So the folks out of London who have been doing the Stop Murder Music campaign have been able to get Beenie Man, Capleton, and Sizzla to agree to stop performing songs that call for setting fire to, killing, or otherwise harming queer folks. GayUK.com reported:
“Three of the world’s top reggae/dancehall singers have renounced homophobia and condemned violence against lesbians and gay men.
Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
They have now signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.
The agreement follows the three-year-long Stop Murder Music campaign, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of the singers’ concerts and sponsorship deals, causing them income losses estimated in excess of five million dollars.”
They also mention in the story that TOK, Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Bounty Killa, and Vybz Kartel have yet to sign the pact. Protests against them will continue as needed.
The Reggae Compassionate Act that the artists signed has pledged them 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”;
■ “there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia”;
■ “we agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community”.
This is a win for this campaign, and perhaps a bigger win for LGBT/Q folks of Caribbean descent all over specifically. I’ll probably annoy some people and stretch and say it’s a win for Black people, because being here in NYC, I have been called a batty boy, chi-chi man and threatened as such—I know dancehall is also big on the African continent, and wonder what impact it (and American hip-hop for that matter) is having on cultural attitudes towards violence against straight women and all queers. Though I am an African-American, dancehall has a lot of cultural currency among African-Americans here as well as among Caribbean immigrants.
More importantly, I wanna thank the folks in Jamaica and in the larger Black Caribbean who have had to deal with the brunt of this, and have also been leading the work. As I mentioned in a piece I blogged for AfterElton.com, I have noticed this year that because of the work folks like C-FLAG and J-FLAG and others have been doing, the tide is seeming to shift in the Caribbean in terms of the larger public’s growing intolerance for this kind of violence. Big ups to you all!