Drummers’ grove tribute for deceased Trinidad artists marred by misconduct

Master Drummer Menes de groit, far right, and drummers paying tribute in Drummers’ Grove, Prospect Park.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

According to research, drumming is a path of healing that guides us into experiencing the flow of our mind and emotions so we may grow to experience more about our soul. And more so, free to connect with others, in order to release, restore and heal.

However, this was not communicated at Prospect Park, on July 18, where this reporter was verbally attacked, with indecent language and ordered to remove from a grassy area during a Sunday weekly African tribute in Drummers’ Grove, reopened after the year-long pandemic shutdown.

While covering the presentation, I was rebuked by an African-American mob of women that demanded I discontinue photographing drummers and dancers; in an “ego-tripping” embarrassing way as scores of spectators looked on.

I was invited by Brooklyn’s Master Drummer, Menes de groit to cover a titled: Keeping D’Kulcha Alive – to celebrate two Caribbean cultural icons, Trinidad-born, painter, Wilcox Morris, and poet Brother Resistance, both who recently passed on.

Not having a clear understanding of the drumming rite, which I was attending for the first time in its 40-year history, I indicated that I was working with the press, and was entitled to do my job.

Their response was, “We don’t care.”

The women even requested, that I show written authorization to photograph the event. I was met with abusive; threatening language, while being surrounded, with what I felt was unlawful intimidation, and bullying.

Mind you, this was in Drummers’ Grove, Prospect Park, a public space, they said I should not be on because it was sacred ground.

Let’s be reminded, that many, African-Americans, just like this gang, accuses other races of discriminating against them, meanwhile, they themselves, showed no respect, in their capacity as elders. They insulted the intelligence of a black professional journalist, who was identified, as such. The stereotypical narrative, of angry black women, was certainly at play.

And despite the fact that they argued the event was a spiritual one, they definitely, left any doubt in my mind, that it was not treated as such, since they were intoxicated and showed no respect for what they were trying to achieve in the first place.

It was share ignorance, on the part of this particular woman, who said it was a private event she organized, and I should get permission, even though, I invited her to speak on behalf of the group, and the spiritual presentation.

They missed a golden opportunity to be showcased by the press, and be mindful of the indelible work of the deceased artists, whose lasting legacy was being celebrated.

If they were organizers, as they say, then “signage” should have been displayed respectfully, instead of them being disruptive, and disrespectful to the whole process.

Unfortunately, the bad behavior of these women overshadowed the purpose of the event.

They diluted the culture, and left this reporter with a bad taste in her mouth, after a harrowing first time experience.

This could have ended very badly, because of how I was surrounded, even by some of the men folk, who joined in to say, I should adhere to the angry woman.

My mother, who was with me at the time, was so petrified, that she screamed for us to leave the event, which resulted in us literally running from the park, to save from being injured.

Those unruly women, should be ashamed of their behavior, and be banned from such public events, and spaces, all together.

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