Reigning Virgin Gorda calypso monarch, Sistah Joyce is disappointed that she will not be able to perform her song 'Honourable Man of Power', her tribute to Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal, Opposition Leader and 9th District Representative.
Sistah Joyce spoke with BVI Platinum News about her decision to perform despite being among a group of calypsonians who have signed a petition against some rules being enforced by the calypso sub-committee of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee.
The sub-committee, headed by Marvin Williams, has asked that calypsonians perform two new songs at the upcoming show set for July 28 at the Festival Grounds in Road Town. Previously, calypsonians were allowed to perform identical songs from the Virgin Gorda show in Road Town.
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Sistah Joyce said the decision about the two new songs means that she would not be able to perform her tribute to Hon. O'Neal. she is now planning a separate show to present the song to the long-serving representative.
"I am disappointed because I had even felt like they working against me how now I win they come up with these ideas. I told MB [Marvin Blyden, Chairman of the VI Festivals and Fairs Committee] they could have waited until after this show; sit down with the calypsonians and come up with their set of rules. I am very disappointed that I had to come up with two new songs because I wanted to do back my tribute to Ralph and my aim is to have a big show on my own, presenting Hon. Ralph O'Neal with my song 'Man of Power' and who don't like it too bad," Sistah Joyce stated.
Several calypsonians, including the reigning two-time monarch, Luther B, are planning to boycott the show because of the unresolved issues, including consolation prizes for singers who do not make the finals at the elimination show.
While the Festivals and Fairs Committee is yet to release the names of the calypsonians who will be performing later this month, Sistah Joyce confirmed that she will perform in Road Town.
"I signed it [the petition] along with my queries and I am going to perform. I am going to perform because so far I am loving the art form and I have a message to put out there. Everybody want to win a car, but at the end of the day the judge's decision is final. My main focus is that I have been singing reggae for years and never really got the strong feedback that I am getting, especially from Government people who are meeting me and telling me about how much they are enjoying the lyrics, so that has inspired me more," Sistah Joyce related.
She stated that people will always talk, but she does not see her position as a betrayal to the art form and other calypsonians.
"I can't sit down and study about betrayal. I signed the petition and I let Luther B know that I am going to perform. Luther did not tell anybody not to perform. I signed the petition because there were certain things that I did not agree with, which I let MB know; Luther know and Marvin Williams know," Sistah Joyce stated.
She does not agree with giving a consolation prize for the elimination show to persons who do not make the finals, but stands firm with the rest of the concerns raised by some calypsonians.
According to Sistah Joyce, she does not agree that the monarch should perform for free at festival events when there is an admission price being charged.
"I spoke with MB and Marvin [Williams] and they clarified that for me, letting me know that if they are having a function and they ask the monarch to perform, then they don't expect for you to charge them. I told them that if it's a function that is charitable then fine, but once you are paying money at the gate I am not performing for free. I will not stigmatize my little calypso career that I have because of no petition. Who want to get vex because I signed it and I am going to sing, I could care less. The two new songs I am not for that, but I went ahead and got sponsorship for my songs," Sistah Joyce noted.
According to the monarch, it has been very difficult getting sponsorship, but she has produced one song and finalizing the second song.