Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. The organisation was founded in 1961. As far back as 1979, AI officially recognized that "the persecution of persons for their homosexuality is a violation of their fundamental rights". However, it was only in the early 1990’s that AI began to campaign in earnest against this kind of persecution.
The following links bring you directly to webpages created by Amnesty International regarding homosexuality.
••• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Network: www.ai-lgbt.org
••• OUTfront! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Human Rights: www.amnestyusa.org
••• OUTfront!Jamaican Report: Battyboys affi dead: action against homophobia in Jamaica
Amnesty International has several branches worldwide. I have found 47 different webpages, even a Carribean division, but unfortunately this link doesn't seem to be updated on a regular basis.
To visit an Amnesty International webpage by country, click on this link: Amnesty International webpages
To contact the nearest Amnesty International Office, click on this link: Amnesty International offices
OutRage.org.uk / PeterTachell.net
A British gay and lesbian organisation that promotes a worldwide boycott of Jamaican dancehall singers who urge the listener to kill gays and lesbians in their songs.
Note: This organisation, lead by Peter Tatchell and Brett Lock was a turning point in the ‘Chi Chi Man’ debate. They launched the ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign which was responsible for dozens of cancelled concerts and which forced the dancehall industry to come to a table of discussion in February 2005. The original website had over 60 different articles on the subject, but seems to be officially closed since April 2006. The link now redirects you to the Peter Tatchell webpage.
By clicking here, you can download the PDF file: Dancehall Dossier: Stop Murder Music, the nine-page document that was initially sent by OutRage! during the ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign. There is also a 28-minute Internet televison program that was recorded in August 2007, where Peter Tatchell, Brett Lock and Dennis Carney are talking about the Stop Murder Music campaign: Talking With Tatchell: Jamaica, homophobia and murder music
A Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays founded in 1998. They were the first organization in Jamaica to react to the hostile climate and to advocate for LGBT rights. They offer counseling and referral services, provides documentation on asylum cases based on gay-bashing incidents, and lobbie local, national and international officials.
Note: If you can make a donation, with your help, services offered to the Jamaican LGBT community may increase. If you can, please make a donation.
Human Rights Watch
This independant organization is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. In November 2004, they published a
79-page report entitled: "Hated To Death: Homophobia, Violence and Jamaica's HIV/AIDS Epidemic".
DFAH: Dancehall Fans Against Homophobia
A good website done by the reggae and dancehall community that doesn't support homophobia in the music and are opposed to state bans on artists. There is a petition to sign in their website as well as several interesting articles related to dancehall and homophopia. DFAH Press Release (February 2005): "It is suggested that the recently negotiated deal accounts for 90% of the UK reggae industry. DFAH always felt that homophobic reggae was a minority interest. But if 10% of the UK reggae industry is still prepared to release and promote homophobic music, then DFAH will continue its campaign against this 10%.
S.O.S. Jamaica: Reggae people fighting for justice
An Italian website, afiliated with Amnesty International and other Human Rights organizations. Their mission is: A) to give correct information about the political and cultural environment in Jamaica, B) to aid Jamaican people in solving these serious problems, C) to support initiatives which implement the basic rules for civilized behaviour and respect for human life, D) to discourage and condemn the Jamaican authorities' antidemocratic, violent behaviour and attitudes towards other human beings
Note: There is a great message on their front page: DON'T PROMOTE MURDER MUSIC, PROMOTE ROOTS ROCK REGGAE.
This website has several interesting articles written between 1997 and 2006 regarding the daily problems in Jamaica. The articles comes from worldwide newspapers, magazines or websites.
This website brings together information and sources of information that may be useful to persons seeking asylum based on sexual orientation. If prospective applicants wish to include any of the information presented therein in their petitions, they are encouraged to pursue the original sources of documents as much as possible.
Jamaica Land We LGBT
Opened in December 2005, this forum is described as "A tribute to and expression of Jamaica's sexual minorities in the struggle to overcome prejudice and violence and to assume their rights as citizens, and as full human beings".
