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Festival becoming less Emancipation & VI Culture- Natalio D. Wheatley

Radio talk show host Natalio D. Wheatley has lamented that the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival is becoming less about emancipation and Virgin Islands culture. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Natalio D.Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru is not happy that some expats go to the Festival village with flags of their countries. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Natalio D.Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru is not happy that some expats go to the Festival village with flags of their countries. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Expatriates who show up with their flags in support of artists from their native land, international artists performing every night, the celebrations taking on more of a music festival and carnival nature than that of a cultural emancipation celebrations, are some of the thorns in radio talk show host Natalio D. Wheatley’s side.

Wheatley made the remarks during his talk show ‘Things to Talk’ on ZBVI 780 AM, on Wednesday August 17, 2016.

While he gave kudos to those involved in the VI Festival and Fairs Committee for their work, he pointed out that there were some suggestions that he wanted to be put forward, since he feels they are not being done in the right manner.

“I’m disheartened by the fact that Festival has nothing to do with emancipation and it is increasingly becoming less and less about BVI culture and I am disturbed by that,” Mr Natalio D.Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru said.

He noted the model that is being adopted is that of a music festival to get people to come to the village, and various artists are imported with the expectation of persons from the islands that the artists come from to come out to support.

“When they come, they come with their flags, waving their flags which I’m not sure it is appropriate at somebody’s emancipation celebration just as it would not be appropriate at somebody’s independence or anything like that. And then when the artist finishes their performance they [expatriates] leave the village and they go home because they pay their money to see the artist, because they didn’t really come to celebrate emancipation. I think that’s a mistake, I think emancipation should be the centerpiece of the celebration.”

What’s more, he noted, no mention is made of emancipation during the performances.

Local culture should be in forefront

In addition, Mr Wheatley thinks that during the celebrations, the VI culture should be placed high on the agenda, with local competitions like the peas soup completion, junior calypso competitions, among others, to stimulate local involvement.

With regards to the international acts, the talk show host said he is not proposing that it is completely eradicated, rather, have one night for international acts.

“It should be about emancipation and ask people to come out to celebrate freedom as opposed to hearing a band,” he noted, adding that the government should invest in their artists to reduce the dependence on international artists.

35 Responses to “Festival becoming less Emancipation & VI Culture- Natalio D. Wheatley”

  • wize up (18/08/2016, 09:00) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Leadership matters.....
  • Shaking My head (18/08/2016, 09:05) Like (13) Dislike (29) Reply
    There's a saying , an opinion js like an a**hole, everybody has one. That saying is clear here. This boy just talk, talk, talk. If you so "care" about the many things in your country that you ever so often criticize, what are you going to do to do your part to change them???

    It's so easy to get on the air and air hot mess!! Volunteer, become a member of the committee ,lend your voice and understand yours ain't the only one leaders need to listen to.

    I sick of you and alllllllllllll the others , just talking a holding tank full of FECES and not doing a dam thing to make things any better!!!!!!!!

    I need to go to the bathroom.
    • wize up (18/08/2016, 10:33) Like (12) Dislike (6) Reply
      @ shaking my head: there was a saying back then that mouth talk dont do hand work...some us keep getting on radio also tv wth a set of mouth talk criticizing everything....some of us with all of this mouth talk should place their name on the ballot and run for public office....sick of these talk shops night after night and some of them that are doing so much talking were in the position back then but did nothing to better the BVI,NOW the horse out the stable them now looking to close the door; set of waste just pulling down the territory with a bunch of stupid talk
    • @Shaking my Head (18/08/2016, 12:39) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
      I wished I could of liked your comment more than twice. You are on point.
    • @Shaking my Head (19/08/2016, 09:31) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      He is a member of one of the committees. Additionally, he does a lot to help. It is obvious you don't know him
  • son of the soil (18/08/2016, 09:06) Like (17) Dislike (5) Reply
    We are adopting every one else's culture and killing our own. As a matter of fact, they didn't even wanted our own leader of the opposition to speak on the stage. I think sowande is correct in saying that it is a music fest. A man who hardly knows about our culture is in charge so i don't expect anything better.
  • cay (18/08/2016, 09:12) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    With island man as the minister what i expect?
  • Okay? (18/08/2016, 09:14) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
    So what does he suggest? Is he willing to take the lead to 'bring culture back' as they love to say? Look at these guys' lives vs the nonsense they preach on TV/Radio and you will just shake your head and laugh. So he doesn't like the expats eh? So who he deh wid?
    • Daisy (19/08/2016, 08:45) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Do you think Myron will allow him to get involved. Look at what he did to Fraser. Myron has dictator type qualities.
  • I'm in agreement... (18/08/2016, 09:18) Like (10) Dislike (4) Reply
    ...up to the part where government should invest in artists. The onus should be on artists to produce quality material and have a performance worth seeing.

