Antigua: “Queen Ivena” gets ready for battle


Antigua and Barbuda’s The Daily Observer reports on the possible legal battle between Prime Minister Gaston Browne and calypsonian Lena “Queen Ivena” Phillip if she does not change a line from her song, “Nastiness” [also known as “Nasty”]. The article does not quote the critical content, but you may check it out on YouTube.

Queen Ivena, who is Antigua’s first female Calypso Monarch is one of this year’s semi-finalists, along with De Arc, De Bear, Destroyer Snr, Dr. Principle, Dr. Solo, King Fiah, King Kaseba, King Panman, King Singing Sudden, King Zacari, Queen Althea, Richie Francis, Sage, Sammy C, Sassy, Stumpy, Willie Wawa, and Young Destroyer. See more from the The Daily Observer:

The nation’s first female Calypso Monarch, Lena “Queen Ivena” Phillip, is adamant that she will not be conceding to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s threat of a lawsuit if she does not change a line in her song. The PM has said there are lyrics in the song titled “Nastiness” which are defamatory.

Queen Ivena maintains that there were “no slanderous lines whatsoever” in the song, therefore neither she nor her team would be “frightened by anyone in authority”. She said her attorney Ralph Francis is standing behind her in the matter.

The calypsonian was speaking to OBSERVER media in an interview on Sunday after she sang the song in the Calypso Monarch quarter finals on Saturday night with the original lyrics. While there were many who were there to support the singer, there were also those who booed after her performance.

The singer was emotional backstage, when OBSERVER media sought to interview her on the controversial lyrics. She said that she would not be stopped from representing God, the people of Antigua & Barbuda, the spirit of calypsonians who came before her, and individuals who have fought for free speech in the country.

Queen Ivena said it is in this spirit that she has decided to sing her song “with pride and dignity”. She is also calling on the public to remember the role that the art form plays in society. “Remember, long before any electronic media, it was calypso that expressed the wrong in society, broke down the details so that the ordinary man in the street can understand,” she added.

She is calling for Antiguans & Barbudans to stand up with her. [. . .]

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