Black Music Council
Blacker Dread (owner of the Blacker Dread Music Store) and Doctah X (British Jamaican DJ) launched the UK-based organization Black Music Council to protect the rights of the eight artists "persecuted" by OutRage! In their website, they largely criticized Peter Tatchell's freedom of speech definition, comparing him to Tipper Gore.
Note: I do not support the organization’s view and arguments on the dancehall debate, but I include the link as they are part of the debate. The four texts related to dancehall are said to be from November 2005, but they are actually from Oct., Nov. and Dec. 2004.
Rod 2.0: beta: Jamaica
If you want to learn more about gay subjects that are discuss in Jamaican newspapers, this website does a very nice job.
Gay Jamaica Watch
Important blog made by a Jamaican that covers the LGBT scene in Jamaica and comments it intelligently. More informative than Jamaican newspapers. Unfortunatley, the page is very busy, and it's easy to get lost with the amount of information provided, but definitively worth a visit. (Gay Jamaica Watch)
This website does an excellent job for bringing news from different part of the world. The Jamaican section is very well documentaed and features severl articles and testimones not included on my website.
A forum where it's quite easy to consult Jamaican articles realted to gay life in Jamaica. The articles are list by their titles. Over 130 articles posted at time of visit.
Love Music Hate Racism
Racism, homophobia? same battle. Ruth Hunt of lesbian and gay rights group Stonewall, said: “Stonewall is proud to support Love Music Hate Racism. Every one of modern Britain’s diverse communities must stand together to challenge all forms of discrimination. There is no place for fascism and intolerance in a civilised society.”Organisation description: 'Our music is living testimony to the fact that cultures can and do mix. It unites us and gives us strength, and offers a vibrant celebration of our multicultural and multiracial society. Racism seeks only to divide and weaken us. Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was set up in 2002 in response to rising levels of racism and electoral successes for the Nazi British National Party (BNP). We use the energy of our music scene to celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist and anti-fascist activity – as well as to urge people to vote against fascist candidates in elections. LMHR has helped to mobilise against further BNP election victories, in the tradition of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement of the late 1970s'.
Very nice blog that provides information on the gay scene around the world. I often found some very interesting articles related to homophobia in dancehall music. One, you access Blabbeando's website, you can put 'Jamaica' in the search engine on top of the page to have access to related articles.
Een nieuwe vorm van mediapaniek? Homofobe geluiden in de hedendaagse reggaemuziek
This Dutch webpage is a university thesis written by Pieter-Jan Van der Bracht. He analyzes the roots of homophobia in dancehall music
STOP MURDER MUSIC campaign:
Stop Murder Music UK
The OutRage! organisation, lead by Peter Tatchell and Brett Lock was a turning point in the ‘Chi Chi Man’ debate. They launched the ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign in July 2004 which was responsible for dozens of cancelled concerts and which forced the dancehall industry to come to a table of discussion in February 2005. The original website had over 60 different articles on the subject, but seems to be officially closed since April 2006. The link now redirects you to the Peter Tatchell webpage. By clicking here, you can download the PDF file: Dancehall Dossier: Stop Murder Music, the nine-page document that was initially sent by OutRage! during the ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign. There is also a 28-minute Internet televison program that was recorded in August 2007, where Peter Tatchell, Brett Lock and Dennis Carney are talking about the Stop Murder Music campaign: Talking with Tatchell: Jamaica, homophobia and murder music. The OutRage! website is no longer working, now you can visit PeterTatchell.net. Click on POP MUSIC, on the left, to see various articles written by Peter Tatchell.
Stop Murder Music CANADA
The Canadian campaign was launched by Egale Canada in September 2007. Egale Canada is a national organization that advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people and their families across Canada.
Note: In September 2007, they launched the Stop Murder Music campaign in Canada and have done several actions since to make the conflict evolved. Action includes pressuring Canadian immigration to not allow visa to singers that promote violence, asking music retailers to remove violent homphobic songs and establishing an official Jamaican tourist and goods boycott.
