Soca Monarch for me is NOT about the prize money. It is actually more about the pride. It is an outlet through which I have played out my creative visions. It is a platform that gives me a narrow focus but allows for my wide imagination and wacky ideas. The event is undoubtedly the best way to climax the carnival taking into consideration the people's passion and support for their artistes. Every year I try to better the previous year's performance and production, and in so doing, the ripple effect kicks in and everybody's production and performances improve. I have invested a lot in myself despite the perception of corporate help and sponsors. I often save performance fees from during the year just so i can have the resources to put off a decent show at soca monarch.
There is a serious issue of how much appearance or prize money is given to the soca artiste in the competition and I will address it shortly but my initial hint about my uncertainty towards Soca Monarch was Never about "Boycotting" anything. It was more about my personal and internal debate on if the stress and financial strain of preparing for such an event alongside my Kids Fair and Black Rave project was worth it. Another discouraging factor is how aggressive fans of fireman and skinny have become towards each other. I hate the tribalism. I hate the Gully vs Gaza factor. To like fireman in some persons minds is to hate Skinny and vice versa. I do not wish to perpetuate this destructive mindset because in the end we are all one nation and one people fighting to make our mark in the caribbean and the world where music is concerned.
Fireman and I recognize the efforts of the CDC to manage and improve carnival and all its components and I am in no way trying to undermine anybody's work or rally a movement against any organization. I see and acknowledge the challenges they face especially with reduced funding. However we are asking that the same level of acknowledgement be given to the soca acts who spend their time effort and money to pull off the greatest show on earth. This show called soca monarch for the last 7 years has seen bigger and bigger numbers in attendance and have increased the admission cost several times in 7 years from $25 to $45. For the last 7 years the artistes have been putting in more and more, giving more sophisticated and costly productions in an effort to improve their own presence on stage and by extension the overall glamour of the event. The cost of a dancer, a costume, a driver, a backstage help, pryo effects, the passes that have to be bought for the extra dancers or stage hands are just some of the expenses that have gone up on the part of the artiste. In this equation, it seems the only thing that hasn't gone up is the reward we get for doing our part. That being said, I am NOT holding our carnival or Soca Monarch hostage over prize money issues and My biggest draw to Soca Monarch will always be the fans who support and encourage me to continue. As for the CDC, we trust that a consolation commensurate with our perpetual efforts will be derived and that Carnival and Soca Monarch will be sweet as usual. Above all, I want to highlight the fact that it was the MEDIA that used the word "BOYCOTT" to describe our call for discussions with CDC. The objective of the discussion was to air a few concerns in hopes of making the competition beneficial to all the stakeholders. One more thing; fire and I are quite civil to each other , there is really no need for fans to be disrespectful and unnecessarily harsh in their expressions of support for either artiste. I repeat - to love one is not to automatically hate the other. This is not a tupac and biggie scene.