In this section, I will provide information found on the Internet connected to homophobia depicted in dancehall music
plus the evolution of the topic in the Caribbean context from 1976 to present time
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February 20, 2009: Jamaica Broadcasting Commission Bans Explicit Music From Airwaves
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Music of the streets and music on the radio have often been two different things throughout Jamaica's history. However, the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission has stoked intense controversy over its decision to ban music featuring explicit sex and violence from the country's airwaves. The country's communications regulatory body issued two directives on February 20 to complement another issued two weeks prior. The original directive banned any broadcast promoting the act of "daggering," so called after Mr. Vegas' big hit of last summer that graphically described simulated sex in dancehalls. The ban did not specifically cover dancehall music, but also "soca, hip-hop or any other music" according to the text of a statement by the Commission. Moreover, any attempts to broadcast such material using bleeped out lyrics were also prohibited. (More on the link below).  
(
exclaim.ca)
NOTE: Probably several artists have voice their opinion on the ban. I found the following song released around May 2009: Fight The Ban by Konshens.

February 24, 2009: Debate: Could Dancehall Be The Ruination Of Reggae?
Brooklyn, NY. The New York reggae community and fraternity are abuzz with excitement as they get ready for a highly anticipated community forum and panel discussion being staged by Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music and ZYNC TV NEW YORK LINKZ. The community forum titled “Could Dancehall be the ruination of Reggae and by extension, the Jamaica brand?” takes place on Wednesday, March 4th at the historic Billie Holiday Theatre at Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Admission is free and open to the public.  “The temperature is rising around this issue and you certainly don’t want to miss the evening’s discussion,” says Carlyle McKetty, co-founder of Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) and one of the organizers of the forum. Media coverage and community feedback have been extraordinary as the hot button debate comes on the heels of the decision by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica to ban lewd lyrics from the airwaves and on public transportation. Sharon Gordon, co-founder of CPR, points out that "instead of music portraying truths, rights, love and respect, we see a popular sound that is demeaning, hateful, destructive and downright vulgar" (More on the link below).  
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Press Release) (Flyer) (REVIEW: Jamaica Gleaner) (images from the event) (video segment)

March 27, 2009: Another New York debate: 'Do Radio Deejays Contribute to the State of Jamaican Music?'
Brooklyn, NY. “Do radio deejays contribute to the state of popular Jamaican music?”  That’s the question being posed at the next community forum and panel discussion hosted by the Coalition to Preserve Reggae music (CPR), in association with ZYNC TV NEW YORK LINKZ and People of Black Heritage. The forum takes place on Thursday, April 16. The forum promises keen insight into this question. “When we look at what is happening in our culture with our youths and in our community, we’d be remiss not to closely examine everything that has influence whether positive or negative,” says Sheron Hamilton-Pearson, President of People of Black Heritage. The last forum revealed concern that Jamaican popular music is exerting a negative impact that needs to be addressed. “There was concern over the sexually explicit and strongly violent lyrics that are being incorporated in popular Jamaican music and then aired on radio and television” Says Carlyle McKetty co-founder of Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music and one of the organizers.“Accordingly, many expressed outrage at the crass, course and vulgar sounds being emitted over the airwaves. CPR is here to raise the bar in the level of discussion and we intend to facilitate community involvement in discussing these issues and seeking remedies and solutions,” says Sharon Gordon, co-founder of CPR and moderator of the forums. “As stakeholders we are all affected, we must come together and find common solutions.(More on the link below).  
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Press Release) (Flyer)

April XX, 2009: Riddim magazine: Jamaica's Most Wanted – Reggae & Homophobia Reloaded
Riddim, the German reggae and dancehall magazine, devoted the cover of its 42nd issue to homophobia in dancehall music. Titled: 'Jamaica's Most Wanted – Reggae & Homophobie Reloaded'. Riddim magazine is published 6 times per year and the number 42 is the April/May 2009 edition. (Riddim No.42 cover) (Riddim Magazine)

NOTE: I haven't read the article, but by reading the article 'Lost In Translation', published in Jamaica Gleaner on August 1st 2009 (see below), I would assume that Riddim magazine is criticizing the Stop Murder Music campaign. I know that Riddim magazine was translated in english and published in the United States for a few years, but I believe the english edition is no longer existing. If someone would like to post scans of the article published in Riddim 42, I will include it in this section.

April 10, 2009: Sizzla Toronto Show Cancelled: Artist blames inifficiency (The real reason?)
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Dancehall/reggae artiste Sizzla Kalonji and his management were told by the Canadian authorities in Jamaica that they would not issue them visas to enter their country because he had refused to sign documents, which stated that the DJ should not perform any of his anti-gay lyrics or songs that promotes violence. OutAroad.com understands that since the cancellation of Sizzla's arrival in Canada to perform at the Paramount Concert Theatre as left many fans angry with the promoters for not standing up against the many challenges that they have faced from the gay community.” A few days later, an article was published in the Jamaica Observer denying these facts: According to the artiste's camp, the real reasons behind the cancellation of the event scheduled for the Paramount Concert Theatre, was time inefficiency and late entry of the paperwork to the Canadian Embassy in Jamaica. Sizzla was approved by authorities in Canada to perform. "At this point in Sizzla's career, he is moving forward with total positivity, unity, and urges all to stop the violence," the statement said. (The initial aricle (titled: Sizzla says no to gay rights – Toronto Show Cancelled) was removed from OutARoad.com, but was found on Hot97, St.Vincent radio station website).
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OutRoad / Hot97) (Jamaica Observer)

