Notes From The Margin

August 8, 2007

The Cultural Oddity of The Blue Box Cart Kadooment Band

Filed under: Barbados,Caribbean,Crop Over,culture,Kadooment — notesfromthemargin @ 1:06 am

 

 

I was reading a post on crop over over at the Living in Barbados blog, I thought his take on the Blue Box Cart band was interesting.

One thing that surprised me was seeing the Blue Box Cart band. This band was made up predominantly of over 1,000 white people (see clip below from a 2006 video); the band has been around for some 35 years. It put in front of the audience again one of those realities of Barbados, which is separation of the races. Given that Barbados’ population is between 90-95 percent black, seeing predominantly black groups would not be a surprise.

I’ve often pondered how outsiders see blue box cart. I’ve thought it was a particularly interesting phenomenon. There is no explicit colour bar and there are a relatively small number of people with dark skins who jump with the band with no apparent issues.

 

What is also very interesting is the reaction of black Bajans to the band. Every year the band jumps with no hostility directed towards it at any stage. In fact they are greeted by spectators as warmly as any other band. Black Bajan masqueraders tend to take the view that “If they want to do that then they can go ahead” and if you talk to most members of Baje International, or Power by Four (two popular kadooment bands) the idea of jumping with Blue Box Cart is viewed with distaste. As one friend of mine responded “Why would you want to do that?”. As with Blue Box Cart there are a smattering of white faces in Power By Four and Baje (who also jump without any incident or hostility directed towards them).

 

The thing I’ve wondered is this: Is the reaction of the majority population towards Blue Box Cart an example of tolerance or indifference or intimidation? Do people think of BBC as being above them or below them? Is it something to be pitied or pilloried?

 

Or if we wanted to look at it another way do Bajans (of both races) like it this way? Is the bar set at once you can join any band you want, you then go and join the band you want to? I’ve seen Bajans spontaneously separate themselves in several contexts. Barbados can be a lonely place if you are of mixed race, unlike many other Caribbean islands there isn’t really a large mixed population in Bim.

 

The line has gotten progressively more and more blurred over time, but it’s still two very definite camps here. And a very small (but growing) group of mixed people sitting on the margins.

 

Marginal

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11 Comments »

  1. me and a whole group of friend jumped with bluebox cart and it was a great experience..we are all black.

    the thingis when u tell people u jumping with BBC they ask “umm why” but it is simple, i paying money for an experience , it doesnt matter if the band predominately white or black to me. I find that in barbados race is still a major issue and sorry to say blacks perpetuate it just as much as whites

    Comment by anon — August 8, 2007 @ 2:03 am | Reply

  2. I too jumped with Blue Box Cart and had a great time. The best thing about BBC is not the band, but rather that it is the second band on the road and by 1:30pm, you are in the sea at Spring Garden. If BBC jumped later in the day, myself and my group of 20 friends who jumped would think seriously about jumping with someone else.

    Comment by Bajanboy — August 15, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  3. Of course the picture shown, clipped out of a video, was carefully chosen to show nothing but whites (there is one black girl.)

    Fact is, ANYBODY can enlist in the band. The whites certainly dont mind blacks in the group and the blacks have no problem jumping with a ‘white’ band.

    About racial problems. Back in the 50’s and early 60’s the Caribbean had a real chance of forging ahead as a problem-free multi-racial society. Racial divisions became strengthened for a variety of reasons as time passed.

    One of the racial problems Barbados has, is that there were only blacks and whites here, whereas in Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica there was a healthy mix of Asians and Orientals as well. Also these countries, along with St. Lucia, Grenada and others, had French, Spanish and Portugese imputs.

    Barbados would do well to encourage and allow a settling of other ethnicities here. We are seing the entry of some Asians from Guyana. A mix of several different races would do our gene pool well, it would stop a lot of the polarization we have.

    Would the blacks welcome this? I am one and I’m not sure.

    Comment by CENTIPEDE — August 15, 2007 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  4. How do i sign up with the blue box cart band?

    Comment by marie — June 14, 2008 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  5. I’m born and raised in sweet sweet Barbados and only at the age of 29 did I decide to live overseas for a number of years. This is when it really hit home just how separated the races are in Barbados, its changing slowing however and the youngest generations are the ones to give the most credit to for this.

    I think the idea behind The Blue Box Cart was to set aside a more “relaxed” less intensive band designed for tourists and the “well to do”, to allow these groups to still enjoy crop over while excluding some of the more rowdy elements found in other bands. I think this is a fair objective.

    The reality is most tourists are white, and most of the Harbour Nights crowd and the well to do are white as well. For them its “safe” to go into this band. It’s definitely a class thing. Similiar to first class on a plane.

    A middle to upper class black person has far more freedom, and does not necessarily limit them selves to this band, not when they have deep bedded local roots allowing them full access to acceptance in what I strongly believe to be a more authentic cultural experience ones experiences in the black dominated bands such as Power by four.

    Comment by Shawn from Barbados — September 2, 2009 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  6. I have always seen the Blue Box Cart band & the Walk Holy band as not wanting to mix with the ‘masses’ on Spring Garden & that is why the have lobbied so hard to go in first & second. This means that they don’t have to meet a crowd of Black people (trying real hard not to use the ‘n’ word) or sinners on Spring Garden. They both get there before the real crowd gathers.

    Comment by John B. Headley — January 22, 2010 @ 12:27 am | Reply

  7. The kadooment bands are picked randomly for order of procession. The reality is that most of the bands are not ready to go at 8-8:30am, and so the ones picked to go in second place systematically ask Blue Box Cart to trade places.

    I was born and raised in Barbados and have friends (and family!!) of all ethnicities. Colour is not an issue for us. If it is for you … well …

    Comment by John — June 11, 2010 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  8. I cannot seem to find any information about this band anywhere. Do they even have a website? I wanna know if they have launched for this year. I was thinking of jumping with them but there is no information available. Please help!

    Thanks!

    Comment by Sarah — June 12, 2010 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

    • They have definitely launched, but they don’t have a website. They operate out of the Harbour Lights night club (which has a website). You can try sending them an email. I sent them one on Friday and am waiting for a reply. They told me last year that they will send you a picture of the costumes and you can order online.

      Comment by John — June 13, 2010 @ 1:30 am | Reply

      • Thanks John!

        Comment by Sarah — June 18, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  9. “Barbados can be a lonely place if you are of mixed race.” Really?

    Comment by Ewan — July 29, 2011 @ 4:15 pm | Reply


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