Which agendas are at work? What will the end product be?
A friend of mine was once interviewed by a television reporter about a problem in the community. When he saw the broadcast he was both astonished and angry because the message he communicated had been corrupted and spoiled by an editor, he believes deliberately, to make him less convincing and less credible with the audience. The tv station didn’t just leave out parts of his answers, they inserted his answer from one question to appear as if he was answering another question. The whole interview, the whole news report, became an agenda-driven lie and was my friend’s first-hand education in television fakery.
That was an extreme example of the power of editing visual images to mislead, but it reminds us that everything we see on television is carefully crafted, and selectively pieced together to suit a purpose, and at best only conveys the journalist’s perspective on the subject. When we see something on television we can easily allow ourselves to think that we’ve seen the truth, when we’ve only seen little pieces selected by someone else.
Oprah is coming to Barbados to interview Rihanna – or perhaps she’s already been. You can bet that Oprah’s staff have already decided the big messages of the show – and Rihanna hasn’t even opened her mouth yet. The preview above gives a clue that Oprah’s intent is to feature some of Barbados ‘where it all began’ for Rihanna. I guess that means the audience won’t just be seeing the Platinum Coast. (Come on up to Grape Hall, Oprah, and we’ll put on some grill fish that can’t be beat.)
No doubt the Barbados Tourism Authority is involved somehow, and if they aren’t already they should be working overtime to make sure that Oprah and her staff get the best of the best service and support we can manage. Is the government springing for staff rooms at the Hilton? We own the place, don’t we?
Subjects that interest Oprah
Barbados provides some excellent opportunities for Oprah to explore many of the subjects that interest her – but whether she will do this in a meaningful way or only as visual fluff for the Rihanna interview will have to wait on the finished product.
Oprah has always been intensely interested in human rights, racial history, race interactions and slavery. Barbados certainly provides the proper locale for a look at inter-racial relations in the past and now. Rihanna’s previous public comments that she was bullied at school for being ‘white’ could come up in the conversation. I wonder if Oprah will interview Member of Parliament Gline Clarke about his racist statements against “rich white boys”? Perhaps she’ll interview SIR Roy Trotman about why he derided Diamonds International Director Jacob Hassid for being “an Egyptian Jew”. Maybe Oprah will ask Trotman if he spit on the ground when he said the word “Jew”. Once again, we’ll have to see.
Oprah promotes human rights, including gay human rights…
(This could make for an awkward moment of television.)
Oprah is also one of the first and foremost television celebrities to actively promote gay rights and she has devoted dozens of shows over the years to the issue. Many in Barbados and the Caribbean are fiercely anti-gay, and criminal sanctions remain in Barbados against sex acts between men even in the privacy of their own bedroom. Again, whether Oprah will mention that area of her interest remains to be seen.
Everything is possible though because Rihanna is the main subject and she is very much a child of Barbados, and like each of us with our navel string buried here: you can take the Bajan out of Barbados, but never the other way around. If Oprah wants to know how Rihanna was shaped in her younger years, well, she’s come to the right spot.