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Popular dancer White Chocolate is being dragged from his high seat, after mentioning that he paved the way for black people to make wining into a profession.
The name ‘White Chocolate’ has become synonymous at fetes, and soca themed parties all across the Caribbean region and its diasporas. As his name says, the dancer is a caucasian man known for his elaborate wining skills. However, where and how did he formulate his craft? White Chocolate, whose real name is Josh Butler, is a UK native who spent a 2-year internship in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The youngster quickly soaked up some of the native cultures and was soon seen flying the St. Lucian flag high in other parts of the world, subsequently receiving praises for the rarity of being a “white persons that can wine.”
However, the love for this specific chocolate quickly evaporated after he appeared on a roundtable series on the Four 8 Youtube Channel to take part in their episode centering around the Black Lives Matter movement. Butler was one of 2 Caucasians taking part in the discussion, presumably to add diversity on the touchy topic. Still, during the interview, Butler admitted to not knowing much about the Black Caribbean culture he frequently represents through his White Chocolate brand, which currently boasts over 160k predominantly black followers on Instagram. It was then hinted by fellow panelists that his entire “brand” centered around white privilege and exploitation, key factors in the matter of cultural appropriation.
While explaining his current role in the culture, he said, “Wining is part of the Caribbean and it’s been there for years. What I do is brand it and turn it into something that can be a profession. There were people before me. In a way I have been paving a way for black people to come after me.” The now-viral clip has resulted in tremendous backlash on the part of White Chocolate, as Caribbean nationals hurl their criticisms at him for stealing their culture instead of simply enjoying it. He was quickly labeled as a modern version of Christopher Columbus, the man who claimed to discover the Caribbean even though it was previously inhabited.
“How can you pave a way for something that has been not your people but my people’s culture for years. The only thing you did was steal culture. But then again that’s all white people are capable of,” came one of the thousands of comments before a post of the viral video. UK songstress Adele was also drawn into the mix for her recent attire of Bantu knots, yellow feather collar, and Jamaican print bikini top she wore to celebrate the UK based Nottingham Carnival weekend. The “Hello” singer’s post was quickly bombarded with comments from persons bashing her for rocking the traditional African knots in her hair. However, some Caribbean and African natives found nothing wrong with Adele’s actions and praised her for her appearance. “To all the ignorant non Jamaicans dragging Adele for supporting the Jamaican culture, sit down! You don’t speak for us! We are proud of Adele! Nuff respeck to her!” Came one comment.
Sadly for White Chocolate, a proper scouring of a few comment sections did not highlight any support for his claims. With this in mind, he issued an apology to his fans and supporters via Instagram.
“When I said ‘pave the way,’ I didn’t mean pave the way for other people to whine, what I meant was that in a way I am creating opportunities, or at least trying to, for others to do what I do (by being an influencer not just whining) by showing that influencers can be a great tool to promote your brand,” he said.
He then continued the justification of his statement. “In my experience, I have found that influencers aren’t as common in the Caribbean as other places like the UK and US. And in turn a lot of brands don’t see the benefits of promoting your brand through someone who has a large social media following,” he wrote.
However, the apology was faced with strong rebuttals as persons questioned the genuineness of the dancer and called for his cancellation, meanwhile bashing island natives for giving him free rein. One person wrote, “Lmfao you canceled babe. I blame St. Lucians for giving you the undeserving praise that you got! This is the worst time ever to even speak on black people. FYI there were several people before you who took whinning as a profession sir. We never asked you for no help! This apology should be taken down it’s trash.”
There have been numerous calls for the dancer to provide a list of acts he has helped to pave the way for, however, such a list has not been provided. The Caribbean has seen strong representation from the likes of Inhalemee, Empress Cece, Royal G, among others who own and operate their own dance programs. Inhalemee, who has roots in both Trinidad and Jamaica shared her view on White Chocolate’s statement. “Pave the way? Let’s pull up receipts I don’t even ask for credit and I know the impact I made since 2016,” she wrote while tagging Butler.
Empress Cece said, “That white boy funny with the amount of dancers that made this Caribbean world big. He’s hilarious.”
Nearly every musical genre originating from the Caribbean entails some form of dance. Wining and gyrating is most frequently noticed in soca and calypso sub-genres, dancehall/reggae, and other Latin American artforms. Jamaica’s