Recently, I was trying to get some work done and things were not progressing as I would have wanted, so, I decided to take a break to free my mind and rest my brain, in the hope that great thoughts would come to me.  During this rest period I decided to find something to watch on the TV and came across a reality series called Opposite Worlds.  I am not a fan of reality series because the name is too misleading; there is no reality and or truth in these series.  However, I was curious about this specific series because of the name so I decided to continue watching.  The series is actually a reality game show which places total strangers in teams of two in a house divided in the future and the past.  The future is, as you would expect it to be, plush and technologize with all the amenities to your comfort.  The past, however, is fitted to mimic the caveman era with animal skin for garments and the woes of finding warmth and the mere spark to light that fire to cook your daily catch (already caught for contestants).  There are days where that spark is never present so contestants have to consume their food uncooked (well so it seems but who knows this is a ‘game’ show).  In order to decide on which team occupies what world, they compete in challenges and the winner lives in the future and losers are exiled in the past.  In the first three weeks after premiere, a single team called the future home, meaning that the consecutive losers called the past home.  To add insult to injury, the worlds are separated by a single wall of glass so each team is an observer to the other’s world.

This struck me as the typical everyday life of people here living on planet Earth.  You have the individuals who toil day in day out for the bread they hope to take home to their families at the end of the day but, in many instances, they go home empty handed.  Then you have some who have whatever they need at their hearts desire never stopping to think how it came about, so they go about their days as though whatever they have was never a result of hard work and sweat on someone’s part.  There is a review of an episode which saw a contestant from the future being blasted for trying to help the team from the past by sneaking them some food (don’t know how he was planning to do that through glass).  Now this is, in a sense, a controlled environment because it is a game show but in the real world, there are many instances where those who have it and try to help those who don’t are reprimanded by their peers or members of their ‘class’ for their actions; simply lending a helping hand.  The truth is, life has a unorthodox sense of humour and tends to deal us hands that we often never expect.  As such, it is always advisable to have an idea of what the opposing world or situation that we live in looks and feels like because we never know when roles and places will be traded.

Title: Trading Places

Artiste: Busy Signal

Riddim: Nylon

Year: 2008

INTRO
Switch it

Just use your imagination

Ghetto living uptown, uptown living in the garrison
He, It wouldn’t be easy

Could never be easy

Not at all, eeeh, yeah!

A no disrespect is just people living other people’s footsteps

It’s more like a reality check yu know a mean.

CHORUS
Imagine uptown people living in the ghetto fi a week, (week)

Down town move gone ina the uptown town area things nice, proper English dem a speak

Uptown people cudda never stand it when the pipe dem a leak (leak)
First of all dem nevn know how fi bridge light

No wah use the igloo with the ice them use to fridge life.

VERSE 1
Picture Portia a live a Spain

Picture Bruce Golding live a Hundred Lane

Picture me way richer than Mathalon

While him live a Kentire pan piece a capture land

Picture Michael Lee-Chin hold off the gully side him and the thugs dem a bleach so yu kyaa go beside

Picture, Butch Stewart a wipe car glass and a ask fi the change weh yu got, no, no
It wouldn’t be easy

Trading places with the ghetto

It wouldn’t be easy to hear rich people voice a echo

It wouldn’t be easy, it would be nice to see us rise, give dem a surprise and mek dem know we also can live these life.

CHORUS
Imagine uptown people living in the ghetto fi a week, (week)

Down town move gone ina the uptown town area things nice, proper English dem a speak

Uptown people cudda never stand it when the pipe dem a leak (leak)
First of all dem nevn know how fi bridge light

No wah use the igloo with the ice them use to fridge life.

VERSE 2

What if Sizzla was commissioner a police

Could never arrest we fi a spliff

If alliance was national security nobody couldn’t violate or slip,

Suppose uptown people affi nyam chicken back and tun cornmeal

Go see dem wid finger a lick

Now, imagine if ghetto youth a go a di ATM fi go draw cash, uptown youths a pocket dem a pick

No, hey, Me say we kyaa separate we self

Uptown, down town come mek we elevate we self

Street knowledge it mek me educate me self fi be wise

Say, eh, mi say we kyaa separate we self

Uptown down town come we elevate we self

Street knowledge mek me educate me self fi be wiser.

BRIDGE

Hey, picture dat

It wouldn’t be easy, uptown trading places with the ghetto, nooo

It wouldn’t be easy to hear rich people voice a echo

It wouldn’t be easy it would be nice to see us rise, give dem a surprise and mek dem know we also can live these life.

CHORUS
Imagine uptown people living in the ghetto fi a week, (week)

Down town move gone ina the uptown town area things nice, proper English dem a speak

Uptown people cudda never stand it when the corn dem a beat (beat)
First of all dem nevn know how fi bridge light

No wah use the igloo with the ice them use to fridge life.

Picture that, it wouldn’t be easy, wouldn’t be nice

No, could never be easy

Trading places could never be nice, no, heey, BUSY

Could never be nice, believe me no, wouldn’t be nice

People, Imagine uptown people living in the ghetto fi a week, (week)

Down town move gone ina the uptown town area things nice, proper English dem a speak

OUTRO

It’s so real

Mek me just talk dah part yah, (chuckle)

Listen me keenly

Picture PJ at the studio a look a buss as a DJ, (chuckle)

Picture Pickersgill at the bus stop a baal say di sun hot

Dem ever go through dat

Hear mi no, unite, live

BUSY!