April 13, 2009: American LGBT launch a Jamaican Boycott Campaign
TEXT FROM PRESS RELEASE: On April 15, Gay advocates are launching a national boycott of Jamaica in New York City at the famed Stonewall Bar – birthplace of the gay rights movement. The bar’s owners and boycott supporters will dump Jamaican liquor – Red Stripe beer and Myers’ Rum – down the sewer.“We, as the owners of the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the Gay rights movement, refuse to support, in any way, shape or form, the oppression of any people especially our gay brothers and sisters in Jamaica,” the Stonewall Inn said in its statement. “We ask all people of all walks of life to send a clear message to the Jamaican people and their government, that as long as they continue to allow and condone violence and hatred toward the Gay community, we will neither buy their products nor support their tourist trade. To do so is to tacitly support the current climate of oppression.”(more on the link below) A similar boycott was initiated in Canada last year, but was later called off. For more information on the Canadian boycott, visit this section at the following dates: March 20 2008, April 25 2008, May 17 2008.
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PRESS RELEASE: TruthWinsOut) (BoycottJamaica.org) (Boycott: Questions & Answers)
On the BoycottJamaica.org website, a few letters of people that support the boycott have been posted. Among them:
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Jamaican Blogger Backs Boycott) (Travel Executive Writes Jamaican Embassy In Support of Boycott)
Interview with Boris Dittrich on Justice or Just Us on KUCI:
(Boris Dittrich RADIO INTERVIEW: The Criminalization of Homosexuality Around the World)

PERSONNAL OPPINION: I have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue last year, and even today, I am still undecided wether or not a boycott is the best thing to do in order to move things forward in Jamaica. But I do overstand people's motive and their initiative is driven by the reach of social justice. I invite all the readers to at least go through the QUESTIONS & ANSWERS made by the people who organised the boycott in order to better size their intentions before passing any judgement.

PERSONNAL NOTE: '
Jamaica Beware' is a very good example of how badly Jamaicans and dancehall fans can be informed about the boycott. This 'article' was published by the staff at YardFlex, a Jamaican dancehall webzine which seems to be THE reference when it comes to dancehall news. It's funny to notice that articles that gets the most reaction on their website are often the one that deals with homosexuality.

April 14, 2009: Jamaican gays warn against US boycott
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: US rights group TruthWinsOut, founded by 365gay columnist Wayne Besen, has called for a boycott of the island and some of its most famous products, to protest several violent homophobic incidents and Jamaica’s refusal to repeal laws against sodomy. We ask all people of all walks of life to send a clear message to the Jamaican people and their government, that as long as they continue to allow and condone violence and hatred toward the Gay community, we will neither buy their products nor support their tourist trade.” “If you love your gay friends and family members, you won’t visit Jamaica,” said boycott co-organizer Wayne Besen. “If you care about the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, you won’t buy Jamaican products”. But in Kingston, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays, said the boycott could backfire and result in more violence. “Because of the possible repercussions of increased homophobic violence against our already besieged community, we feel that a tourist boycott is not the most appropriate response at this time,” J-FLAG said in a statement. “In our battle to win hearts and minds, we do not wish to be perceived as taking food off the plate of those who are already impoverished. In fact, members of our own community could be disproportionately affected by a worsened economic situation brought about by a tourist ban.” Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has told Parliament his government will not yield to “perhaps the most organized lobby in the world” and will not abolish prison sentences for sodomy. Golding made the comment during debate on a new sexual offenses law primarily aimed at combating rape and child abuse. Jamaican LGBT rights groups and international human rights organizations had urged the government to include a repeal of the sodomy law in the new act. (more on the link below).
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365gay.com)

April 24, 2009: Screening of the documentary: Taboo... Yardies (Short Version)
Film Screening and Panel Discussion at Desmond Tutu Center (New York City) on April 24. EVENT DESCRIPTION: Taboo...Yardies is a documentary exploring homophobia in Jamaica, giving a voice to Jamaicans (Yardies) to discuss the violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Unashamedly in support of human rights and against the violence being advocated and perpetrated against LGBT Jamaicans, the film hopes to spur open and honest conversation and to promote respect and tolerance for all people regardless of sexual orientation. The short version of this film will be screened at this event.
(
TheDesmondTutuCenter)

May 6, 2009: Mavado concert canceled in Switzerland
Mavado is currently doing a small tour in Europe. The Jamaican dancehall artist is know to have at least three songs that promote discrimination against gays. Stop Murder Music Bern have requested the cancelation of his two concerts scheduled in Switzerland (Zurich on May 14 and Neuchâtel on May 17). The Zurich concert was cancelled by the owner of the Dynamo-Club and the Social Department of the City of Zurich on May 6th. Mavado European promoter requested that Stop Murder Music Bern do not target his artist with their campaign, saying that 'Mavado have no homophobic lyrics in his songs. If you listen to his new album you will see that none of his song says to hurt gay people'. J-FLAG reply was although the new Mavado album is free of those lyrics, some of the unreleased duplates of his songs circulating on mixtapes exclusive for sound systems have some of the tracks re-edited that reflect anti-gay sentiments. Nicardo Blake of Haunted Unickris Promotion claimed to Switzerland journalists that Mavado has (or will) signed the Reggae Compassionate Act. LGBT groups recall that the RCA will not be accountable if it's signed behind close doors. Mavado must sign the document in public (some groups even request a press conference) for it to be considered valid.

NOTE: A year ago, Mavado was part of Jamaican artists that addressed the issue of 'cleaning' dancehall lyrics, statement published in the Jamaican press. If he is true to his words, he won't have any trouble to sign the RCA, and make a press conference to state that he have moved on from his gun lyrics and anti-gay lyrics.
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Mavado 'So Special' tour) (Stop Murder Music Bern)

May 29, 2009: PMI aquire Jet Star Records catalogue
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: PMI (Phoenix Music International) has acquired the rights in Jetstar Music. As the UK's leading reggae label for many years, Jetstar is probably most famous for its': Reggae Hits, Reggae Max and Lovers Rock series, in addition to a wealth of published titles. We are looking forward to working with the artist and writers in a new chapter in the Jetstar story. Jet Star Records is one of the three leading companies in the Reggae/Dancehall distribution. They took part at the negotiation table when the deal was signed between LGBT groups and the Dancehall industry in order to stop the distribution of 'Murder Music'. (see February 5, 2005 in this section for more detais).