Stop Murder Music BERN
Contrary to the other associations that works under the banner 'Stop Murder Music', the one located in Bern (Switzerland) was created by heterosexuals! They are four reggae fans that are active in the local alternative reggae scene. Tom from Stop Murder Music Bern: “We started our group in March 2008 because of a homophobic incident with "Dubversive Soundsystem" from Zurich, Switzerland, during a reggae-dancehall-party in March 2008. The organizer, a Somali living in Switzerland since some years, and a small non-commercial Dancehall-Reggae-Party-Organizer, was shocked about the homophobic arrogance of DS (‘Dubversive Soundsystem’ – that's racism against gays and lesbians) and asked some of his friends to help fighting against "Killerqueens" (artists that promote violence against LGBT) and homophobic turntables. We developped our own Manifest that people can support, and campagned against concerts of Sizzla, Capleton, Vybz Kartel, Anthony B and Junior Reid. Our main targets are not only concerts but also a probably bigger problem, the local soundsystems". In October 2008, their group was joined by a gay activist. A month later, two Rocksteady-Reggae-Soul DJs showed interest in joining their team. (MORE FROM THE INTERVIEW BELOW)
(complete interview with SMM Bern) (Stop Murder Music Bern)
Stop Murder Music ZURICH
Like 'Stop Murder Music BERN', this is another association that is specific to one city: Zurich (Switzerland). The wabsite seems to be created in August 2009. They are responsible for TOK's signature of the Reggae Compassionate Act, actually a revised version of the Act. See the HISTORY & NEWS section of this website for more information, under August 13, 2009. The website is exclusively in German.
(Stop Murder Music Zurich) (Stop Murder Music Zurich – Press Release)
Stop Murder Music FRANCE
There is no official campaign name 'Stop Murder Music FRANCE', but the campaign to canclled the dancehall artists responsible to incite violence against gays and lesbians was done by An Nou Allé! in 2005/2006. The association changed it's name to Tjenbé Rèd! in May 2007 and carried their actions to pressure artists responsible for promoting 'Murder Music'.
(Tjenbé Rèd!) (An Ou Allé!)
Stop Murder Music GERMANY
During my reserch, I haven't seen an official campaign name 'Stop Murder Music GERMANY', but several LGBT German organisations have manifest their disaproval for Jamaican Dancehall artists that promote violence against gays and lesbians to performed in Germany. Several German concerts were cancelled since 2004. Maybe the best know German organisation is LSVD.
Stop Murder Music USA
During my reserch, I haven't seen an official campaign name 'Stop Murder Music USA', but several LGBT American organisations have manifest their disaproval for Jamaican Dancehall artists that promote violence against gays and lesbians to performed in USA. In Automn 2004, both Beenie Man and Capleton tour was greatly affected by pressure from gays and lesbians. Several Buju Banton concerts were cancelled in his 2006 US Tour. The latest campaign to cancelled Buju Banton in October 2009 have been proven quite effective with 19 cancellations. I don't have the name of a specific organisation, as it's more a combination of different LGBT associations located in different states.
('Rasta Got Hate' cancellation website)
Stop Murder Music CARIBBEAN
During my reserch, I haven't seen an official campaign name 'Stop Murder Music Caribbean'. The Jamaican association J-FLAG is working in collaboration with international gays and lesbian organisations. To my knowledge, they never pressured Jamaican concerts to remove artists that incite violence against gays and lesbians. This position is probably due to the Jamaican context. Their actions seems more directed in giving information to LGBT, writing in the press and trying to repeal the 'Sodomy Law'. LGBT association named SASOD located in Guyana is very pro-active in addressing the issue of 'Murder Music' in the Guyanese press, when a Jamaican dancehall artist with homophobic songs, comes to perform in their country.
(J-FLAG) (SASOD Guyana)
Jahworks.org: A Culture Of Intolerance: Insights on the Chi Chi Man Craze
Spring 2002. An online publication about Caribbean-based music and culture. (Jahworks.org)
Note: A wonderful 5-page article written in Spring 2002 that clearly identifies the Jamaican situation. If you don't have time to go through several articles, I strongly recommend this one.
