KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — The official ten days of Vincy Mas 2011 began on Friday with Shernelle “Skarpyon” Williams defeating 15 other artiste to win the Ragga Soca Monarch title at Victoria Park.
It was Skarpyon’s second title this year, having won the raga soca segment of the Best New Song Competition during the launch of Vincy Mas on May 7.
In the show Friday night, Skarpyon dethroned Delroy “Fyahman” Hooper and forced Oronde “Bomani” Charles into second place.
Lornette “Fire Empress” Nedd was third in the show that soca artiste Luta told a local radio station “left much to be desired” and which had Jamaican dancehall artiste Busy Signal as the featured artiste.
Skarpyon joins in winners row Miss SVG 2011 Aviar Charles, 23, who is preparing to take on nine other regional beauties in the Miss Carival pageant next Friday, having won the Miss SVG pageant on May 28.
Also during the launch of Vincy Mas, Aurella “Queen B” Beache won the calypso segment of the Best New Song Competition with her song “Protest Fuh Dat” while Armstrong “Strong” Williams won the soca segment with “Tie Me”.
Junior Carnival will be staged today with the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) coordinator of shows, Anthony Dennie promising that the show, which begins with a mini fair, will be a good one.
The other events on the Vincy Mas programme of activities are: Junior Pan Fest, on Sunday; Junior Calypso/Soca, on Tuesday; Fire Fete, on Wednesday; Panorama, on Thursday; Miss Carival, on Friday; Soca Monarch, on Saturday; Dimarche Gras, on July 3; J’ouvert and Evening Street Party, on July 4; and, Mardi Gras, on July 5.
Vincy Mas 2011 has not been without its controversies with some singers being criticized for thinly-veiled sexual content as calypso and soca critics say many artistes have not mastered the art of double entendre.
CDC chairman Dennis Ambrose has said he is concerned about the lyrics of some songs produced for this year’s festival.
The CDC has also said that some songs, because of their smutty lyrics, would not be played at carnival events catering to youth.
However, the CDC has not publicly announced which songs have been blacklisted, fuelling public debate and controversy.
Police Commissioner Keith Miller has also expressed concerns about some songs, specifying Godfrey Dublin’s “Any Number Cud Play”.
Miller said that while the song is well written, it endorses inappropriate behaviour by young Vincentians.
He said that while a girl may reach the age of sexual consent — 16 years — there are other issues involved.
“I believe that certain songs should be confined to a calypso tent and some are just not suited for the airwaves,” Miller said.
Further, the National Council of Women has said that it “deplores the continued degradation of women” by the calypso and soca art forms.
The council said it wants to engage the print and electronic media in education and training towards portrayal of positive images of women.
It further said it would redouble its efforts in the campaign to address violence against women, particularly with regard to the age of consent for sexual activity.
Meanwhile, the police have said that it will ensure the safety of carnival goers.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Jonathan Nichols, the police representative at the CDC, said that the constabulary has ensured significant police presence at all shows, including rural carnival activities, and that the police will continue to do their part to ensure safety for all during the festival.