NOTE: Jet Star seems to have been out of activities for several months now (apparently since May 2008). Reggae Hits volume 38, wich was due in October 2008 was never issued. Their annual Reggae Hits compilation is the best seeling title from their catalogue. At the time of writing these lines (August 2009), Jet Star website was still not working. After learning that VP Records purchased Greensleeves in February 2008, I was expecting them to purchase Jet Star catalogue... Message taken from a blog: "Apparently Jetstar ceased to exist as at May 2008 (went bankrupt) - website no longer working".

(
Musik Week) (Phoenix Music International) (Jet Star Records) (Jet Star Records history)

May 31 2009: African reggae song used for the theme song for the gay documentary 'Sortir du Nkuta'
Tiken Jah Fakoly, the revolutionary french reggae singer from Ivory Coast, gave his permission to use his song 'Justice' so it can be included in the film 'Sortir du Nkuta', a documentary that deals with the difficult situations of gays and lesbians in Cameroon. A wonderful and refreshing statement which shows that reggae music can be associated with the fight for the gay rights movement. The song 'Justice' is a duet made in 2002, with legendary Jamaican poet and deejay U-Roy. It was featured on the multi-platinum album 'Françafrique', recorded at Bob Marley's Tuff Gong studio in Jamaica. Tiken Jah sings the same roots music as the late Bob Marley. He has an international follow up like Alpha Blondy and Lucky Duby, both African reggae singers. In english, the title of the film is 'Coming Out of the Nkuta', meaning 'Coming out of the closet'. The film synopsis: 'Since 1972, homosexuality has been punishable in Cameroon by up to five years in prison. In Cameroon: Coming Out of the Nkuta we meet Lambert, a young man who was rounded up in a bar with a group of 30 and thrown in jail. Lambert’s lawyer, Alice Nkom is a strong advocate for lesbian and gay rights and her first goal is the legalization of homosexuality, taking the issue out of the penal code'. (more from the synopsys below)
(Coming Out Of The Nkuta) (preview of the film) (Justice, by Tiken Jah Fakoly)

NOTE: In my opinion, Tiken Jah Fakoly makes the best contemporay reggae music, filled with deep and conscious lyrics. If you love Bob Marley, you will definitively love Tiken's musical style. This is the website that I made to promote his music: Justice: Tiken Jah Fakoly. It's only in February 2010 that I learned about this film and I cannot hide how happy I was to realised that he agred to share his music with the fight for gay liberation. I hope that U-Roy was asked permission and that he agreed to share this song for the cause.

June 10, 2009: Trailler posted on YouTube for the upcoming documentary Taboo... Yardies
DESCRIPTION ON YOUTUBE: The concept of the documentary TabooYardies which is still in production is to explore the perception of Jamaica as an Island that is saturated with intolerance towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) by giving a voice to Jamaicans who are pro, con and everywhere in between this highly controversial issue. Also by giving a voice to those Jamaicans who dare to speak up and out on human rights, we hope to give viewers an opportunity to decide for themselves whether the view of Jamaica as a homophobic culture is perception or reality. More importantly, we hope TabooYardies becomes a vehicle that spurs an open an honest conversation that ultimately promotes respect and tolerance for all people regardless of sexual orientation. This documentary is unashamedly in support of human rights and against violence being advocated and/or perpetrated against LGBT Jamaicans.
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Taboo Yardies TRAILER)

June 23, 2009: Third New York debate: 'Are shoddy pratices eroding support for Reggae?'
Booklyn, N.Y., On Wednesday, June 24th, the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) and NEW YORK LINKS ZYNC TV will host yet another exciting and informative community forum, this one titled, “From promotion, to staging, to reportage, to artist, are shoddy practices eroding support for reggae?” The CPR Community Conversations series has been hailed a success by the hundreds who have participated since February 2009, when CPR first began hosting the forums. “We are in a data gathering mode,” points out Carlyle McKetty, co-founder and president of CPR. “Once we have collected the data, we will analyze our findings and produce a white paper for submission to the Jamaican Government.” CPR has been travelling throughout the north east, examining the state of popular Jamaican music and its impact on the moral, social and economic fiber of the Jamaican society, the Diaspora, as well as its impact on brand Jamaica. This next forum, part of an ongoing Community Conversations series, takes place on Wednesday, June 24th from 7pm to 10:30pm at the Brecht Forum. As Caribbean Heritage Month comes to a close in New York City, the community is invited to participate in a lively discussion with panelists, noted journalist and publicist, Anthony Turner; radio and television host, Ras Clem, and publicist, Raine Martin along with long time promoter George Crooks, international singing sensation Bunny Brown and journalist Pat Meschino who will serve as commentators. (More on the link below).  
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Press Release) (Flyer)

July 2, 2009: Gay sex decriminalized in India's capital
NEW DELHI, INDIA. A court ruled Thursday to decriminalize homosexuality in the Indian capital, a groundbreaking decision that could bring more freedom to gays in this deeply conservative country. The Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India's constitution. The ruling, the first of its kind in India, applies only in New Delhi. "I'm so excited, and I haven't been able to process the news yet," Anjali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation India Trust, a sexual health organization that had filed the petition, told reporters. "We've finally entered the 21st century." But some religious leaders quickly criticized the ruling."This Western culture cannot be permitted in our country," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, a leading Muslim cleric in the northern city of Lucknow. Sex between people of the same gender has been illegal in India since a British colonial era law that classified it as "against the order of nature." According to the law, gay sex is punishable by 10 years in prison. While actual criminal prosecutions are few, the law has frequently been used to harass people. (More on the link below).  
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Radio-Canada.ca)

NOTE: Although this news is not related to the Caribbean, it give a wonderful example that deeply conservative countries are evolving on the issue of gay rights.

