News day / She was speaking on the weekend during auditions for the NYAC Emancipation calypso competition at the Port of Spain office of the National Joint Action Committee.

NYAC is the youth arm of the political party.

She said through the competition, people get a better understanding of their identity and NYAC believes that is part of the emancipation process. She said they do not just celebrate emancipation on the holiday itself or for the season, but throughout the year they promote people re-educating and reconstructing the way they see themselves.

Alleyne said slavery still has lasting effects and their needed to be a repositioning of the mindset which is the aim of their programmes.

She said they encourage local art forms especially calypso which promotes rebelling against the injustices in society. Through their calypso programmes young people get to shed light on the current situation and learn about the past and present world.

Alleyne said last year they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the competition and honoured calypsonians Bro Valentino (real name Emrold Phillip) and Ella Andall as father and mother of conscious music respectively.

They also honoured First Citizens which sponsored the competition since 2009 and remained the main sponsor.

Alleyne said last year and this year they held a workshop alongside the programme and it included a number of art industry areas including animation, composing, song writing and sound engineering.

“We believe freedom of expression should be encouraged especially among young people. There is a lot of positive in the youth population.

If you channel in the right way you get a lot more.” The calypso competition is in two age categories: five to 17 and 18 to 35. The theme this year is reparations and Alleyne said more than 40 contestants are expected.

The winner in the junior category last year was Duane O’Connor Jr, son of former calypso monarch Duane O’Connor.

Alleyne said over the years a number of calypso winners have emerged from the competition including O’Connor, former Young King Gervais Caesar and reigning National Women’s Action Committee Calypso Queen Sasha- Ann Moses.

Competition judge Ezekiel Benjamin said he liked what it was doing for the youths and by focusing on them they are responding positively.

He said he was helping to direct them and critique their work to make them better.

The competition will be held on August 18.


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