Thursday, July 13, 2006

Scratch that: LifeBEAT releases new statement

Following this morning's press conference by black and Caribbean gay activists outside the corporate offices of LifeBEAT and some somewhat conciliatory comments from LIFEbeat's leadership given last night to a reporter from the AP, the AIDS-focused music industry foundation has removed their initial press statement from the front of their website and announced a "Forum for [the] Caribbean American Community."

Quoting LIFEbeat Executive Director John Cannelli from the press statement released today:
In our desire to do something positive within the Caribbean American community, we didn’t realize the depth of the hurt in the GLBT community around the lyrics of these artists. Once we saw how deep and real it is, it became very clear that canceling the concert was the right thing to do. We want to extend a heartfelt apology to those we offended and thank the individuals who raised their voices and helped us to see a more effective way to realize our mission. We also want to clarify the concerns of violence we felt. Those concerns didn’t stem from any threats from activists or members of the Caribbean American community. They stemmed from threatening phone calls our office received from random individuals that led to concerns for the safety of our staff and others.

We’re not giving up and are continuing our commitment to this community. The issues of homophobia, sexism, racism and poverty, key factors in the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS, need to be addressed openly. In looking at the bigger picture with the lessons we’ve learned, this concert wasn’t the right forum for this important topic. Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to key members of the Caribbean American community and to AIDS organizations to join together in creating an appropriate forum, where our individual strengths as activists and the power of coming together under one important cause can make a real difference in this community.
We say, thanks LIFEbeat! You finally got it right!

As for that LIFEbeat Larry Levan memorial event? Groovy!

Further commentary:
  • Rod2.0 here
  • A timeline from Frank Leon Roberts here
  • An column here
  • A statement from Emanuel Xavier here
  • More photos of the morning's press conference and commentary from J's Theatre here
  • Kenyon Farrow has a breakdown of this morning's speakers here
  • Additional stuff from Keith Boykin here and Jasmyne Cannick here
  • Bernard is promising an update later today
  • A new AP article which includes mention of today's developments here


John K said...

Hi Andrés, I didn't get an opportunity to meet you this morning, but I hope it's okay if I used some of the photos, credited to you of course, from Fotki.

Anonymous said...

Here is a really thoughtful blog post from someone who sees BOTH sides of the issue: