The first time I heard Nadia Batson's 2013 offering, 'Manager', I bit my lip to quell the laughter that threatened to erupt. After all, I was in a public space.
The radio personality who introduced the song kept 'wheeling' the song as he playfully admonished Batson for her viewpoints portrayed within the lyrics. "Nadia, how yuh could say dat, gyul?! Yuh go make real bachannal wit dat, man! Oh gorsh!" I knew instantly that it would indeed become an anthem for many women and men would have to get accustomed to hearing women singing it to and at them, whether they, the men, were guilty of such actions or not.
I don't think there's one woman who has heard that song who can say that she can't relate to it or that she doesn't know someone to whom it can relate.
Batson, the woman behind the relatively new band, SASS, makes no bones about how a woman should treat with a controlling man. There is no way the lyrics can be misinterpreted; in no way are they ambiguous.
While there is an underlying serious issue, the 'Trini' culture is such that we find the 'lighter side' of things.
Hereunder are excerpts from Batson's hit:
Run 'way from dat
Get 'way from dat
Break 'way from dat
If he tell yuh what to wear
How to comb and style yuh hair
If he make yuh change yuh clothes
Doh like de Cutex on yuh toes
If he ask yuh where yuh been
What time yuh go, what time yuh come in
There is something you need to know, gyal
You doh have a man
Gyal, you have a manager
Dem boys who does dictate all de pace like dem is de boss ah yuh
Gyal, dahiz not yuh man
Dat is yuh manager
Whole day, whole night, all over yuh
He dey like a scavenger
Gyal, run away from dat
Just get away from dat
And if he say come back
Yuh better break contract
If he doh like all yuh friends
Make yuh stop talk to all ah dem
Say yuh cyah go out tonight
If ah man say "Hi", he want to fight
If he does take up yuh phone
Den act like if is not yuh own
There is something ah wha yuh know, gyal
What were some women's reactions to the song? Did they relate to the song in any way?
Peaches exclaimed, "Aye! I love, love, love that song! Once again, we could put man in dey place! My manager on work is enough; I doh even listen to him so far less some man I wit. Give me a MAN any day, baby!"
Carrie was timid as she smiled demurely. "What can I say? She hit the nail on the head with that one. Don't give a man that power over you. I really like the song but I don't sing it in front of my husband; he might not like that."
Arlene startled me with her volume as she said, "Aye, oh gorsh! Nadia is mih gyurl! Dat song real hot! If I tell you me and my boyfriend break up over dat song but I don't care. I start singing dat song for him
one night when he want me to stay home. I ask him why I should stay home and he turn around and say because he say so. So I start singing dat song and he get vex and leave and say we done. More fish in de sea, yes."
Pat was a bit on the serious side. "I was with a boyfriend who used to try to make me stop talking to my best friend, only wear the perfume he like, stay inside and don't talk to neighbours… When he told me not to wear a top because 'like ah was looking for man', I had enough. I couldn't take the controlling anymore."
Kim said, "Well, I'm with my first boyfriend ever. Yes, at 24 years. So I haven't had that experience but my sister is with a guy who likes to tell her what to wear, when to wear it. That gets me so vex eh. She's still with him. I wish her luck. Whenever I hear that song, I remember her. I hope she leaves that boy one day."
Not that we're advocating domestic violence but Nessy's account did make some bystanders chuckle. Nessy boomed, "No man controlling me, darling!" Seeking the music file on her mobile phone, she continued, "Look, dat song is my ringtone. I not 'playing dat'. My husband try telling me to stop wearing my weave just las' year and want to play he taking my weave to fling it outside. He buy dat? Girl, I beat dat eh. People thought I was going crazy that night. He own muddah tell me he look for dat!"
The tricky thing with controlling men is that there are some who are very direct and there is no way you can miss their intentions. However, there are those who are so subtle, a woman might not realise the danger lurking.
You just have to try to have that discerning spirit to determine if a man is being reasonable in his requests and suggestions or if he is indeed trying to control you. Suggesting a nail or hair colour or hairstyle is fine. However, demanding that you do it and/or then getting angry if you do not oblige, is cause for concern. If you need to 'report' your activities to him at every turn…you doh have man; gyal, you have ah MANager eh!
Please stand at attention for the Bash-On-All Anthem!