Jahworks.org: The "Fiya Burn" Controversy
Summer 2001. Another excellent article from the Jahwork.org webszine. Titled: The Fiya Burn Controversy: On the Uses of Fire in a Culture of Love and Rebellion. Analysis and comment on the "purification" by the spiritual fire included in reggae and dancehall music. (Jahworks.org)
Gay Times Magazine: Murder In The Dancehall
December 2002. This article relates the demonstration made by OutRage! at the 2002 MOBO Awards, that took place in London, on October 1st, 2002. The article also brings several events back to Buju Banton's appearance on Channel Four's The World, in December 1992. (Gay Times Magazine)
Casting The First Stone:
Policing of Homo/Sexuality in Jamaican Popular Culture
February 2004. This is not an article, it's a16-page essay on the subject. It's the strongest research that I read about analysing the roots of Jamaican homophobia and it's social repercution into popular dancehall music. One of the few documents that I found that talks about the early stage of homophobia in dancehall music. A must! (Casting The First Stone)
Murder Music (in Guernica Magazine)
December 2010. This is more than just a article. It's a strong analysis of the context of which emerge the homophobic violence portrayed in Jamaican dancehall music. (Guernica Magazine)
Prosecution of reggae artists who incite homophobic assaults and murder
September 2003. OutRage! calls the prosecution of dancehall singers, record companies and music stores under the British law. The organisation presented Commander Steve Allen, head of the hate crime unit at New Scotland Yard, a 10-page dossier detailing the lyrics that incite the murder of gay people and setting out the legal case for a prosecution. (OutRage!)
Battybwoys affi dead: Action against Homophobia in Jamaica
May 2004. The report reveals several testimonies from gays and lesbians who suffered verbal abuses, physical vilolence and even witnesses murder of homosexuals. AI call on the international community to send letters to P.J. Patterson, the prime minister of Jamaica, asking him to repealed the legislation which criminalizes homosexuality and to make sure that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and get the same legal rights as any other Jamaicans. (Amnesty International Report)
Gay in Jamaica: The brutal slaying of an activist spurs an outcry against bigotry
June 2004. Apart from relating the tragic death of Brian Williamson, this wonderful article look upon his heartful social implication in Jamaica as a visible gay activist and relates the his toutching memorial in New Kingston. (New Times)
Jamaica Gleaner: Remembering Brian Williamson
June 2004. One week after Williamson's murder, Thomas Glave remembers Jamaica's gay activist and founding member of J-FLAG. (Jamaica Gleaner)
Jamaica Gleaner: Clash: Gays vs. dancehall
October 2004. Jamaican dancehall academic and researcher Donna P Hopeis a great defender of dancehall music. She brings an interesting Caribbean point of view to the crisis. (Jamaica Gleaner - PART I) (Jamaica Gleaner - PART 2)
NOTE: Although I don't like how she minimised dancehall lyrics that advocate death and how she ridiculized the effort made by overseas gay activists to challenge these unacceptable hatered lyrics, I must admit that this article covers a lot of ground. I consider this two-part article as a 'must-read' in order to understand every aspect of the conflict.
The Guardian: Pride And Prejudice
December 2004. This journalist voiced the opinion of the Jamaican industry regarding OutRage!'s 'Stop Murder Music' campaign. (The Guardian)
Note: It’s interesting to read the Jamaican promoter’s view of the OutRage! campaign, their views of the Human Rights Watch and the insinuation that Jamaica is one of the world’s most tolerant societies regarding homosexuality, and that it is groups like J-FLAG that are creating problems.
The Village Voice: Jah Division
February 2005. Jah Division: Free speech, cultural sovereignty, and human rights clash in a reggae dancehall homophobia debate. (The Village Voice)
Note: This is a very good article that uses several guidelines often omitted regarding understanding the global picture, but at the same time the author tries to make the debate look insignificant due to the social background.
Jamaica Gleaner: Culture or lack of responsibility?
