Boy don’t touch me: Calypso music as social and behavior change communication

Calypsonians have long taken on public health and social issues. Way back when, in 1956, the Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad sang about prostitution that sprang up in the country in the wake of American military bases on the island. Jean and Dinah became an instant classic, still in rotation on many stations today.

In the more than 60 years since, calypsonians have taken on drugs, violence, child sexual abuse, youth unemployment, etc.

The 2017 carnival season was no exception.

In Dominica, one of the winning calypsos, “Hook in a Minor,” by Karessah, addressed child abuse. Using the double entendre popular in the art form, he talks of politicians deep in the minor and reminding them to “leave the minor alone.


In Trinidad, calypso legend Calypso Rose owned the carnival season with her instant feminist anthem, “Leave Me Alone.” The song focuses on women enjoying themselves during carnival without inference from men. The first words from the song: “Boy don’t touch me.”

This is something that many young women have uttered over the years during carnival. Now, there is a long to immortalize this phrase.


As reported in The Washington Post and later on Slate, Attillah Springer,  a Trinidadian writer and activist is quoted as saying, the song is “like a rallying cry for women who just want to be able to have the option of enjoying their Carnival — Carnival being that space of freedom.”

I’m interested in seeing what other topics future calypsonians take on.

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