New York - It appears that the future of Steelpan music at Lincoln Center may be nothing more than "Dead Man Walking." In what has to be one of the most glaring acts of total disregard and one of the ugliest insults the instrument has suffered in its 50-plus year history - Abstract Entertainment, Inc. (AEI) along with its partners BET and Lincoln Center pull off a scallywag move in broad daylight that is both traitorous and deceitful.
Back in the sixties and fifties it was common practice for album covers and promotional material to leave the pictures of Black recording artists off. It was a racist and shameful practice that was part of an era in the music business that has been put behind us. Now, fast forward to 2009. On Friday morning an irate, well-known and respected panman wrote When Steel Talks about an Ad he received promoting the upcoming "PanJazz" to be held at Lincoln Center in New York. This pan person who is very level-headed and not prone to emotional and un-intellectual outbursts called what he saw "malicious." We at When Steel Talks most certainly agree.
One cannot defend the indefensible. This was a deliberate move. It clearly was not an oversight. How on earth do you forget the pan image or pan performer on an Ad for PANjazz? You do not! Clearly, AEI, BET and Jazz at Lincoln Center are sending a message. They are moving on - and they have exploited the steelpan instrument, culture and people to the max from their perspective. Pan and pan people got them through the door, and established the show as a premier 'Father's Day event' - and now it is time to deep-six the pan. Who can not help but notice that the "PanJazz" shows have been well patronized and made up almost exclusively of pan fans since the show's 2004 inception?
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