 Song Ends

In the episode of Opposite Worlds that I saw, the team from the past seemed to have been motivated by its circumstances because it pulled together and won its fourth, challenge which meant that its members enjoyed their first taste of luxury by being moved to the future while the opposing team members moved to the past.  I saw this as the real test of character because being placed in a situation that you are unaccustomed to can be a bitch.  The team that called the past home was now introduced to luxury but still they operated as a unit and never got too much ahead  of themselves; always reflecting on their past.  The team from the future had a horrendous time adapting to this new situation, members started to crack and the tears began to flow.  They never knew this was what it felt like on the other side of the glass; worse, they could see how things are now back in ‘their’ world.

Life is about adapting and adopting but not everyone can.  Not everyone can easily move to nothing when they had everything at their leisure.  Those moving from nothing to something may have an easier time settling in but the reality is, both situations can spell trouble if not handle carefully.  I always hear my parents and grandparents saying that one should always remember where they are coming from but my take is an expansion of that thought, always try to know what life is like in and on the opposite side of the fence.  If you happen to have been born into wealth, step ‘simple’ sometimes, see what it is like to live without such wealth.  It is not about making yourself uncomfortable but it’s simply about being in the know.  It may be you living vicariously through someone else’s eyes or lending a hand to those who need it.  The other end of the spectrum is not totally the opposite but it too is true.  If you were not born in a wealthy environment but one day find yourself there, always remember your roots, take some time to reflect on the life you lived and that which you are living now because you never know when you will have to revert to your previous lifestyle or return to your previous situation.

Life is all about making do with what you know.  I speak of wealth but I am not only referencing riches and money here, it can be comfort or anything that makes your life easier.  Growing up, I wasn’t really the child to yearn for the comfort or wealthy lifestyle that I often see because my experience taught me to make the most of any situation I was or am placed in.  I often had to walk a long distance to get to school (primary), yet it never really bothered me, I don’t know if I was just young and naïve or I was just truly comfortable but I found fun and enjoyment with each trod.  Yes there were days when I had to endure what the weather brought, whether rain or torrid sun but that discomfort lasted for a while.  When it rained I would put my shoes in my bag and wade barefoot but again, that was part of the fun.  When you had to stay late for extra class, especially when it was nearing exam time, I didn’t worry about trodding the dark and lonely road because I was comfortable, I knew that when I got home my family would be waiting for me.  In my more recent past, when I started working and managed to buy a car, I tried not to get too comfortable because I knew any minute something could go wrong with it and I would have to revert to public transportation.  In this regard, I would make it a regular thing to not drive to work or wherever I needed to go but instead, would take public transportation, or I would simply foot it, just to ensure that I am in tune and in touch with regular day to day activities because the word on the street is often the word to believe, the truth.

I speak of the idea of not getting too comfortable but to try to visit the different world views and world situations that exist.  However, these worlds too can be mental and cognitive or even historical.  Case in point, February is Black History Month and though there are many celebrations, the extent to which celebrations existed has dwindled.  The maxim states that “in order to know where we are going we must know where we are coming from” and in this sense, it may mean to reflect and revisit our roots.  In the Caribbean space, we have a history of displacement and as such we need to be informed and educated about the lives our ancestors lived and the struggles they endured.  Such knowledge often empowers and gives the strength to survive the stressful days with which we are faced and it also offers the flexibility to adapt to anything situation.  We never know, that which makes use most uncomfortable may one day become our reality.  FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Title: Hello Mama Africa

Artiste: Garnett Silk

Riddim: Smile

Year: 1993

INTRO
Mama Africa
Mama Africa
I am coming home
I am coming home

CHORUS

Hello Mama Africa
How are you
I’m feeling fine
And I hope you’re fine too
Hello Mama Africa
How are you
I hope when you hear these words
Your greys turn blue
Greys turn blue

VERSE 1
I’m saying these words
To let you know
How much I care
And I won’t let go
Even though we’re
Oceans away
You’re with me
Day by day
Memories of you keep flashing through my mind
The very thought of you make my time

CHORUS

Hello Mama Africa
How are you
I’m feeling fine
And I hope you’re fine too
Hello, Mama Africa
How are you
I hope when you hear these words
Your greys turn blue, greys turn blue

VERSE 2

Don’t you worry know
I won’t be long
Seek Paradise I’m coming soon
When I’m with you I can’t be wrong
If not in May then you’ll see me in June

CHORUS
Hello Mama Africa
How are you
I’m feeling fine
And I hope you’re fine too
Hello, Mama Africa
How are you
I hope when you hear these words
Your greys turn blue, greys turn blue

BRIDGE
The sweetest things are there to be found
The golden sunshine the wind that blows around
The fresh vegetation
Which comes from the earth
Oh Mama Africa you make me know
What life is worth, hey!

CHORUS
Hello Mama Africa
How are you
I’m feeling fine
And I hope you’re fine too
Hello, Mama Africa
How are you
I hope when you hear these words
Your greys turn blue

Your greys turn blue Mama Africa

Song Ends

 

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