I bring this up because this Saturday a number of organizations and anti-homophobia advocates are staging a protest at Randall's Island where some of the most homophobic Jamaican dancehall reggae singers will be performing at Reggae Carifest.
They include Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Elephant Man. Full details below as well as additional information about another two events being targeted on later dates.
Interestingly, some of us have been here before. In September of 2004 I was amongst the picketers outside a Hot97-sponsored concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, T.O.K. and Elephant Man. And, most recently, in July of 2006 this blogger joined other bloggers in denouncing the HIV/AIDS charity organization LifeBEAT for inviting Beenie Man and T.O.K. to perform at an AIDS fundraiser.
In the UK, activist Peter Tatchell and Outrage! have led a recent campaign called "The Reggae Compassionate Act" asking dancehall reggae performers to sign a statement renouncing to past homophobic statements and agreeing not to include homophobic lyrics in their future music.
Some leading performers, including the above mentioned Beenie Man, Sizzla, Capleton and Buju Banton have signed on although both Buju Banton and Beenie Man have subsequently denied signing the statements to Jamaican press.
As for LifeBEAT you would think that they would know better considering that in 2006 they decided to scratch the concert due to the rising criticism of hiring two virulently anti-gay performers for a concert. And, sure! None of the performers appearing at Saturday's concert showed up at the Reggae Carifest kick-off event last week but it certainly was promoting the concert and it seems that LifeBEAT was there as well.
- Mudrer Inna Dancehall
- Peter Tatchell / Outrage! (UK)
- Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays/J-FLAG (Jamaica)
- Human Rights Watch: Jamaica
SAY NO TO HATE MUSIC
We demand an end to music and speech that advocates hate or violence against any group, including gays and lesbians, women, or people of color.
We take a stand against hate speech in any form of music: hip hop, rock, metal or Jamaican reggae/dancehall.
We call on all reggae artists to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act, a simple statement that there is "no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia."
At least 4 of the over 30 artists scheduled to perform in NYC in August (Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Elephant Man) have refused to sign the RCA and some have stated they will never do so. We commend the two performers, Sizzla and Capleton, who have signed the RCA.
We call on the concert promoters - Clear Channel (LiveNation), Team Legendary, HOT 97, Team Irie Jamboree - to stop giving these performers a platform to spread their message of hate, and to drop them from the concert lineups.
Join us to continue this campaign to end hate music in all its forms around the world - we will not be silent!
Anti-Violence Project, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Gay Men of African Descent, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, People of Color in Crisis, Queer Justice League
Protest/Speakout: Reggae CariFest, Randall's Island, Sat. Aug. 25th, 5 pm (meet at GMAD, 103 E. 125, #503, at 3:30 pm)
On Da Reggae Tip, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th St., NYC, Fri., Aug. 31st, 7 pm
Irie Jamboree, Roy Wilkins Park, Queens, Sun. Sep. 2, 5 pm
Planning meetings: Thursdays at 8 pm, Think Coffeehouse, 248 Mercer St. (between 3rd and 4th Sts.), NYC
For more info: www.gmad.org