. It amazes me that the so called love we had for him around this time last year vanished after his return from Trinidad. Suddenly his music is not appreciated, he is an apparent embarrassment and his win was a fluke," Benjamin said.
She went on to note her amazement at how “Antiguans talk and attack those persons that we consider not worthy enough".
Manager of Hard Knaxx Kem Hodge explained that the group and its management are of the opinion that the artiste has been sidelined away from being asked to perform.
“I don't know if it is an issue of prior bad management but we find it unfair that they have the same set of people on every show,” Hodge said.
Kem Hodge, who took over the management of Hard Knaxx some three weeks ago, said he would not rule out the issue of possible bad management in the past; but the principle still remains that (Hard Knaxx) is the reigning monarch who deserves due recognition.
Hodge also shied away from saying outright that the artiste, made famous by his “Kentucky” song, was deliberately overlooked.
“My concerns are also about the airplay. I don't think he is getting sufficient airplay as the king,” Hodge charged, adding that the fact that many people still don't know what Hard Knaxx is singing has largely to do with airtime.
“He performed last week at Jam Session and got the crowd. I don't know if it’s an issue with artistes collaborating with DJs to get airplay or what but if anybody thinks that they will just come and take up Hard Knaxx crown, they have to earn it,” Hodge declared.
With that, he revealed that the group is indeed pleased with the number 10 spot secured for this weekend’s LIME Party Monarch competition since its planned presentation will undoubtedly leave a lasting memory in the minds of supporters.
“It will be Hollywood meets Soca,” Hodge said. “I am confident that despite these challenges, (Hard Knaxx) will deliver a good show.”
Noting that the artiste’s challenges are beyond average, Kem Hodge maintains that the reigning Soca Monarch’s strength lies in his ability to perform - and the group will be using this ability to its fullest come this weekend.