July 17, 2009: Tjenbé Rèd! request that YouTube removes videos by TOK and Capleton
The french Caribbean LGBT group Tjenbé Rèd and in charge of the Stop Murder Music campaign in France sent an official letter to YouTube requesting the site to remove videos of offensive/violent homophobic songs. The two videos enumerated in the letter are 'Chi Chi Man' (by TOK) and 'Bun Out Di Chi Chi' (by Capleton).Tjenbé Rèd! is a civil movement for action and reflexion on black, metis and LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals or trangenders) in France, Africa or the Caribbean.
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Press Release)

July 28, 2009: Elephant Man not welcome at Caribana – Concert Cancelled
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: One of Jamaica's premier dancehall artists will not get the chance to "log on" at one of Toronto's biggest Caribana events (July 31st to August 2nd), after the local gay community complained about his lyrics. Controversial performer O'Neil Bryan, also known as Elephant Man, was pulled from the lineup of the Sunday-night concert, dubbed Caribana Celebrity Ball, scheduled at Circa nightclub in the Entertainment District. Kim Montgomery, a spokesperson for Circa, said members of Toronto's gay community found his music offensive, so they asked the promoter to remove him from the bill, which also includes rapper Fabolous and R&B sensation Trey Songz. "The second that we heard that he was considered offensive we decided that we should back away from promoting him as an artist," she said. On July 29, Xtra raised the question as if the copncert sheduled on August 2nd will really be cancelled... (More on the links below).  
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Toronto CP 24) (Xtra) (Jamaica Star)

July 30, 2009: Presenation in Trinidad: lyrics that deal with homosexuality in calypso music
TEXT FROM CAISO WEBSITE: Believe it or not, in sharp contrast to dancehall, homosexuality is one of the topics that calypso has handled with some of its sweetest ingenuity and subtlest imagination. Not all the time, of course. But surprisingly often. Whether you simply love the calypso artform and Trini culture or you have a personal or family connection to the topic, join in a tent-like atmosphere where we will take in some two dozen recordings of fascinating calypsoes from the 1950s to the present that display surprising wit and intelligence in their treatment of same-sex love. The presenation is entitled: 'Patricia gone with... Millicent?' and is available for listening on the Internet in an audio format with slides. Building on published research by retired UWI professor Gordon Rohlehr, one of the pre-eminent scholars of calypso, cultural organizers Colin Robinson, Charleston Thomas and others have collected some 30 recordings from the 1950s to the present that “show remarkably witty treatments of the topic”. “It’s not the only approach to homosexuality in calypso,” Robinson continues. “There is moralizing, scorn, violence, ridicule. But unlike Jamaica, playfulness seems to be the dominant approach in our indigenous music. And to me homosexuality is one of the topics to which calypso has brought some of its subtlest imagination and sweetest ingenuity.” (More on the links below).  
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CAISO: Patricia Gone with... Millicent?) (Press Release) (Morning TV Show) (The Gaurdian) (CAISO website)

NOTE: This presentation is very interesting. The running time is 1 hours and 52 minutes. At time of writing, there was an audio problem in the middle of the document that last 26 minutes, but it is still worth listening in a whole. The sound is just not perfect during that segment. I also suggest that you listen to the chat with the audience at the end of the presentation (length: 32 minutes). You must contact
CAISO in order to get an access code to ear the presentation.

August 1, 2009: German reggae writer and editors criticizing the Stop Murder Music campaign
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: German radio disc jock Andreas Müller has criticised European and North American gay and lesbian rights groups for what he calls a coordinated campaign to tarnish reggae and dancehall music. The 44-year-old, who doubles as an entertainment writer and has a vast library of some 15,000-20,000 reggae works - mainly on vinyl - in his Berlin home office, told Saturday Life in a recent interview that gay rights lobbyists have missed the mark by viewing dancehall's vitriolic lyrics as a literal rallying cry for bloodletting. "They had no idea about reggae culture, about anything at all. No one went to Jamaica to learn (and understand)". Peter Tatchell, in an email interview with Saturday Life yesterday, rubbished Müller's claims. "We only target eight out of hundreds of Jamaican singers. It is because they incite homophobic violence and murder. We have done this at the behest of Jamaican gay and human rights campaigners (who) have said that this music is unacceptable and contributes to a climate of hatred and violence against gay Jamaicans. The claim that I am racist is nonsense. I have a 40-year record of campaigning against racism, and I am often attacked both verbally and physically by racist thugs because I have defended black communities." Ellen Köhlings, co-editor of the German reggae Riddim magazine, believes homophobic music is more a case of art reflecting life. "It's the consensus in Jamaica and the music always reflects the society in Jamaica. They cannot just blame artistes," she said. Jan Kedves, an editor of Spex magazine, said despite an about-face by Jamaican artistes in steering clear of anti-gay themes, entertainers would only gain true credibility if they publicly denounced anti-gay violence. (More on the links below).  
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Jamaica Gleaner)

