Ultimate Soca Love Songs Playlist

i crowdsourced the list below in response to Georgia Popplewell’s assertion that  soca artists would

have to dig deep into their repertoires to find a song extolling the kind of values Valentine’s Day represents.


While she may have been speaking specifically of this year’s carnival tunes, there’s still a perception that soca artists don’t sing about love.  Caribbean music man, Stefan Walcott, had this to say:

Well there are not many due to a space and function of the music. How many Bajan folk songs speak about snow?


Janine Mendes-Franco produced her own list of carnival love songs but it was too short a list.  

Below is what my amazing facebook friends were able to come up with (thanks to Patrice & Kerryann who has an encyclopedic knowledge of soca).

Passion by Militant


All Is Yours by Onika Bostic


Dance With You by Machel and Mr. Vegas


Always Be by Patrice Roberts featuring Zan


Only You by Krosfyah featuring Tony Bailey


All Night Long by Donella Weekes


My Girl by Lil Rick

Kerryann also pointed me to other songs not available on youtube: Sweetest Thing by Coppa Dan, Sugary by Keann, Only You by Omar McQuilkin of Electrik.

The ways in which love and romance are scripted can often appear contrary to feminist ideals.  I had to exclude one of the suggestions due to its homophobic lyrics.  So after you’ve grooved to this playlist you may also want to check out Creative Commess’ feminist soca playlist which got a well-deserved shout out on Global Voices.

Caribbean music is all-occasions music.  Enjoy!

love note to the Caribbean

Guest post by Sherlina Nageer aka Lina Free

“When are you coming?” my family asks. “When are you coming?” my old friends ask. “Just now. Soon, soon! I’ll let you know.” I reply. I have yet to buy my ticket. I know that I’m a mere ghost to my nephews and niece, that my parents are getting older, that see you next time is not guaranteed, that there is still love and possibility there, that I’m abandoning career success and my cats, but I just can’t help it. You have a hold on me, Caribbean, a grip on my innards, a winch on my soul that keeps me anchored no matter how often or far I might stray. Don’t ask me to explain it; I can’t really. It’s not just the sunshine, the mangoes, the ocean. I have sat on the beach eating mangoes in other places, oui. It’s much more than that. There are days when I’m out and about, whizzing to or from someplace, and I feel myself just smiling, for no particular reason. I’ve looked at the moon more in these past four years than I did in the 20 I lived up North. It’s not just that my navel string and grandparents are buried on one particular spit of land; after all, just one generation back abandoned such trifles and crossed the Kali Pani. Indeed, emigration remains the primary story of my family, like so many in the Caribbean. They all think I’m mad for ‘coming back home’. I am more than slightly ‘touched’, oui, but I think they’re madder for remaining there. No, it’s not perfect here, not by a long shot. Not for my fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or questioning peeps, not for those slaving daily to put food on the table, and fighting the powers that be trying to downpress them. Every day is a struggle, oui, but here in the Caribbean is where I want to be battling. From the beach in Tobago where I spent my first New Years Eve after coming back, drinking too much and hugging up everybody too much, just abrim with love, to the tent cities of Port Au Prince where women bathed, bare breasted, in plain sight of every tom, dick, and harry passerby- you continue to succor as well as challenge me, Caribbean. This, I love. 

The post was submitted as part of our Dear Caribbean Blog Carnival. Please check out all the amazing submissions.

Best of the 2013 Caribbean Feminist Blogosphere

Travel across the islands and territories of the Caribbean and its diaspora and sample some of the best feminist blogging out there. 

What have Caribbean feminist women and men written about in 2013? Love, fashion, motherhood, being mixed-race, surviving child sexual abuse, healing from sexual assault, racist anti-Haitian citizenship policies in the Dominican Republic and so much more… Have a look!

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Elmer, 22 year old Belizean youth that comes from a humble yet hard working family. Today it is important for me to share my story with you.

Young Caribbean man breaks the silence on sexual abuse of boys in the region. (Belize)

So, when a man sets his girlfriend on fire, rapes his niece, or gouges out his ex-wife genitals, it is not simply because he cannot control his emotions or resolve conflict well. There are deeply embedded ideas about who owns and who is to be owned, who is in control and who is to be controlled, what makes a ‘real man’, and a woman’s rightful role to shape these encounters. To ignore this is to miss the mark.

Patrice Daniel is back again with more fyah! This time she writes about why the Caribbean is getting it wrong on violence against women. (Barbados)

“Can you live with knowing that you will never have answers about what happened? Is that something you can manage?”

Healing through words: Part one in a series on surviving sexual assault. (Diaspora)

So like my feminism, my politics of adornment are a critical part of how my race, class, gender and sexuality intersect. My feminism is about having the personal freedom to choose how I represent myself. My ability to express myself on my own terms is my attempt to return ‘the gaze,’ to push back, to style myself for myself. As I seek to own and affirmatively claim my identity, my body, my creativity… and ultimately my ‘self’, I feel incredibly powerful and beautiful and free.

