- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

#NotMyPrince Hashtag Uses Prince Harry's Upcoming Caribbean Visit to Resist ‘Colonisation of the Mind’

Categories: Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St.Kitts & Nevis, Citizen Media, Ethnicity & Race, History, Politics, Travel
HRH Prince Harry at an announcement for the 2014 Invictus Games. Photo by Defence Images. Photographer: Sergeant Steve Blake RLC. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 [1]

HRH Prince Harry at an announcement for the 2014 Invictus Games. Photo by Defence Images. Photographer: Sergeant Steve Blake RLC. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Despite the fact that most Caribbean territories have been independent [2] from Great Britain for decades — some of them for more than half a century — the mother country continues to wield a curious influence [3] over its former colonies.

Most regional territories, still members of the Commonwealth [4], follow the United Kingdom's political and judicial systems, for instance. Cricket [5] is a hugely popular sport. People drive on the left side of the road, attach value [6] to speaking “the Queen's English” [7] and in many cases are captivated by all things royal, so there is some measure of excitement surrounding Prince Harry's impending visit [8] to the Caribbean — except when it comes to a popular hashtag.

On Twitter, #NotMyPrince [9] describes itself as an “anti-colonial welcoming committee for Prince Harry […] resisting against the colonization of the Caribbean mind”. The aim, according to the project's Tumblr, lies in “breaking the bonds of empire”.

The prince's tour [8] is scheduled to start in Antigua on November 20, 2016. Over the course of two weeks, he will also visit St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana and Barbados, where he is due to meet Barbados-born superstar Rihanna [10].

One of #NotMyPrince's content creators, Nalini Mohabir, finds the whole thing ironic [11]. She posted several tweets with the hashtag in order to bring other social media users into the discussion surrounding colonialism and Caribbean identity:

In 2009, a video emerged of Prince Harry joking around with his Sandhurst collegaues, one of whom he referred to [14] as “our little Paki friend”. There was outrage at his use of the derogatory term, even though the prince may not have intended it as an insult.

In 2015, Barbados’ prime minister, Freundel Stuart, announced [15] that by November 2016, he wanted to make “little England” — the country has long been viewed as the most colonial in the archipelago — a republic, replacing the Queen with a ceremonial president as head of state. Mohabir may have been referring to this when she asked:

While Prime Minister Stuart has been using decolonisation rhetoric, it appears the country has come no closer [17] to installing a president over the queen, prompting #NotMyPrince to tweet about the subject.

The conversation soon accelerated, with British online magazine Consented tweeting:

The UK has refused to entertain any dialogue [22] about paying reparations [23] to the region for its part in the transatlantic slave trade.

By quoting several accomplished West Indians — from former presidents to writers — #NotMyPrince was keen on making the point [24] that this is not a new storyline; that Caribbean people have been singing the same song for decades:

Prince Harry has recently made headlines for dating mixed race actress Meghan Markle [33]. In an unprecedented move, Kensington Palace released an official statement [34] which warned the paparazzi that “a line has been crossed” and criticised the media's treatment of the prince's new girlfriend.

#NotMyPrince cleverly used the actress’ own words to make its case:

It seems that the identity many Caribbean citizens want for themselves no longer includes the British Crown.