August 13, 2009: T.O.K. sign a document similar to the Reggae Compassionate Act
Prior to their perfomance in Zurich (Switzerland), T.O.K. aggreed to signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, but not in it's original form. The Jamaican dancehall band openly critique the document in the past. Craig T: "While we do agree with some of the statements made in the Reggae Compassionate Act, it is not a hundred per cent representative of the group (TOK) and we refuse to put our signature to anything we will not abide by. However, it's not that they are rejecting the Act, "I wouldn't say reject, but revise." Two years later, they came up with their own revised version, which higlight more or less the same goals, by specifying their right to Freedom of expression. They also removed the the term 'Reggae' from the title and the introduction line (aka: we, artists of the Reggae community), as it was said 'inapropriate' by some of the reggae industry. Jamaican reggae musician Freddie McGregor comments in June 2007: "It needs to read, 'We, the artists of the dancehall community,' because Jamaica has two genres of music, reggae and dancehall, and all of this homophobia business is a dancehall problem, not a reggae problem... This don't have nothing to do with reggae, so why does the contract [say] that?" McGregor says he doesn't have a problem with the GLBT community". The term 'Dancehall', missing from the original document, was also added in the text. The document was signed in presence of Roland Munz of Stop Murder Music Zurich, an association created by the gay SP politician Roland Munz with three heterosexuals friends.
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Reggae Compassionate Act signed by T.O.K.) (Stop Murder Music Zurich)
(
Stop Murder Music Zurich – PRESS RELEASE) (JUNE 2007: Jamaica Star)

NOTE: Out of curriosity, I made a PDF document that highlights the differences between the original RCA and the T.O.K. Compassionate Act (Analysis of the differences between original RCA new document). How much does that signature make sence when the band just issued the single 'Couple Up' (August 6, 2009) which promote discrimination towards gay men. There is no violence in that song, but still the text they sign in the TOK Compassionate Act does not fit with the lyrics promoted in that song. See SONGS & LYRICS section of this website for more info on 'Couple Up'.

September 12, 2009: Buju Banton in hot water again: 19 concerts cancelled in his US tour
On September 12, Buju Banton launched his US tour 'Rasta Got Soul'. The 38-date tour is facing several protest by gays and lesbians organizations. An official cancellation campaign was launch with the tag-line 'Rasta Got Hate', calling the LGBT community to protest the scheduled concerts by calling the venues. COMING FROM ARTICLE: It’s been a war of words in the past month between Banton’s management and the GLBT community. After LiveNation cancelled a handful of House of Blues performances, Banton’s record company defended him in an open letter to critics. “It is the only song he ever made on the subject — and he does not perform it today,” wrote Tracii McGregor, vice president and general manager of Gargamel Records. But Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center fired back her own open letter, claiming that Banton continues to perform the song. Banton certainly isn’t putting out the flames. In a 2006 interview with a Billboard reporter, the singer said, “I’ve never bashed any gays before, and if I bashed gays, I bashed them 16 years ago.” An undated YouTube video posted a month ago and spotlighted on the website CancelBujuBanton.wetpaint.com shows Banton on stage, telling an audience, “There is no end to the war between me and faggots." At time of writing theses lines, 19 concerts were cancelled: Richmond, Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Eureka, Santa Clara, San Jose, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Charleston, Tampa and Orlando. Nine of these concerts were re-scheduled at different venues.
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Rasta Got Soul US Tour) ('Rasta Got Hate' cancellation website) (Letter from Buju Banton Manager) (Response to Banton's Manager) (Peter Tatchell's examples of Banton's violation of the RCA) (Charleston City Paper) (Jamaica Gleaner 1) (Jamaica Gleaner 2) (Jamaica Observer)

NOTE: The story is repeating itself all over again... As a fan of reggae music, I wonder how many years of this situation do we need to witness before we can move to another level. I am divided when it comes to canceling concerts. Yes we can find several really good reason to target Buju Banton's tour. Yes this campaign is proven very effective, but how much do we benefit from this situation? It send a clear message, but at the same time it build up anger to thousand of reggae fans who don't have any hatred against the gay community. Even how mad Buju Banton can be about LGBT targeting his US Tour, I hope he finds enough wisdom to FINALY address publicly that advertising violence against gays is stupid and that he condom some of his past actions. Can he remove the song Boom Bye Bye from Internet stores so we can move further.
Rasta Got Soul? Then prove it.

September 19, 2009: Three Elephant Man concerts cancelled in Europe
After performing at a few festivals in the United States, Elephant Man is currently touring Europe. Three of his concerts were cancelled due to LGBT pressure: Mainz, Germany (September 19), Oerlikon, Switzerland (September 24) and Düsseldorf, Germany (September 25) (ReggaeVille.com) (Dancehall.Mobi)

September 20, 2009: The Gleaner: denouncing violence in dancehall music through Gully/Gaza war
This text is of general interst. It is not focussing on homophobia. TEXT FROM ARTICLE: When some academics were talking mumbo-jumbo and making all kinds of absurd excuses and rationalisation for the decadence in the dancehall, engaging in pathetic shadow boxing, I confronted their intellectual cowardice. The Gaza (Vybz Kartel) -Gully (Mavado) war is symptomatic of a larger aggressively intolerant, divisive and tribalistic culture. It is not dancehall music which caused what is happening in the dancehall today. The foundation was there before dancehall - a well-laid foundation built by our politicians and ruling class. But dancehall has reinforced and given strength to it. This is a distinction that my detractors have never been able to see. Negative dancehall promotes and legitimises a subculture of violence and aggression. There was rivalry between ska greats Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan and each had his following. There was no report of people stabbing up one another over who was playing Derrick Morgan songs or who was playing Buster. Rivalry is not bad in itself. Rivalry can promote creativity, innovation and productivity. (More on the link below). (Jamaica Gleaner)

