Don’t Criticise Rihanna – Embrace Her!

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Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, in conversation with Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Celia Toppin, and Manager of the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, Carla Springer.

This island’s Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, has called on Barbadians to stop criticising this island’s Grammy Awards winner, Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

At the launch of a Certificate in Motion Picture Arts last evening at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Mr. Lashley urged the public to "embrace" this young daughter of the soil.

"I want to encourage Barbadians to offer encouragement to Rihanna in her endeavours as she continues to achieve greater and greater things across the globe… Oftentimes I hear a bit too much criticism, some of it misinformed, of Rihanna. My personal view, and indeed as Minister responsible for Culture, is that we need as a people to embrace Rihanna and give her every encouragement because she represents the future, in my view, of the … creative industry of Barbados and indeed the Caribbean.

"So, no matter what else we may think, the reality is that this young woman has achieved success in a world in which never before has a Barbadian featured so prominently. She should, in my view, be an inspiration to our young people, showing them the heights to which they too can rise," he remarked.

The Minister said the course, which started on February 1 and ends on June 30, was a step in the right direction, since it offered training opportunities to young people in a non-traditional area. "It is one [course] which will challenge the participants to be creative and to think outside the box. It will give them immense satisfaction to learn the various techniques of film-making. It will also serve the purpose of opening their eyes to the fact that this is an area which has very attractive career opportunities," he stressed.

Mr. Lashley noted that there were a number of talented film makers here and in the region, who just needed that professional technical expertise to take their products to world attention and world class standard. He maintained that the possibilities for satisfying lucrative careers in the cultural and creative industries were far and wide, not only for the stars, but for those persons who provided essential support services.

The Culture Minister said the Errol Barrow Centre was keen on seeing the development of the cultural industries in Barbados and he encouraged its management to continue developing initiatives which were absolutely critical to the sustainability of those industries.

He promised: "My Ministry will continue to collaborate with you in indentifying those areas in which training should be offered and ways in which we can develop sustainable training opportunities. We will continue to endorse and to offer what support we can to your efforts.

Yes, financial recourses at this time are limited, but we are working in the area of Culture, and it is up to us to be creative and to lead the way in finding new ways to make this happen."

Twenty-one students are currently pursuing the five-month course which provides training in such areas as Production Tools and Management, Cinematography, Directing, Post-production Editing and Sound.

The students will learn the fundamentals of digital film production, the use of camera, lighting and sound packages on location and in a studio setting. At the end of the training, they are expected to possess the skills to produce music videos, educational and training films, and documentary and narrative film.

Regional participant, Melissa Roberts, said the intensive programme had a lot of potential for the Caribbean and expressed the view that it would take the region forward. She added that she had already learnt a lot during the past month and now had a different view of the film industry.??

saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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