Interview with Tanya Stephens
Writer: Stéphanie Binet
February 7, 2007
The article is in French. As I think she makes very good comments on homophobia, I decided to translate it.
Original link for this article in French: LINK
Whit her sixth album, Rebelutiom, lauched last automn, Jamaican Tanya Stephens, one of the rare women singer in the dancehall culture, shaked the reggae industry by denouncing her collegue homophobia. She will defend her point of view tonight onstage, between her ragga hits and R n' B ballads. In June 2004, Capleton concerts in France, along with the Garange Reggae Festival were cancelled, under the pressure of gay and lesbian groups. It is also time for French artits Admiral T and Krys to deal with their violent texts. In her song 'Do You Still Care?', Tanya Stephens put in context a young homophobe that was mostly killed by a rival street gang and is rescued by an homosexual.
How did your homopbobic collegues did react to this song?
None of them came up to me to say anything. People that I know that were making homophobic comments told me that the song touched them and that they have never seen things from that perspective.
How did you react to the Stop Murder Music campaign?
I find it natural that gays defend themselfs. It's impossible to be insensible to people who claim your death. But there is a dramatisation, an exageration from the gay community. To defend their cause, they attack the whole reggae industry, when there is only eight idiots that ridiculise themselves with their stupid remarks. I'm part of this industry and I don't think that gays should die... In Jamaica, a majority of people think like me.
Capleton states that when he sings about 'burning' gays, it's to purify them...
"Laughing... Purify them from what? I found it stupid that people should all look the same. It's ridiculous to say 'I will convert everyone to my beliefs, I will purify everybody'. I am shure that people who said that they hate gays with so much strenght, would like to say the opposite today. But they said it with so much conviction that they would lose their face if they would back up from what they said.
Beenie Man is saying that you dislike men
Not every men, just idios like Beenie Man. It's true that I'm not like the majority of Jamaicain women, I refguse to live in the limits of my small culture. Even if Jamaican is shining worlwide through reggae, we are still a small island folded on itrself. I try to stay as open as possible to the rest of the world.