October 10, 2009: Another cancellation for Elephant Man in Toronto
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: A Jamaican dancehall artist accused of homophobia will not perform in Toronto today after promoters cancelled his concert because of protests over his controversial lyrics. Downsview Park had originally insisted that Elephant Man could play but would be asked to refrain from speaking any homophobic lyrics. In a statement posted on the park's website Thursday, the venue announced that Elephant Man had been dropped from the bill "due to public pressure that arose over the controversial nature of some of the performer's lyrics contained in his much earlier works." The entire Champions in Action concert has been cancelled because Elephant Man was a large part of it, the statement said. The statement said another Champions in Action concert would be planned in the future, but that a date had not been set. (More on the links below).  
(
Toronto Star)

October 12, 2009: Buju Banton sits down with LGBT activists
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: In what may be a groundbreaking and possibly historical event, controversial reggae star Buju Banton met with representatives from the LGBT community this afternoon. Banton has been a frequent target of gay rights protesters for his 1992 song "Boom Bye Bye," which activists say glorifies murder and violence directed at gays. Before the dialogue, Banton's show at the Rock It Room scheduled for tonight (October 12) appeared in jeopardy of cancellation due to protest. Yet after the face-to-face exchange, the LGBT activists not only agreed to let the show continue as planned, but expressed optimism about the possibility of further dialogue and action, toward a human rights agenda inclusive of both LBGT concerns and the reggae community.The LGBT acvists, led by Petrelis and Shorter, voiced their concerns over homophobic lyrics and anti-gay violence in Jamaica directly to Banton, and suggested various things he could do to promote human rights, such as a town hall meeting in Jamaica. Banton, in turn, pointed to additional context, such as colonialism and the Jamaican government's homophobic laws. He denied he is a hate speech or murder music artist, as his critics have insisted. "Let's face the reality," Banton said. "Whatever is said in a positive light can't get out." On the topic of the controversial tune, he added, "I don't perform the song anymore. The reality is, I've gone past that."... "I don't advocate violence, Rastafari is not about that," he added. Two days later, he was interviewed on Mutabaruka' Cutting Edge show, a Jamaican Takl-show). Baton: "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and faggot' and it's clear.
(
Petrelis Files) (San Francisco Weekly) In Jamaican press: (Jamaica Observer) (Jamaica Gleaner) (Jamaica Star)
(
Carolyn Cooper To The Rescue) ( Maria Gulatta of Amnesty International)


Peter Tatchell, international coodinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign, was very disapointed with the result: "This meeting is a big propaganda victory for Banton. He can now use it to show that he has dialogue with the LGBT community. It will be ruthlessly exploited by his management to undermine the LGBT campaign and the concert cancellations. I am shocked that no one seem to have asked Banton to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act . This was the least that he should have been asked to do. Contrary to his claims, Banton has part performed Boom Bye Bye in recent years and he profits from continuing sales of this song. He still makes money from urging the killing of faggots. Did no one make this point to him?Just look at Banton's
record of lies and broken promises".

October 13, 2009: Fans Pepper Sprayed at Buju Banton Concert
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Last night, fans of controversial reggae star Buju Banton were pepper-sprayed by an unknown assailant during Banton's concert at the Rock It Room. The assault occurred during the show, when, according to the Rock It Room's booker, Ben Thompson, someone let loose with pepper spray. "This happened directly in the middle of the dance floor, in front of Buju's backup singers," he said. He added that the three singers were all affected by the pepper spray, and Gramps Morgan, Banton's opening act, was also affected. "It got in my eyes and throat," Morgan said. Before the concert, a small group of protestors stood outside chanting slogans and attempting to engage clubgoers in dialogue about Banton's lyrics. Thompson says the protesters left before the pepper spray incident and never entered the venue. "My side is simple," says Pollo Del Mar. "We showed up. It was a peaceful protest. Violence of any kind is unacceptable," he adds. (more on the link below)
(
San Francisco Weekly)

October 14, 2009: Buju Banton interview on Mutabaruka's Cutting Edge talk-show
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and faggot' and it's clear. The same night after I met with them (gay associates), they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me?" claimed Banton who phoned Mutabaruka's Cutting Edge talk-show on Wednesday in order to clarify his meeting in the US gay capital. "I owe dem nothing, they don't owe I nothing." Buju said that he felt legally and not financially compelled to meet the group. The gay activists in San Francisco reportedly want the proceeds from 'Boom Bye Bye' to be donated to J-FLAG. They also want Banton to hold a town hall meeting in Kingston about the need to respect gays."Them come with demands which I and I a go flop dem right now, because give thanks to my culture and upbringing I coulda never endorse them things. I can't sell myself out, neither would I do that in a thousand years,"... "I have two-and-a-half more weeks and let me tell you this, if a show has been cancelled or postponed by this group of people, it has been picked up and replaced in another venue. Let the struggle continue," said Banton. J-FLAG remains resolute in its position that no agreement can be reached between Banton and the gay community until (a) he desists from publicly performing Boom Bye-Bye and (b) repudiates the call for the "murder" of gay and lesbian Jamaicans. "These are the minimum conditions required by decency for him to be absolved of his incitement of violence against these groups. Anything less is mere farce and a public relations stunt to garner support for his music," noted J-FLAG. The meeting's participants wanted Banton to give the proceeds from the song to J-FLAG, hold a pro-gay town hall meeting and sing pro-gay lyrics. These requests were berated by Banton and also J-FLAG. "J-FLAG is under no illusion that Mr Myrie or other DJs of his ilk will ever be minded to produce music that preaches the dignity of all life, including that of gays and lesbians. Neither do we expect contributions of any sort from them. In fact, such an engagement with the gay community is not our goal," said J-FLAG. On August 7, the Jamaica Star ran a story on Mutabaruka's top 100 Most Influential Jamaican Recordings, where the song Boom Bye Bye was rank at number 24.
(
Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Observer 2) THE TALK-SHOW POSTED ON YouTube: (Cutting Edge (part 1)) (Cutting Edge (part 2)) (Cutting Edge (part 3))

PERSONNAL COMMENT TO BUJU BANTON: You proved once again that you are not ready to move on. You have the arrogance to walk in this life pretending that you don't owe people anything. Your song is just not any hate song: it has become the Carribean anthem to gay bashing. Denouncing, publicly in Jamaica, the violence promoted in your song and stating that it will not be performed again is the least you can do. I agree with J-FLAG: expecting that you to give the royalties that you earn from that song is asking too much in the Jamaican dancehall context, although any decent soul who as matured would have done this.





