Over on her blog, Jasmyne Cannick has been following ongoing protests against homophobic dancehall reggae singers currently touring the United States. Most recently we reported on efforts by Chicago's Gay Liberation Network to shut down a performance by Buju Banton in Chicago which followed our coverage of this summer's protest against LIFEbeat for hiring some of the same singers for a NYC concert to raise money for HIV services in Jamaica (a mind boggling and wrong-headed move as any).
Previously, we also suggested that LIFEbeat consider holding a concert featuring singer Tanya Stephens although I admit the suggestion was based on an amazing interview that ran in the European Riddim Magazine and an amazing track from her (then) unreleased CD "Rebelution" (currently only $12.97 at Amazon.com) called "These Streets" which was featured on their cover-mount CD.
I finally got my hands on a copy (which includes a DVD with a documentary and Tanya performing some acoustic versions of some of the songs on the CD) and I just have to say that I am blown away. It's a warm, emotional, stunningly beautiful album that might just be my favorite CD of the year.
The article mentioned that the album would deal directly with issues related to homophobia in Jamaica and it certainly does. Below you will find excerpted lyrics from the song "Do You Still Care" which Riddim called the track that might draw the most controversy. It's just one amazing track.
People, please support Tanya! And I'm not just saying this because she is gay-friendly but rather because the album is so great!
Excerpt from Tanya Stephen's "Do You Still Care?"
Where Bigga grew up boys were supposed to be tough
Girls were trophies every man always kept a few of
When he was hurt and the tears would sting at his eyes
His mother said, "Stop the noise, yuh a girl? Real boys don't cry"
He learned in order to be a man he had to know how to fight
And had some very definitive rules bout what's wrong or right
He never had the luxury of being able to choose
So to him for being different there was no excuse
Bigga was hustling on the corner, making some cash
When he bumped into some beef that he had from the past
He watched the guns raise and the bullets fly
In disbelief as his friends all jumped in their rides
Left him in the gutter didn't care if he died
He was rescued by a care with plates that said "Gay Pride"
It would have been fatal, the shot in your head
They saved your life though you always said chi-chi fi dead
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