'Spade' digs deep to take Monarch crown

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ST. CROIX - Cedric "Spade" Brooks won the Crucian Christmas Festival 60th Anniversary Calypso Monarch crown on Thursday with lyrics skewering politicians for being out of touch with the concerns of the people.

Hundreds of residents filed into Island Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night to bear witness to the competition for the Crucian Christmas Festival 60th Anniversary Calypso Monarch crown.

The show lasted well into the night, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and many hunched over with laughter from the competitors and the emcees, radio personality Darren "Bogle" Stephens and Trinidadian comedian Tommy Joseph.

Nine calypsonians won a spot Dec. 23 during the eliminations competition to go up against last year's winner, Morris "Generic" Benjamin, who had a free pass to the finals in hopes of maintaining his title and crown along with the $7,500 cash prize and other awards.

The other competitors were Karen "Lady Mac" McInstosh, Campbell "King Kan" Barnes, Kasaun "K-Force" Baptiste, Temisha "Caribbean Queen" Libert, Samuel "Mighty Pat" Ferdinand, Elvis "Tumba" Stapleton, Lynda "Nikki Brooks" McDonald and Demaris "Queen Terror" Belardo.

Many of the competitors took shots at politicians and the government with their songs, while others addressed social issues and the hard economic times in the territory.

Some pleaded to end violence and put away the guns; some focused on celebrating festival and partying with pride.

Lady Mac took the stage first with her song "Push," walking through the crowd in a business suit, portraying Sen. Alicia Hansen and passing out calendars and money.

She belted out some of Hansen's catch phrases from the senator's campaign for re-election, saying that Hansen was not worried about the haters of VI Action Group or Crucians in Focus because she just told the residents to vote from the bottom up and she was re-elected.

In the second round, Lady Mac sang "So Much Pain," which spoke about how the murder of her brother affected her. She was on the verge of tears as she made a plea to stop the violence in the territory.

King Kan was second with his songs "Call 911" and "Dem Santo Panty" for rounds one and two, respectively.

His first song lashed out at senators, saying that residents need to call 911 because the territory is in a state of emergency from irresponsible acts of the V.I. Legislature.

Mighty Pat's performance was along those same lines as he sang "Who Holding the Bag?" His lyrics targeted the misuse of government funds and under-the-table payoffs and bribes and questioned why no one knows who is responsible and no one is held accountable.

Generic threw rolls of toilet paper into the crowd as he sang about how the senators messed up the territory with their messy bills and lack of action. He said problems with potholes, sewage running in the streets and high utility bills are ignored while senators are passing legislation for things that are not important.

"Give them toilet paper for them nasty bill they make in the legislature," he sang.

Next up was K-Force, who also sang about irresponsible spending by senators and a lack of respect for teachers and government workers. In the second round, he was dressed half as a woman and half as a man as he sang "Sexuality," which admonished residents for being distracted by his sexuality and other melee while the territory is becoming a shambles.

Caribbean Queen put the administration in the hot seat as she donned a nursing uniform and protested the firing of dozens of nurses early last year with her song "Health Care Dilemma." Her lyrics warned Gov. John deJongh Jr. that if he gets sick, it will be nurses who have to ensure he does not die.

Tumba, who took a break from competing for a few years, returned this year to advocate having fun but partying responsibly with his song "Separate." He said too many times young adults ruin the party for the more mature crowd because they get drunk and cause problems at the dance. His second-round song, "Hurray Festival," celebrated the joys of the island's weekslong cultural extravaganza.

In his second-round performance, Mighty Pat also sang about his pride in the Virgin Islands.

Nikki Brookes sang about the internal struggle that many residents are going through with the increase in drug dealing and drug use, gang and domestic violence and other social ills that have been weighing heavy on residents' hearts and minds with her song "The War Within."

For his second-round performance, Generic encouraged residents to pray more, singing that things are going down hill in the territory, but prayer can turn things around.

In round one, Spade took aim at legislation that he considered laughable in his song "Stupid Politics." He decried the drama surrounding the election and said that when he spoke with some candidates about their platforms, he thought they were joking because their concerns were not the concerns of the people.

Queen Terror also focused on "Election" but talked about the many issues residents had with the voting machines and how long it took for paper ballots to be counted. She said all of the issues in the outcome of the election were blamed on voters being confused.

In the second round, Queen Terror made a plea to leave the guns alone. She sang that no guns are manufactured here, so the government should be responsible for the deaths of those killed by guns.

The competitors were judged for their lyrics, melody, clarity, presentation, originality and performance, with the lyrics being worth the most points.

- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

First place: Cedric "Spade" Brooks

Second place: Samuel "Mighty Pat" Ferdinand

Third Place: Karen "Lady Mac" McIntosh and Lynda "Nikki Brookes" McDondald

Most Humorous: Campbell "King Kan" Barnes

Political Commentary: Karen "Lady Mac" McIntosh

Social Commentary: Lynda "Nikki Brookes" McDonald

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