Critical Writing Index

Breaking the Network: Grassroots Images Transform Trinidadian TV

by Richard Fung

Fuse, June 1990, v. 13, no. 5, pp. 12-15

In the 1960s in Trinidad, Richard Fung's family bought a television to enjoy the one hour of programming each day. As time went by, programming increased, though it was almost always imported from America. In the 1980s, tensions in Trinidad grew as austerity measures were put in place, and American culture seemed to be washing away the local culture. Fung visited Trinidad at the end of the 1980s, however, and found some promising signs of cultural revitalization. For five years, Trinidadian television broadcast a half-hour show each day called Gayelle, which concentrated on local culture, talent, and goings-on. The show emerged from an international as well as local effort to raise the quality of local television programming. Gayelle turned out to be a nexus for issues such as racial hierarchies and tensions over language in Trinidadian culture. While the show ended due to budget constraints and was replaced by Late Night Lime, run by a younger generation of Trinidadians, Fung sings the praises of Gayelle for helping to bring Trinidadian culture to television.

ITEM 1990.101 – available for viewing in the Research Centre