October 14, 2009: Time for an interlude: One Love | Playing For Change | Song Around the World
My friend just send me that link for that wonderful video. It was released earlier this year, on Bob Marley's birthday. Take five minutes, you won't regret it. The introduction text from YouTube: "From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes an incredible rendition of the legendary Bob Marley song "One Love" with Keb' Mo' and Manu Chao. This is the third video from the documentary and a follow up to the classic "Stand By Me" and the incredible "Don't Worry." Released in celebration of Bob Marley's birthday on February 6th, this tribute to the legend is performed by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe". One Love is the third video from the documentary. Two months later they released the fourth video, another Bob Marley classic: War/No More Trouble. (One Love videoclip) (War/No More Trouble videoclip) (Playing For Change: Peace Through Music)

October 25, 2009: Debating the new Jamaican Charter of Rights: nothing for gays & lesbians
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: ...Pointing to the Charter of Rights, which is intended to replace Chapter Three of the Constitution, Carla Gulatta of Amnesty International, warned that the proposed amendment could end up being but a shell if greater steps are not taken to protect the rights of all Jamaicans. "The full plan of the Charter of Rights, little by little, has changed .... little by little, it has been made poor and poorer. In the way that it is now, it is going to be like a picture on the wall because it won't have any use for the ones who need to be assisted," Gulatta said. The Amnesty International representative wants the amendment to the Constitution to give full freedom of choice to all Jamaicans. She argued that even though it appears that such freedom is guaranteed, there are clauses which take that back. (more on the link below) (Jamaica Gleaner: Amnesty International) (Jamaica Gleaner Editorial) (Jamaica Gleaner: Debate Ends) (Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaicans For Justice)

November 2, 2009: Testimony from a Caribbean lesbian activist
TEXT FROM IGLHRC: We would like to honor Chaco Burnette, better known as "Chocolate," from Georgetown, Guyana, a respected leader in the local trans and sex worker communities, who passed away on October 31st, 2009. Chaco participated in the first regional conference for transgender activists from the Caribbean supported by IGLHRC and CVC, which was held last September in Curacao. She was hospitalized last Saturday after suffering from what appeared to be a case of dementia. Her health had deteriorated significantly in the last few weeks but during that time she nevertheless spoke positively about her experience in Curacao, even leading a debriefing session on the conference for her peers. We had the joy of sharing exceptional moments of work, activism and achievement with her and feel her presence in our hearts. IGLHRC joins in sadness with activists from Guyana and those to whom she was close.
(
testimony from Chaco Burnette) (another testimonie: Donovan Emmanuel)

November 11, 2009: Gays in Jamaica worship in underground church (videoclip)
INTRODUCTION FROM WEBSITE. Jamaica is often said to hold the world record for the most churches per square mile. There’s a public place of worship for almost everyone — unless you’re gay. If you are, you must worship in secret. Correspondent Lisa Biagiotti, producer Micah Fink and director of photography Gabrielle Weiss report on the secret underground church that is welcoming gay men and women to practice their faith. Reverend Robert Griffin, an American priest, leads the secret church. He believes religion is at the heart of Jamaica culture of homophobia, and the time has come to reinterpret the Bible for modern times.
(
WorldFocus video) (MARCH 2010: The Huffington Post) (JANUARY 2010: The Gleaner: Don't Crucify Gay-Rights Activists)

November 16, 2009: Seven Beenie Man concerts axed in Australia & New Zealand
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: All of Beenie Man's Australian and New Zealand concert dates have been cancelled. This follows protests by gay rights groups, including the Australian Coalition for Equality. It also follows representations to the tour organisers by Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, acting on behalf of the international Stop Murder Music campaign. "These concert cancellations will hit Beenie Man hard in the pocket. He has lost tens of thousands of dollars. The success of this campaign sends a warning message to all murder music artists: inciting homophobic violence will cost you money. You will lose out big time," said Mr Tatchell. Beenie Man had been scheduled to perform in January 2010 at Big Day Out concerts in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and in the New Zealand city of Auckland (more on the link below).
(
Peter Tatchell article) (Big Day Out Press Release) (Beenie Man concerts)

November 25, 2009: LGBT Issues Make Inroads at Commonwealth Summit in Trinidad
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: For or the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at CHOGM in Trinidad & Tobago, there was significant representation of GLBTQ (gay/lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer) activists among civil society participants, and a concerted effort to highlight issues of sexual citizenship and rights. A delegation of GLBTQ activists from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean participated actively in the thematic assembly discussions and drafting process in the November 22-25, 2009 Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), a gathering of civil society organizations that meets in advance of, and sends a statement to, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Working in partnership with gender, disabilities and other human rights advocates, they achieved visibility for a number of key concerns, and won inclusion of these issues in the broad civil society agenda for the Commonwealth. The issues cut a wide swath: repealing laws criminalizing non-normative sexualities and gender expression; preventing and prosecuting bias-related murders and violence, including punitive rape of Lesbians; ending discrimination in accessing health services; creating safety in the school system from violence and bullying; addressing the need for support and resources for parents; and developing training and sensitization for a range of public servants and service providers. (more on the link below).
(
GLBTIQ Issues Make Inroads at Commonwealth Summit) (Uganda Anti-Homosexual Bill)

