Thursday, October 13, 2011

In de Gayelle

If I deny all that is foreign to me I might end up like Gayelle TV.

The media house has dedicated itself to 100% Trinidad and Tobago programming. It has struggled for that choice. Advertisers in this country don’t support Gayelle, at least so the story goes. In essence 100% local has not proven to be a winning business model.

It’s name, Gayelle (pronounced: guy-l), is taken from the name of the arena for stick-fighting, a blood sport that is decades even centuries old. Two men, usually, engage in a fight using a piece of wood taken from a tree, not one processed like ply or so, called a bois.

To extend on its meaning it can be suggested that it, too, means as an entity it is prepared to fight to the end in its defence and as is evident by the response to its agenda, with some offense.

My name, Sterling Henderson, is in the first part English and then Scottish.

As the story goes my first name was chosen by my god-father. I am my mother’s second child and she says the pregnancy felt so different to when she carried my brother that she believed she was having a girl. She decided on no boy names and when I was born it was then that a name was chosen.

The black Hendersons I have heard of hail from the southern states of North America and were freed after serving in the Civil War. Some of them settled in south Trinidad after migrating from the States, my father, Sylvan was from Belmont and before that I’m not sure.

Some might suggest that my name is not an African name and needs to be changed to reflect my heritage. I am Caribbean Roman Catholic. Some suggest that to really accept Christ I must be born again: now that I am older and aware I must consciously choose my savior and not accept the one given to me at baptism as a baby, I unawares. In Judeo-Christian tradition, though, the child follows the religion of the mother and so for now I rest comfortably like a vagrant outside the Vatican.

The story of Gayelle is one of determination in a sense and belief in self, too, of using the media to develop both in a nation, perhaps.

Abbott Joseph Liebling in a 1960 article for the New Yorker magazine wrote “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one”. The title of the piece was Do You Belong in Journalism?

I write this against the backdrop of a world with a relentless agenda that reinforces through images, popular music and silence that gays do not exist.

All the music I hear speaks to male-female relations, some to inter-racial relations and some to praising gods.

What in my day in the media says to me you have a voice? What says I exist? Not much.

People never seem to agree when I say I hate the world. Maybe I’ll struggle but hopefully they’ll understand if I say it’s really about embracing that which is like me and rejecting that which is foreign to me.

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