March 2005. The University of Technology (St Andrew, Jamaica), presented their first video forum with the 1993 documentary The Darker Side of Black, which largely looks at homophobia in dancehall. The presentation was followed by a student debate. (Jamaica Gleaner)
Capleton canned: Protest around singer's anti-gay lyrics
September 2004. This is a very nice impartial article that resume the conflict by getting back to the early nineties with Shabba Ranks and giving a good overview of Capleton's ten-year career. (North Coast Journal)
NowToronto: Crashing Pride's Party
June 2005. The International Reggae Superstars Festival held in Toronto happened on the very same day as the Toronto Gay Pride 25th Anniversary. The reggae concert featured Buju Banton, Bounty Killer and Elephant Man among other Jamaican acts. Considering the lyrics of these artists, it’s quite astonishing that the mayor accepted that these two events be held on the same day. The article describes the Canadian Customs procedures that the artists have to go through. (Now Toronto)
The Guardian: Trouble Island
April 2006. For anyone who is not too familiar with the situation of homosexuals in Jamaica, this is probably the article I would recommand. From my point of view, it is a must-read, even for those of you who are quite familiar with the subject. 'Trouble island' is the title of the article written by Gary Younge. (The Guardian: Trouble island)
NOTE: Although several publications made a wonderful job, for me it's the UK newspaper The Guardian that brought the most interesting and complete articles that covered up the conflict over the years. Here is a list of noticeable Guardian articles: (October 2002: Don't blame the music) (JUNE 2004: Chilling call to murder as music attacks gays) (JULY 2004: One love) (JULY 2004: It's not natural) (NOVEMBER 2004: Anti-gay star's UK tour cancelled) (NOVEMBER 2004: 'Murder music' stars dropped) (NOVEMBER 2004: Reggae stars 'fuel spread of HIV') (FEBRUARY 2005: Ceasefire brokered in reggae lyrics war) (APRIL 2006: Trouble island) (JUNE 2007: Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton renounce homophobia) (JULY 2007: Victory for gay rights campaign as reggae star agrees to ditch homophobic lyrics)
Note: If you want more articles, click on this link: More Articles
The Uprising: Expanding The Culture Of Equal Rights And Justice
February 2002. Weekly roots reggae radio show broadcasted on KAZI 88,7 FM, Austin, Texas.
Note: Special on homophobic violence and rhetoric, with host Gregory Stephens and DJ RJ, plus a good interview with Julius Powell of J-FLAG. (The Uprising)
Wake the Town and Tell the People: Dancehall Culture in Jamaica
(Norman Stolzoff, Duke University Press, 2000, ISBN-10: 0822325144) (ISBN-13:978-0822325147)
Arguing that dancehall music is steeped in the Jamaican slave culture of 200 years ago and is not just a recent form of expression by volatile ghetto youth, Norman C. Stolzoff, an anthropologist at the University of California-Irvine, puts forth the first comprehensive study of a largely misunderstood and underestimated phenomenon. In Wake the Town & Tell the People: Dancehall Culture in Jamaica, Stolzoff reveals that the lingo, dress code, power structure (including sexism and violence), sound and expression of dancehall not only reflect the struggle between Jamaica's haves and have-nots but also represent an intra-class (though not insular) battleground among the nation's poor. 44 b&w photos. (text from Publishers Weekly). (Amazon.com)
NOTE: I haven't read the book, but my friend suggestes it "It's pretty good. The author is very respectful of dancehall (older dancehall, really) while always criticizing it for its violence, misogyny and homophobia in particular".
BBC 1-Xtra Documentaries: Gay In JA
April 2005. Audio interview with Jamaicans telling stories about being gay in Jamaica.
Note: Excellent 17-minute documentary. All the written comments are also quite interesting to look at.
BBC Report: Coming Out (Part One): Life is harsh for homosexuals in Jamaica
July 2007. Audio interview with Jamaicans telling stories about being gay in Jamaica.
COMMENTS BY PEOPLE:
BBC 1-Xtra Documentaries: Gay In JA
April 2005. Audio interview with Jamaicans telling stories about being gay in Jamaica.