    The stuff about putting the emancipating in the forefront, I very strongly agree. There is little to no mention of it being an emancipation festival, save for the mention of the name. Nobody says anything about when the proclamation was read, by whom, where, nothing. I'm in partial agreement about the flags bit, simply because I wouldn't want anyone telling me not to wave my BVI flag anywhere, but I also agree that if we're celebrating our emancipation, it shouldn't be anything about representing your country.

    These are some really valid points he's making, it's just for the powers that be to show some gumption and at least open it to discussion...knowing our leaders, and dare I say, the people of the community, you're going to write off this article and the details of it, simply because of who made the comments publicly. And that's not right, cause Sowande speaks with a lot of passion and truth. Even if there are times we differ in opinions, I respect him a great deal. And you guys should as well.
  • Really (18/08/2016, 09:24) Like (7) Dislike (15) Reply
    dude u for real sit u backside down u are the one who do not support your own .changing your name what u ashame of u heritage strupez
    • @Really (18/08/2016, 10:37) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
      what does he changing his name has to do with you or being ashamed of his heritage/ Its what he wants to be called.
    • Really? (18/08/2016, 15:00) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Why did you change your name from Stu--d A--H--e?
  • Strupez (18/08/2016, 10:11) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    All ah ayo trying to down play the man, then why ayo don't vote for him so that he could prove ayo wrong?
  • Yes (18/08/2016, 10:13) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    So why he ain't gah ah lokal gyal?
  • vincyman (18/08/2016, 10:47) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
    Mr Natalio D.Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru please answer this question WHY LOCAL always leaving the island when there is festival time? Don't blame the EXPATS for the EVOLUTION of THE EMANCIPATION CELEBRATIONS, blame the committee for turning it a MONEY MAKING VENTURE and the young tolans gravitating and wanting CARNIVAL Style SHOW TO COME HERE..NOT because we(expats) are living here that don't mean we cant rep where we come from around festival,we all were EMANCIPATE FROM SLAVER.Mr Natalio D.Wheatley WHEN U GO LABOR DAY in NYC do you take VI FLAG WITH U OR U ASHAMED TO REP WHERE YOU FROM ?
    • Peaches (18/08/2016, 11:30) Like (12) Dislike (40) Reply
      @Vincyman here are 2 of the reasons why local leave the island at festival time:

      1. Many of them are Christians and are fed up with the nakedness, vulgarity and dry sex that is going on around this time that certainly has absolutely NOTHING to do with Emancipation Festival!

      2. Some people leave because that is the time their children are on break from school and they take them away from all the muck that is going on to a place of peace and tranquillity instead of sticking around here to listen to music (especially if you live nearby the villages) pounding in your ears all night! Silly music that has no real meaningful lyrics like what Jam Band, Eddie and the Movements, Burning Flames, Imagination Brass used to have in the 80's 90's. When last did a band win Road March? when last? because these bands have no kind of education or common sense but just blurting out all kind of filthy lyrics on a big truck full of beats and these vulgar men and women having dry sex for jouvert morning is DISGUSTING!!!

      Do you all know the real reason behind the Emancipation celebrations? It is when our forefathers were freed from the bondage of slavery and the church and community marched through the streets singing hymns of praises to God who had freed them from the hand of their slave masters! That is what it was all about! Not this Nakedness, smoking, drinking, swearing and vulgarity! Sowande is correct! The country has strayed away from the real meaning but I now have to look at it from a spiritual side because these things must be as we are nearing the end of the world.
      • vincyman (18/08/2016, 16:06) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply

        WHERE THEIR nakedness, vulgarity and dry sex smoking, drinking, swearing Emancipation celebrations WHEN Jam Band, Eddie and the Movements, Burning Flames, Imagination Brass WAS PLAYING ?

        DO YOU THINK Emancipation celebrations COULD'VE REMAIN THE SAME LIKE IN THE 80's 90's ?

        YOU said Emancipation celebrations is about church and community marched through the streets singing hymns of praises to God who had freed them from the hand of their slave masters!


