WACK Foundation Launched

Mr.Kenny Phillips on the launch of the WACK Foundation:
“We live in a country that boasts of being a cultural potpourri, a melting pot of ethnic diversity, yet among our 1.3 million people; do we truly understand the importance of "culture"?  The many mores and idiosyncrasies that define who we are must become more than just talking points and political scoring points. More than a catchword to justify public holidays, culture—our culture—must be recognized and respected for being the soul of this nation.
 And what is a nation without its history?  All aspects of our culture must therefore be sought out, preserved and shared.  Thoughts must be taught, if they are to take root in our future, for posterity to come to truly respect the   contributions of those who have past.  Who we are, what we are and how we got here must become more than a seven-day story for Trinidad and Tobago.
 Admittedly, over time we have seen a gradual elevation of the respect meted out to certain aspects of the culture — music, song, and dance — but there is still so much more that could be done. The WACK Foundation is about seeking out, preserving and protecting a critical segment of our culture our music, musicians; art, artists; dance, dancers; poetry, poets; writings, authors; drama, playwrights and actors.  More importantly, we would seek to make this information available so that it could be taught and understood and ultimately loved.”
The quoted passages above are excerpts taken from a speech presented by Mr. Kenny Phillips on the launching of his latest endeavor, “The WACK Foundation”.  In essence he has seen a void that that many have recognized but are painfully behind the eight ball with regard to accomplishing the stated objective.  What is that objective? To put it simply to recognize and record the rich heritage that has been passed on from one generation to the other. Indeed it is a very rich heritage that is the result of our cosmopolitan society.  In his discourse Mr. Phillips made reference to this heritage by using the term “cultural potpourri”. I agree with him about many things and make no mistake I heartily commend his efforts.
However I have some reservations as do many people who witnessed the event (or listened to the live broadcast). I missed part of the broadcast but I was told that someone wanted to know “what was so different about this endeavor when so many have tried and failed miserably to accomplish the same stated goals”.  Mr. Phillips went on to say that “The Wack Foundation was created to take on that challenge.”  The one thing that we don’t know is how this foundation intends to go about acquiring the information (we know they acquired a sizable database form England. An English accountant by the name of Dimitri Subutsky has granted access to his website archives. The site calypsoarchives.co.uk (you will now get the new site - a work in progress) has been shut down to the general public and is now in the hands of the WACK Foundation.  This is a start but what is next? Where is this information (physical as well as the bits and bytes of computerized data) going to be housed?  How is this information going to be used?
I am very curious to learn if the Foundation has plans to list the current crop of Calypsonians (living) and record their stories in print and in a stored offsite database sooner than later. It would be a shame to learn that it is the works when this should have been part of launch, signed sealed and delivered. We don't need another failed attempt to chronicle this very important part of what makes us all Trinidadian.  The foundation needs to release their plans to forge ahead with this endeavor and let us become a part of the process.  My biggest concern is that a strong emphasis will be placed on Calypso while the rest of the music genres get ignored. I really don’t have a clue how they intend to deal with the other aspects of our cultural heritage.
The various organizations and their governing bodies will need to be consulted and become part of the process. If that does not happen, the project will be mired in typical Trinidadian talk and no action with people complaining from all sides.
I am totally for this project and wish the WACK Foundation much success in this laudable endeavor. I do hope that all facets of the Cultural spectrum are respected and treated equally. WACK radio901fm the flagship station that started it all boasts of being "Culture Krazy", let's hope that the Wack Foundation builds on the successes of the radio enterprise and provide us with this archive that is so badly needed. Good luck Mr. Phillips, good luck to the WACK Foundation.

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