Examining The History Of The Congo Man English Literature Essay

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In the words of Hollis Liverpool (Mighty Chalkdust), calypso "captures our whole lifestyle, history, social past. It's a reflection in song of our way of life." In 'the land of calypso,' Trinidad and Tobago, this has been the basis of this genre of music; nonetheless, it has flourished from the age of colonialism to the new millennium. Serving as an avenue for communication by the African slaves on the sugar plantations, calypso or 'kaiso' was the only form of conveying messages of contempt towards their white masters, protesting against slavery or even stating important occurrences and news, as talking was prohibited while they toiled. Influenced by French settlers in the 1780s calypso took the form of 'patois' or French-Creole; however, with a change in control means a change in language as well. With a transition to British rule English became the primary language within the colony; thus, by the nineteenth (19th) century English was projected in local calypso. By 1834, Emancipation or the abolition of slavery

'Congo man' by Mighty Sparrow encapsulates the feminist perspective, whilst communicating and evoking moral decadence in its lyrical content, as well as revealing extensive subjugation of the white aesthetic.

Known as the 'Calypso King of the World', Dr. Slinger Francisco, identified by his alias The Mighty Sparrow, has maintained his reign for over forty (40) years. He is a master of this feat, and his song 'Congo Man' ingeniously portrays crucial goings-on of the era in a seemingly humorous and inconsequential story-line; however, many tend to argue ferociously. According to radical feminists, the exploitation of women is primarily on the onus of the men. To a radical feminist, it is profoundly the men who have benefited from the subordination of women. In fact, women are seen to be exploited because they undertake unpaid labour for men carrying out childcare and housewives while being denied access to adequate positions of power and authority within society. Realistically as it may seem, society is sometimes viewed as a patriarchal society. From this point of view, men are the ruling class, and women the subject class. In true essence, The Congo Man blatantly depicts the exploitation of women; its language, lyrical content, sexual connotations and figurative meanings, and relevance to society. Moreover, the language of the calypso, not simply the words but the deeper language- the meta-language evokes prominent meanings noticeable to the human ear. The German scholar Leo Frobenius once proclaimed that in African cultures language did not, as in the West, serve only to communicate ideas, but also brought the imagination to life and enlivened the object world. This, from my opinion, is the façade coming to life through a performance-no longer the erasure of history, but the mask of history, a false history, being removed and through calypso our memory of a past heritage is animated. As evident in The Congo Man, The Mighty Sparrow, through the use of the vernacular or nation language, has sung the people's hopes and dreams, and actually has displayed the colonial masters in the background, totally opposed to their previous positions.

The Congo Man is comparable to St. Lucian playwright and poet Derek Walcott's poem "Laventille," as it embodies a state of amnesia; a deliberate lack of memory of one's past.

The past history of one's heritage continues to resonate with profundity through the rhythmic lines of calypso. Additionally, The Mighty Sparrow's The Congo Man does exactly that- more so exemplifying the status of the white woman as opposed to the glorification of the black aesthetic. In other words, this calypso places the white woman on the pedestal. He further reinforces this ideology with sexual exploitation of the female bodily form. There is no longer the deification of their own black beauty, while engulfing her in passion and love, however includes blatantly the use of the white representative of past power, hegemony, and authority. Certainly so, it is representative of the master/slave relationship so relevant to the Caribbean ideology and tribulations endured in the deepest recesses of the human mind.

Succinctly seduced with sexual innuendoes, The Congo Man elucidates woman as a sexual object. The language explicitly depicts a misogynistic world view where the female figure is described unashamedly as a sexual object to the Caribbean men. QUOTE LYRICS HERE. The history of the slave trade is once again represented in The Congo Man. For instance, the white women symbolize power, empowerment and passion, which are pivotal in enticing the black Caribbean man. On the other hand, the black Congo man now embodies the power, control and enthusiasm once possessed by the colonial masters. INSERT LYRICS HERE AND INCLUDE POST COLONIAL THEORY.

The Congo Man embodies a plethora of implications. Primarily evidential in The Mighty Sparrow's calypso is that he did not intend for a figurative meaning, so blatantly consumed with sexual innuendoes and the degradation of women. In the same light, such a calypso's main function is to entertain whilst highlighting societal issues, therefore the meaning that was established proved to be irrelevant to the calypsonian's motif and intention, as a result, it does not subscribe to the feminist theory.