    • Positive (19/08/2016, 15:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Windy (18/08/2016, 13:20) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    It's just become an excuse to stay away from work and go on a 2 week drunk.
  • Me (18/08/2016, 14:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    So why don't you become a committee member and change the system? Take a pole any night and you will see is more expats in de village than locals. The music has gone to the schedule, not much local artistes and no support from the local community for their own. That's why they have to bring in foreign artistes. If you do want Festival to become a masquerade show then go ahead and make sure it happens. Check the Festival committee members....aren't they all locals????? So who to blame????
  • BVIslander (18/08/2016, 15:20) Like (8) Dislike (6) Reply
    I don't understand why these expats have so much to say when we BVIslanders doing our best to ensure our culture is the forefront of the August Festival celebrations. If you all don't like Virgin Islanders opinions about their country then GO HOME. Sick and tired of you all calling down my people. Make a difference in your own country. We made it out of a bird santuary and we can make it without you. For some reason expats think that we cant survive witout them. Shocks man!!!
    • vincyman (19/08/2016, 11:57) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      can y'all really do that ? survive without expats and visitors ? we soon leave trust me. it will have WHITE ELEPHANTS ALL OVER THE HILLS LIKE ST CROIX ...
      • Sickening (19/08/2016, 14:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        White Elephants eh? We should have built the galvanize huts with pit toilets you accustomed to back home in Vincy. Been there and seen your living conditions your ungrateful a$$!
  • #Enoughsaid (18/08/2016, 16:06) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    Thank you for speaking out on behalf of OUR country. Don’t mind the noise! Your grandfather was a leader in these Virgin Islands and I pray you don’t let people silence you. I heard a quote once at HLSCC by Mrs. C. George, “If it is to be…it is up to me” I am thankful for BVIslanders like you who will keep speaking. KEEP SPEAKING!!!
  • flu (18/08/2016, 17:31) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    If it wasn't for the flag waving expats and the foreign artist the turnout in the festival village would be poor.
    The booth owners will cry more if you reduce foreign performers
  • The Reaper (18/08/2016, 18:06) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Born here/!!!!....People travel the world the for betterment..Never left ,and how some of these people down grading My Country.,but ...its alright,,, U left your country.Too come to my BVI...I guess this country is special for that's why everyone is come here...... So please don't disrespect My BVI..U Left Not Me....Make your money and take care of your Family back home...Because 1 of these days I would love too visit your Beautiful Country.... U all take care now,,Stop the hate more peace and love..He is Coming for his World...but I have Represent My Country too the fullest...
  • ABC (19/08/2016, 00:35) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ayo better leave my cuz
  • sorry (19/08/2016, 12:24) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    am a expat I will not be taking part in allu bvi festival again .Anguilla here I come
  • Becca (19/08/2016, 16:28) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    @Shaking my head must just have arrived in the BVI if his comments refer to Natalio Wheatley. Whatever one might truthfully say of Mr. Wheatley, one cannot say that he talk, talk, talk, but does nothing. Let us try ot be honest and fair minded in our criticisms. First, Mr. Wheatley teaches students at HLSCC, having earned the qualifications to do so, I would suspect. And he has done so for years. That is influencing the future. Second, on at least two occasions, and young as he is, Mr. Wheatley presented himself to the voters in this country to effect some of his ideas. That took work and courage, and a willingness to sacrifice his time and privacy, and be open to your unkind responses. That took gumption and grit. Third, he has been an activist in this community representing the alternative voices of the BVI public on matters of public interest, being a voice for the voiceless on many issues. That took courage. Fourth, he has been avidly dedicated to learning and retelling the history of these islands in the public sphere. That took dedication and interest. You may not like his ideas, but you should be able to recognize and respect his commitment, courage and selfless service. I don't think even you would believe those roles were popular and salaried. Do not kill future leadership potential. Leaders must continually emerge and we should support them as they bud and blossom for the future of our very own children and grandchildren.
  • old (19/08/2016, 17:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    mr wheatleyThat y the festival is going down to the ground you all talk to much you is the second one y. You don't get your flag wave to
  • jouvert (21/08/2016, 07:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree the committee need to make it more central but really people find it hard to celebrate with real reverence, something that happened a long time ago. First generation could genuinely celebrate their freedom, second, too, maybe, but when you get so far down the years people who didn't experience the horror are celebrating in a way more like Easter or Christmas or US Independence - it's a day when some focus on the reason but most do not and cannot be expected to because the world is diverse and our stories are varied. You think Trinny Carnival is focus on religion? No, a dose of reality is needed here. Either focus tight on BVI Emancipation and leave 70% of the population out, or celebrate who we are NOW and make it a big ting, albeit in the name of emancipation and celebration of the end of slavery here and across the region.

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