Note: Excellent 17-minute documentary. All the written comments are also quite interesting to look at.
Hour.ca: What Happened To One Love?
August 2004. Should Sizza come to town? Articles published in the Montreal newspaper Hour.
Note: Includes interesting comments by the readers. The following link is the article written after the concert: Part II: Sizzlin' Hot
Homophobia Inna Dancehall Style
June 2002. Forum discussion started by a Jamaican dancehall fan that feel discussed by homophobia in dancehall music
Note: This chat between dancehall fans started in June 2002 and got tons of mails until February 2005. I n 2003, when I printed the chat,
it went on for 43 pages!!! Very interesting comments were posted. •
www.theReggaeBoyz.com: Homosexuals on the forum?
November 2004. Forum discussion. In the middle of the conversation, someone brings the publication of the Human Rights Watch report.
Note: Typical group discussion about homosexuality between reggae listeners: some interesting comments, but several are unpleasant.
www.BloodAndFire.co.uk: Worst jamaican battybwoy related tune ever?
May 2005. Forum discussion.
Note: the first 20 comments talk about homophobic songs than the conversation evolve. There are some quite interesting posts.
SierraNevadaWorldMusicFestival Forum: Sizzla signed with DefJam
May/August 2005. Forum discussion. The discussion started with Sizzla signing to DefJam records and evolved through the dancehall singer’s homophobic attitude.
Note: Most of the comments are uplifting and mature. Thank you Sista Irie. Love shines brighter than the morning sun!
REGGAE WEBSITES WHO SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THIS PROJECT:
A Wailers Addict
This page is, without a doubt, among my favorite Bob Marley & The Wailers webpage. Tons of informations can be found. Any Wailers fans will truly appreciate the wonderful picture gallery of rare vinyls and collectables.
Note: The owner of the page supplied material to the great JAD collection: The Complete Bob Marley & The Wailers 1967-1972 ten volume series. He also made the essential Intelligent Diplomat webpage on Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer's career, but recently removed the page related to Bunny, in sign of protest against the artist’s homophobic speech made in a concert in 2005. Another reggay fan who fights against homophobia in reggae music. Big up!
Voice Of The Sufferers
Another of my favorite Bob Marley website. It contains tons of information about the unofficial material that are circulting among fans, such as demos, audio concerts, video concerts, interviews, soundcheck... Along with a very nice section of the various books published on The Wailers plus a discography, a videography and a section on the tour dates. A well-organized and easy-to-surf website.
This website can appeal to all Marley fans but will surely delight the collectors with all the tiny details available on the Wailers singles. The most complete discography that I found on the Internet. Don't miss the very nice picture gallery can be found. It also gives you tons of information on demos, dubplates, soundcheck, audio and video concerts. Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh solo career are also covered. And last, but not least, a reggae compendium with many details about roots reggae music.
ReggaeFrance.com covers a wide veriety of reggae and dancehall artists from the actual scene as well as the 'vintage' artists. The numerous sections give the reggae/dancehall fans a good tour of horizon of their favorite music. You will find artists' portrait with biography, discography and interviews. It also features Jamaica's weekly Top-30 singles, a section that classified the songs by 'riddims', a detail 'New Album Releases' section, international news, Europeen concert dates and a forum. They have one of the nicest design among the reggae websites that I visited. In August 2006, they ran an announcement about the 'Murder Inna Dancehall' website in their NEWS section, which brough many vistors. They accepted to support this website and I thank all the team for that!
NOTE: Although I was quite happy to see ReggaeFrance.com taking a positive approch on the debate in 2006, their stand was rather disapointing (to say the least) in the years that followed. In September 2006, they asked me to collaborate on their website by writing a dossier on Homophobia in Dancehall music, a task that I took very seriously and worked on for over 40 hours. After many revisions (requested by them), they always found excuses to postpone the inclusion of the dossier on their website, which was never included. Their team was probably too busy covering artists that promote violence, instead of giving due respect to an outsider that agreed to work for free for their webzine.