November 27, 2009: Bounty Killer concert cancelled in California – Re-scheduled and cancelled again!
According to Redwood Times, Bounty Killer was supposed to make his only North Coast apperance by performing in Arcata, California on November 28. The concert was cancelled two days before the event. It was then re-scheduled at Red Fox Tavern, in Eureka, California. According to the information founds on a blog, the second performance was also cancelled. Rodney Pryce, the musician real name, was recently in Jamaican court (October 15 and November 11) for an illegal possession of a firearm, assault on a policeman, obstructing traffic, disobeying a red light and refusing to take a breathalyser test.
(
Redwood Times) (North Coast Journal) (Humboldt Against Hate) (Reuters)

December 2, 2009: Buju Banton nominated for Grammy – LGBT groups denounce his nomination
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Jamaica’s Buju Banton, the reggae artist whose anti-gay anthem "Boom Bye Bye" drew protesters and led to a number of canceled concert dates across the United States during his latest tour, has been nominated for a Grammy. The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has issued a statement denouncing the nomination. "We’re shocked that Buju Banton, a singer with a long record of performing a song that glorifies the murder of gay people, would be honored with a Grammy nomination, regardless of the artistic merit of any of his work," said Jim Key, the Center’s Chief Public Affairs Officer. (more on the link below)
(
CaribbeanWorldNews) (Edge Boston) (GLAAD: petition to protest the nomination (for US residents))

December 5, 2009: Beenie Man promotes violence in Uganda – PepsiCo appologize for sponsorship
TEXT FROM ARTICLE. AProtests by Change.org, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), OutRage! and others have persuaded PepsiCo to climb down and apologise, after it sponsored a concert in Uganda by "murder music" singer Beenie Man who encourages the killing of lesbians and gay men. At his Ugandan concert on Saturday 5 December, Beenie Man sang the song, 'Mi Nah Wallah', which includes a call to cut the throats of gay people. Following protests, Pepsi expressed regret over their sponsorship of Beenie Man. In a statement to Change.org PepsiCo said: "We are appalled by the performer's lyrics and find them repugnant. Our bottling partner in Uganda was not aware of the performer's views and never would have sponsored the concert with this knowledge...Moving forward, we will work closely with our bottling partners to be more vigilant about the events associated with our brands." (more on the link below)
(
Peter Tatchell.net) (Daily Monitor – Uganda report) (Globe And Mail: Uganda Anti-Homosexual Bill)

December 9, 2009: Beenie Man concert cancelled in Toronto
TEXT FROM ARTICLE (article written on December 15, but concert cancelled on December 9)
The King of Dancehall, Beenie Man, was scheduled to play Kool Haus this past weekend (on December 12) – until a single Facebook comment triggered a deluge of complaints that alerted the promoters to the Jamaican singer’s homophobic lyrical content and his recent concert in Uganda, where his song about killing gay men served as veritable anthem of hate for that country’s pending anti-gay legislation. Just 42 hours after posting a comment on the events page for concert promoters INK Entertainment (club owner Charles Khabouth’s entertainment empire, which also includes Sky Lounge, Tattoo Rock Parlour and Ultra Supper Club), Justin Stayshyn – frequent Tweeter and former member of queer-positive indie-pop ensemble The Hidden Cameras – was relieved to read that the company had decided not to let Beenie Man play in their venue. The key to this protest’s success, however, was not so much the magic of social media – or even the recent popularity of online whinging – but the tone of Stayshyn’s discourse. Stayshyn claims he had been trying to get in touch with someone at INK since last Monday (Dec. 7) so that he could tactfully explain why they should reconsider Beenie Man’s appearance. He prefaced his calls, and an email outlining Beenie Man’s involvement in Uganda, with a reassurance that his complaints weren't intended to be malicious. “I just wanted to start a dialogue,” he says.
(
EyeWeekly)

December 12, 2009: Buju Banton faces drug charges in Miami
TEXT FROM ARTICLE. Buju Banton, the Jamaican reggae star whose anti-gay lyrics have drawn international criticism, is in a federal lockup in Miami, facing drug conspiracy charges. Drug Enforcement Administration agents say Banton, real name Mark Anthony Myrie, has been in custody since Thursday (December 10) and will soon be transferred to Tampa, where the U.S. Attorney is charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. (more on the link below)
(
Miami Herald)
NOTE: This news has very little to do with the content of this website. I hesitate before including it, but if he is found guilty, Buju Banton won't be touring for a while and people who follow the debate needs to know why. See September 20, 2010 for more news about this story and the trial.

December 29, 2009: Guyanese makes music history
TEXT FROM ARTICLE. Singer Nhojj, a US-based Guyanese who performed at Guyana Fashion Weekend 2008 had much to celebrate this past Christmas. His song ‘Love’ has won the 2009 OutMusic Award for Outstanding R&B/Soul Song of the year. Those in the music business have opined that Guyanese should be proud of this recognition as “This marks the first time that a Black male has won any OutMusic Award”. The category along with others was added to the ceremony this year to fully reflect the music of the minority (LGBT) community. Unlike many current R&B music videos, it is the sensitive reflection of two male college students who feel a mutual attraction toward each other. In 2004, Nhojj’s sophomore CD “Someday Peace, Love & Freedom” was nominated for OUTStanding New Male Recording. Songs on that album covered issues ranging from homelessness to homophobia. Nhojj chose “Fighting for Love,” an original composition about a warrior fighting against ignorance and hatred, to perform at a special OMA Nominee showcase held at Fez in NYC that year. (more on the link below)
(
Kaieteur News)