How Garifuna American Musician YOUNG P MARTINEZ Helped Me Return Home After I Was Robbed

 

Bronx, NY — In 2012, I had been hired to photograph a Bronx Coronation Ceremony for a Garifuna Hometown Association. The event was packed, festive and overall, people appeared to have a fantastic time there.  I was completely unprepared for what happened to me later that night though.

Copyright 2016 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo”).  All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.

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At the end of the night, I sat at the edge of the stage, held my nuts, camera equipment and waited to get paid.    People were cleaning up the venue and musicians were packing up their instruments and tools.  When it was time for me to get paid for my photography, the president of the Garifuna hometown association tried to sneak away and leave the venue without speaking to me or paying me.  Well, a few concerned citizens caught this Garifuna Hometown Association President, interceded and had that person speak to me before leaving the Bronx venue.

The President of the Garifuna Hometown Association claimed that there wasn’t any money to pay me at the time (apparently the person who collected money at the door as people entered had left WITH the money earlier in the evening), but would speak to me the next day and make arrangements to pay me.  Meanwhile, I didn’t bring any money with me, I fully expected to get paid SOMETHING and didn’t worry about bringing a little bit of cash with me.  I didn’t even have money to get on the train to get back home.  It wasn’t like someone approached me with a switchblade knife to my neck, reached into my pocket and took my money.  Nor did someone put a gun to my head.  Nope.  But because I did not get paid for a job I was hired to do, I was robbed nonetheless.  The person collecting the money from patrons at the door had disappeared.  And the party was PACKED!!!

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Just before all this went down, I was in the middle of a conversation with New York City based Garifuna Musician (he plays guitar–I think Rhythm Guitar and Bass Guitar) and Singer, Young P Martinez.  From time to time, we would see each other at various gigs and get a chance to briefly talk.  I welcome any chance to talk with Garifuna musicians.  I usually walk away with something new I have learned.

Young P Martinez fingers playing bass guitar. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

Young P Martinez fingers playing bass guitar. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

That night, he had musically backed Veteran Garifuna Singer and Performer BABYLOU (of famed Honduran Garifuna music group, Kaligar Band) as Babylou performed at this Bronx Coronation Ceremony.  A terrific talent from Bajamar, Honduras; Babylou had the audience finishing his lyrics as he sang them.

Veteran Garifuna Singer BABYLOU. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674

Veteran Garifuna Singer BABYLOU. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674

As musicians were packing up their instruments and such, Young P Martinez and I were talking about the plight of Garifuna Musicians.  Trying to get gigs, trying to get paid from gigs, the state of Garifuna Music in New York City, the Garifuna music scene in New York City, etc.  I remembered mostly listening as he shared how he felt about the topic from his perspective as a Garifuna American musician.  I responded by sharing my brief observations from my perspective as someone from the general public as well as by someone who has taken it upon myself to document the goings-on within the Garifuna community.

Young P Martinez performing with his Garifuna Music Group GX Team at a Sweet 16 in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

Young P Martinez performing with his Garifuna Music Group GX Team at a Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

Well, as my predicament unfolded (his long-time girlfriend was actually one of the people who got the President of the Garifuna Hometown Association to at least speak to me before leaving), this man, this artist, pulled out a $10 bill and handed it over to me after he found out I didn’t have a cent to my name and couldn’t even get home.  I thanked him and proceeded to get something to eat at the local 7/11 store and then take the two-hour trip back home (it takes that long for me to get home from the Bronx using public transportation on the weekends in New York City).

 

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I mention this not to have any one feel sorry for me.  I do not mention this for a reader to get mad at how mean and criminal some Garifuna people can be to one another.  I mention and share this story to highlight the mindfulness, generosity and character of this particular Garifuna artist.  Believe me, he did NOT have to do what he did and I appreciated his gesture.


Last year, Young P Martinez released an album as an expression of his Garifuna heritage and culture.  I could probably arrange to get a free copy of the CD, but I prefer to BUY a copy when I get the chance.  I have not heard Young P Martinez’s album as of yet (other than small 30 second samples on Amazon), but I encourage those who are interested to go to the link and learn more about his Garifuna musical production entitled “200+ Years After“. http://amzn.to/2cwU79s

I’m happy to report that since that incident with the Bronx Garifuna Hometown Association, not only has this Garifuna artist released an album, but he has MARRIED his long-time Garifuna Girlfriend (the same one who helped get the Garifuna Hometown Association President to at least see me when that person tried to sneak away) and also moved away from New York City to begin a new life with his family.  Garifuna MARRIAGE is something to promote and I am happy to do so when I can. By the way, DO people even get married today?

Young P Martinez "200 Plus Years After" Album Cover.

Young P Martinez “200 Plus Years After” Album Cover.

Young P Martinez also celebrated a Birthday on Monday, September 5th 2016.  Again, I urge those who can to learn more about this Garifuna artist’s new musical production, “200+ Years After” and support it if you can and are interested.  I know times are hard, but Amazon has the option where people do not have to buy an entire album, they can buy individual songs for .99 each.  http://amzn.to/2cwU79s

So I ask you, have you ever had an experience where you didn’t get paid after being hired to do a job?  Do you Musicians have horror stories about Janky Promoters selling you a dream and then sneaking away through the back door after collecting all the money at the door?  How about any instance where you had an arrangement with someone to do a job and things didn’t work out for whatever reason?  Do you want to know what happened between the President of the Garifuna Hometown Association?  You could probably guess, but comment below if you can.

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.  From this cultural fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.

The Garifuna (then known as The Black Caribs) are noted for not only being the main source of resistance against European expansion into the Lesser Antilles over the course of over 150 years, but also being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men,  1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.

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In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797. Subsequently, the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.

Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Boston, Miami and Boston.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

Garifuna American Musician and Singer YOUNG P MARTINEZ. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

Garifuna American Musician and Singer YOUNG P MARTINEZ. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

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