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Reggae Stars Renounce Homophobia, Condemn Anti-gay Violence

Beenie Man, Sizzla, and Capleton, three of Reggae's biggest stars who in the past have been criticized and banned for using homophobic lyrics that contribute to an atmosphere that permits violence against gays and lesbians, have signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, an agreement put together by Stop Murder Music activists and music promoters.

BeeniemanThose artists signed up for the act have made a pledge to “respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without fear of hatred and violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender, say that "there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia" and "agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community."

Said activist Peter Tatchell, who helped broker the deal for Stop Murder Music:

Sizzla"The Reggae Compassionate Act is a big breakthrough. The singers’ rejection of homophobia and sexism is an important milestone. We rejoice at their new commitment to music without prejudice. This deal will have a huge, positive impact in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The media coverage will generate public awareness and debate, breaking down ignorance and undermining homophobia. Having these major reggae stars renounce homophobia will influence their fans and the wider public to rethink bigoted attitudes. The beneficial effect on young black straight men will be immense."

In return for their agreement, activists have agreed to suspend a campaign against the singers. Five other performers — Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa, Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton — have not signed the agreement and campaigns against them will continue.

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Comments

  1. Hey -- a new career opportunity for Isaiah Washington!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 13, 2007 5:19:45 PM


  2. David, give it a damn rest already!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Jun 13, 2007 5:25:12 PM


  3. Payback's a bitch. But not as big a bitch as I am!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 13, 2007 7:01:17 PM


  4. I just don't find this effort sincere.

    Posted by: 24play | Jun 13, 2007 7:05:10 PM


  5. whats the phrase Im looking for? Oh right, "These a$$holes can go f@ck themselves"

    Posted by: dizzyspins | Jun 13, 2007 10:47:12 PM


  6. Wow, I actually thought this was a really positive development. Hopefully more musicians will take the pledge and let their fans know that they no longer support hatred and senseless violence.

    Posted by: GBM | Jun 14, 2007 1:09:07 AM


  7. Don't you realize why they're doing this?

    The UK forbids these intolerant people from even entering the country - if they didn't sign this thing they'd never make money in more open-minded countries from ticket sales or be able to promote their music.

    They are doing this to save their job, much like Isaiah went to "rahab" to learn not to hate.

    Posted by: Louie | Jun 14, 2007 3:27:55 AM


  8. Even if some suspect insincerity on the reggae artist's part, the pledge means that there'll be fewer of them spewing hate and that's a good thing.

    Posted by: Here | Jun 14, 2007 5:59:14 AM


  9. this is awesome. great statement by tatchell as well.

    Posted by: josh | Jun 14, 2007 9:01:03 AM


  10. Clearly they're doing this for their own personal benefit. Still, its a huge positive step and it will send a message -- hopefully to the murderous homophobes in Jamaica -- that intolerance of any sort is just plain wrong and will no longer to tolerated. Hmmm, sounds slightly oxymoronic ... but you get the point.

    Kudo's to Tatchell ... once again.

    Posted by: taylor Siluwé | Jun 14, 2007 9:25:04 AM


  11. I'm with you Taylor, its mainly because of money, but, its a step in the right direction, and if it can help stop the violence its good. The only sad thing is that posters here never give anyone the benefit of the doubt or a second chance to make amends, which is as bad as any of the intolerance and hateful stuff these guys do.

    Posted by: Sharon | Jun 14, 2007 10:04:36 AM


  12. Isaiah Washington (why can't people cut this guy a break?) also went on to star in a PSA about hate speech, which was very positive though much maligned. Whether or not one thinks these actions are authentic or brought on by the right motives, in the end it is public action and public speech that matters, not the internal life of those sending the message. I wish everyone luck on resolving their inner demons and coming to true acceptance and love for gay people, but if they are not yet there, we can still celebrate their abstention from inciting hatred as a political victory, and can accept their positive efforts of acceptance at face value as positive.

    Posted by: GBM | Jun 14, 2007 10:12:21 AM


  13. Andy you are diplomatic when you write: " three of Reggae's biggest stars who in the past have been criticized and banned for using homophobic lyrics that contribute to an atmosphere that permits violence against gays and lesbians". The lyrics actually INSTRUCTED the listener to burn Batty Bwoys (f*ggots) alive, to pour acid on them, and to gun down gays with Uzis ("Boom Boom Bye Bye"). Buju Banton was arrested but aquitted in the ACTUAL home invasion and beating of gay men. The Jamaican national news called the Canadian who broke the story a fag, and the government claimed racism for Britain's boycott. So even to discuss is a HUGE step forward for this genre. That said, please boycott the other 5 and boycott the country Jamaica -- one of the most homophobic places on earth -- altogether.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jun 17, 2007 2:55:42 PM


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