Feminism, Fashion and the Politics of Adornment by Amina Doherty. (Nigeria/Antigua & Barbuda)

It’s possible to let your energy, love and time be wasted by those who are not clear what they want for you or those who are trapped in their own games. Such lost investment will only distract you from giving all to what you can most achieve in your path, your heart and your life’s work. Focus on those who most matter and know well why they do.

Forget new year’s resolutions.  What’s on your heart list, life list, fantasy list & balance list? (Trinidad & Tobago)

But it is also true that Caribbean women are not at equal risk of being made to strip, squat, bend over, finger-raped and humiliated at regional border points. We have seen little critical examination of the class and gender dimensions of this case. We might well ask whether there is an unspoken investment in gendered respectability in our rush to celebrate Shanique Myrie as a Caribbean Rosa Parks. As a not insignificant aside, consider the difference between the dominant idea of Rosa Parks we are familiar with, as the diminutive mother of the Civil Rights movement, and the Rosa Parks who was a highly active member of the NAACP and attended meetings of the Communist Party. And fewer of us have heard of Claudette Colvin, told to give up her seat on a bus nine months before Rosa Parks. We should pause to consider whether the fact that Colvin was an unmarried pregnant teenager has anything to do with her story not being widely told.

Alissa Trotz’s Inescapable Entanglements: Notes on Caribbean Feminist Engagement delivered at the 20th anniversary conference of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies. (Guyana)

In her pain, she was not allowed to belong anywhere. How could she belong when the halves of her were at war? When she was attacked by both sides? It is one thing to be condemned to a particular side because of your skin colour, but it is an entirely different thing to be a refugee in your own country because you do not truly belong to any side.

Sarah Bharrat of Guyana writes about what she calls “The Dougla Defect“, being mixed race in a racially polarised society. (Guyana)

“You said I remind you of the best parts of home. Like a lot of guys, you want to be nurtured but can’t nurture anyone because you barely know how.”

Writing about love from Creative Commess (Trinidad & Tobago)

“Growing up in Barbados, getting pregnant was the worst thing you could do. Not just as a teenager, but anytime before you had secured your place as a DoctorLawyerBankmanager. I’m serious. The Worst Thing.”

Mar the Mongoose blogs about the politics of motherhood. (Barbados)

Similar to the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas also deports Haitian migrants regularly and grants very few work permits and rarely (if ever) asylum status, while depending upon the everyday labour of Haitian undocumented migrants. The Bahamas — somewhat like the DR’s new ruling — also denies rights to the children of migrants, the difference being that children of migrants do have access to birth citizenship rights, which they have to apply for at 18. However, this process can take years, especially if one does not have access to legal assistance.

Angelique Nixon, writing for Groundation Grenada, looks at human rights, migration and the future of Dominican@s of Haitian descent. (The Bahamas)

Happy New Year!

Leave us a comment with your fav feminist blogs! Let’s grow this list!

See also “Top 10 Must-read Caribbean Feminist Blog posts“, “Caribbean Digital Feminist Activism in a Post-Feminist Age“, “Social Media Strategies for Caribbean Activists“,  and “We’re excited about Online Caribbean Feminist Media.”

Regionalism in need of radical love

Guest post by Rashad Brathwaite

 2013 has been an intense year in the development of the legal framework of Caricom. The Shanique Myrie case engendered a host of political, legal and social commentary; necessary dialogues; dialogues worth having. Progress is seemingly followed immediately by failings. Following the legal formulations by the Caribbean Court of Justice vindicating and fleshing out the nature of the freedom of movement, a cohort of Jamaicans were rejected from Trinidad and Tobago. Following the signing of a Trade agreement between Jamaica and Trinidad, The Minister of National Security metaphorically sent many more home claiming the Trinidadian State is not a Mall.

In the face of failings by National Leaders and Institutions, from across the Caribbean whether in the direct denial of rights, the inflammatory language, our failings to join the Caribbean Court of Justice, our responses as Caribbean citizens impassioned in the moment, have often been violent and vitriolic. This piece focuses less on the legal development of CARICOM, which is no doubt critical, but instead focuses on our responses to these acts of violations; to our speech-performances of violence in response to violence.

It asks questions of our claim to moral authority when our responses in moments of oppression is to become equally oppressive. It problematizes our discourse when Caribbean citizens transform Facebook text-boxes into stereotypes, a devaluing of cultural differences and a claim to superiority. It rejects these notions of superiority. Cultural capital does not make you superior. Human-Resource capital does not make you superior. Natural-Resource capital does not make you superior. We are not superior.

Our liberation into a Region that holds each fibre of the Caribbean fabric as important, must start with us as members of the Community, of a Caribbean Civilization. The work of CARICOM, the spirit and ethos of Caribean-ness, not merely the Legal Mechanisms and Functionings, is in the everyday interactions of us as a Caribbean people.

