Pride in Heritage Voice of Strength

The Barbados Advocate

"Pride in heritage, voice of strength"
By Nigel Wallace

If you do not know Eintou Pearl Springer, you probably should. Described by Jaqui Wiltshire as being, "Spawned from Trinidad and Tobago for the benefit of the entire Caribbean", Eintou has provided a powerful voice of pride in ”Africanness”, which attempts to define identity for the people of our region.

Eintou, which means ”black pearl", has been a controversial character in the literary and performance culture of our region. The founder and recently retired director of the National Heritage Museum of Trinidad, Eintou’s work both on the page, the stage and in her activist driven life, has been focused upon the tragic
history of the African descendants in the Caribbean region, whose strength has seen them through the troubled times since slavery.

On April 23, Tyrol Cot, Codrington House, enjoyed the launch of Eintou’s latest publication, ”Loving the Skin I’m In", a compilation of Eintou’s poems throughout the years. Under the patronage of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Tyrol Cot’s beautiful surroundings, certainly set the mood for an evening of heritage based performances.

Opening with the well known talents of the Sankofa Drummers, the evening enjoyed a brilliant display of song, dance and drumming by the Pinelands Creative Workshop. With the chattel house background of Tyrol Cot, coupled with the rhythms and sights of the evening’s performers, the mood was well set for the first rendition of poetry by Eintou.

Gasps and laughs, accompanied absolute silence, as the audience sat in wonderment at the brilliance of an artiste who is a true performer. With subject matter moving throughout time, like a text of our region’s history, Eintou touched upon the, horrors of prior slavery and the reality of present slavery. She voiced the struggles and sacrifices of individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Sir Walter Rodney and Eric Williams to name a few, and passionately cried out when she dealt with the growing cancer of HIV/AIDS in our region.
Described by her close mend and sister, Cynthia Wilson, as never being "cavalier" about anything, Eintou took passionate to the next level at the launch of ”Loving the Skin I’m In". From slave trade to AIDS trade, this text is not simply the consciousness of the life and times of the creolised African woman, but is indeed a useful historic text, which scrutinizes the Caribbean at the most personal levels.