When a Barbadian Minister reduces a country to “a rot”, when the Trinidadian Minister of National Security says the country is not a mall, When a Leader claims we should abandon, or refuse to join our Regional Court in favor of the National or in favor of the Colonial Power, our resort must be a radical Love; A Love that rejects these damaging notions, but does not replicate them.

These moments of Institutional failures must be our greatest call to actions as individuals. In a world dominated by realpolitik, rational self-interest, protection of the Sovereignty of the State, the national interest, is there a room for Love and Loving? Is this love and loving the space through which Caricom may flow? Is it not in these precise moments that those who form the established intellegensia and those outside of its boundaries; those whose wisdom does not ordinarily fit within the intellectual formalism or expression that defines the academy; those who possess the everyday wisdom of age, of experience, of youth, must respond in love?

In no way does this radical love preclude justice; it precludes vengeance. It does not preclude legal recourse to mechanisms designed to protect these rights, nor does it preclude denouncing sites of oppression. It precludes bigotry in response to oppression. It precludes claims of superiority. It precludes debasing our humanity in response. Paulo Freire contends in Pedagogy of the Oppressed that “the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed:[is[ to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”

When our leaders fail to set a spirit of Regional integration on fire, and instead seemingly set fire to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, do we not have an obligation to water it with love? Undoubtedly, this is an unusual position, what place does a discourse of love have in the face of these seemingly ever growing moments of Regional War. But, Is it not precisely in the face of this war, that this discourse of love must take root? What will our liberation look like? How may we liberate ourselves from our existential realities of oppression? How may we liberate our Caribbeanness; our CARICOM? Tessanne Chin sang Bob Marley and the Wailer’s Redemption song on the Voice this week. The Caribbean sang along. We did not sing divided. We ALL sang along. What will the notes, the harmonies, the melodies, the chords and the lyrics of our Regional song of freedom be?

Rashad Brathwaite is a 22-year-old graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Love as Violence, Violence as Love

A Loving Violence

Caribbean media have framed two recent stories about “domestic violence” as “love stories”.

Nation News Barbados begins its its story about a man who shot a woman in her head, leaving her blind in one eye with “MICHAEL GODDARD knows how it feels to love so strongly that you are pushed to the limits to commit the ultimate crime.”

The story goes on to say that he attributes his premeditated violence against his former girlfriend to “lack of communication from both of us”.

That a man could seek to have his partner share in the responsibility of waylaying and attempting to execute her demonstrates what  researchers in the Caribbean and elsewhere have documented: that in talking about their violence against women, men who commit acts of violence often distance themselves from the violence, refuse to take responsibility and hold their partners responsible for the violence (and are particularly silent on the sexual violence they commit). For example, researcher Raquel Sukhu of Trinidad & Tobago concludes

In all cases, the men presented negative assessments of their female partners, and women in general, and where isolated incidents of physical abuse were acknowledged, the women were blamed, the extent of injury minimized, and men’s responsibility denied or the violence was justified by her prior actions. I concluded that each one was violent, despite their protests and denials, as a result of triangulation of sources of data and methods of data collection. The men demonstrated, despite their claims to ‘‘not thinking’’ and ‘‘not remembering,’’ the intention to cause harm to their partners and engaged in goal-oriented violence. Typically, incidents of violence are characterized by the men as accidents, happening in the heat of the moment, and not intended to cause harm. Simultaneously,
however, these incidents are seen as justified in light of the actions of the woman. While it was difficult to obtain admissions of specific incidents of violence from the men, their overall accounts reflected this feeling of justification of their actions as we will clearly see in the excerpts.

In another recent story from Guyana, a 19 year-old man was killed by his 38-year-old step uncle who also attacked and injured the young man’s girlfriend.  This story was also framed by the media as a love story. While the article itself suggests that the young man was in fact stalked by his step uncle, previously attacked by him and possibly sexually abused  the report still referred to the relationship as “a love affair” and the victim as the “lover” of the man who killed him.

Both reports use love and jealousy as a rationale for murder as does Goddard in his interview. The media’s recourse to a love story framing suggests that this is a logic that is shared by or at least intelligible to the public.  Love and violence go hand in hand. “Love” allows men who commit violence to distance themselves from that violence and hold their partners responsible for it.

Often when domestic violence is talked about you hear very little about love beyond the oft-repeated “some women believe that if he don’t beat me he don’t love me.” Perhaps we need to examine love more closely and figure out just why our understanding of love encompasses ownership, violence and coercion. What role does “love” play in child sexual abuse and early sexual initiation in the Caribbean? What  do we mean by love and do women and men, boys and girls have different understandings of love? What is the relationship between love and relations of power based on gender, age etc? Is love itself  a relation of power?