Show won't go on for artists accused of anti-gay lyrics
September 30, 2021
By Chris Jai Centeno
Two concerts have been cancelled after
mega-club Kool Haus pulled the plug at the last-minute on two
controversial reggae and dancehall artists.
Entertainers Elephant Man and Sizzla were
scheduled to perform last Friday night and Oct. 5 respectively, but both
Jamaicans have been under fire from human rights organizations who say
their lyrics are homophobic and incite violence against gays.
Akim Larcher, founder of Stop Murder Music
Canada - a coalition made up of 20 organizations that promote human rights
- says the federal government has remained silent in this issue.
"They shouldn't have been allowed to
get visas to perform in the country. It's not about censorship or artistic
freedom. That stops when hate propaganda is involved," says Larcher.
It was reported Wednesday that police would
monitor the concerts in case the artists ventured into criminally hateful
Stop Murder Music has also called on the
CRTC, which regulates radio and television airwaves, to step in and ban .
But activist and Canadian author Orville
Lloyd Douglas says "there are a lot of double standards here."
These organization's "don't go after
Eminem or Marilyn Manson."
Larcher says the focus of his group is to
bring awareness of homophobia in Jamaica.
According to Amnesty International, attacks
and threats on gays and lesbians in Jamaica are on the rise.
Kool Haus could not be reached for comment
yesterday. Ticket sales for the O'Neil Bryan (Elephant Man) show had been
Police to monitor songs for anti-gay lyrics
September 26, 2021
By Nicholas Keung IMMIGRATION/DIVERSITY REPORTER
Toronto police will monitor this Friday's
concert by Jamaican dancehall artist O'Neil Bryan, also known as Elephant
Man, after receiving complaints that the performer incites anti-gay
violence through his music.
"Their lyrics, in my opinion, do tend
to step over the line in regards to hate propaganda and advocating harm to
one of the identified groups," said Det. Gary McQueen, of the hate
"These entertainers have had some
issues in other countries, in London, England, in particular," he
added, referring to another complaint against Miguel Orlando Collins,
a.k.a. Sizzla, who is booked at The Kool Haus Oct. 5. "We are looking
at these situations to see if they apply to our experience in Toronto and
Despite protests by the Toronto-based
Canadian Caribbean Human Rights Group, immigration officials have issued
visas to both Bryan and Collins. The latter was banned from the United
Kingdom in 2004. Bryan arrived in Canada last week and has performed in
Winnipeg and Victoria, where local police closely monitored the concerts.
The artists' offensive lyrics use
derogatory terms for gay men in Jamaican patois.
Yesterday, a spokeman for Bryan's Toronto
host, The Kool Haus on Queens Quay, also condemned the singers' anti-gay
lyrics but said its hands were tied because of contractual agreements with
both performers. Last week, a St. Catharines union pulled the plug at a
CAW hall for Bryan's stop there.
"I am a million per cent against
lyrics that promote hatred against gays and lesbians, women, religions and
races," Kool Haus CEO Charles Khabouth said via phone from Las Vegas.
"Had I been aware of the nature of the lyrics, I wouldn't have
allowed the booking."
Khabouth said contracts were signed months
ago and he had not been aware of the lyrics. Ticket sales for Elephant
Man's show have been poor, with only one-third of the 2,180 seats sold.
Sizzla's concert is expected to draw 1,500.
That's little comfort to the organizers of
the Stop Murder Music campaign, made up of 20 advocacy groups thatbelieve
music by homophobic dancehall performers has contributed to mob attacks
against gays in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Police could charge the artists
if they perform anti-gay numbers.
The artists' Toronto promoters, Ultimate
Entertainment and Chris Hines Ent., say the performers don't have the
power to "invoke violence and murder" against gays and lesbians.
turning up the beat - group wants 2 jamaican musicians banned
September 26, 2021
By Brett Clarkson, Sun Media
Two hugely popular Jamaican dancehall artists should
be barred from performing their upcoming concerts in Canada because of
their anti-gay lyrics, a human rights group says.
Elephant Man and Sizzla should both be
stripped of their performance visas by the federal immigration minister
because their lyrics contravene the Criminal Code's hate-speech
provisions, members of the Stop Murder Music (Canada) coalition said at a
press conference yesterday.
"It's unfortunate that the very people
that are fuelling and propagating this violent environment are basically
being given a platform in Canada," coalition member Akim Larcher
said. "This is unacceptable and the minister needs to step in."
Larcher, a gay man who grew up in St.
Lucia, said both artists have "huge followings" in the local
Caribbean community. He also said homophobia is rampant in the GTA's
Elephant Man, whose actual name is O'Neil
Bryan, is touring Canada and is scheduled to play Friday night in Toronto
at Kool Haus. Sizzla, whose name is Miguel Orlando Collins, is slated for
a gig at Kool Haus on Oct. 5.
An aide to minister Diane Finlay said
yesterday that while she "strongly condemns" the lyrics, there's
no legal means to deny the artists entry to Canada if they haven't been
found guilty of a criminal offence that would be the Jamaican equivalent
to Canada's hate-speech laws.
The aide said Citizenship and Immigration
has warned Elephant Man that if he breaks the law, he'll be deported.
Toronto Police will be "monitoring" this Friday's concert to
make sure Elephant Man doesn't break the law.
Crashing Pride's party
Will gay-bashing reggae acts set to play Pride weekend clean up their act?
June 23 - 29, 2005
By Sigcino Moyo
Jacana marketing director Mark Saldeba puts
the anti-gay dancehall lyrics on a par with Madonna's sexual cooings and
the invective-laced railings of Eminem and "most of the hiphop
world," in the sense that "the language they use is not suitable
for children, but it's still part of their art."
He thinks there's a cultural disconnect
when some of the get-down-and-talk-shit dancehall patois is translated
into the Queen's English and analyzed as if it had some deeper meaning.
Saldeba says the artists have been told
"what the culture is like here compared to theirs, and [it's been]
communicated in their own language what they can't do. It's one love. We
can work this out."
A formal agreement aimed at putting a lid
on anti-gay lyrics during live performances was reached this February
between dancehall record labels and various organizations, primarily the
UK-based Stop Murder Music Coalition (SMM), Outrage and the Jamaica Forum
for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).
Under the terms of the agreement, New York
City-based VP Records, which controls about 80 per cent of the dancehall
market, has also promised not to produce any new anti-gay material or
re-release offending songs. VP did not return NOW's calls requesting a
comment, but SMM spokesperson Dennis Carney offers that the agreement
"could be a turning point for reggae music, an opportunity to finally
put these hateful lyrics to rest." SMM has for the moment suspended
its campaign against dancehall and is taking a wait-and-see approach.
"These artist need to stop this
foolishness and move on," says Carney. "Otherwise, they won't
have international careers. A year ago we wouldn't have been having this
conversation. I think reggae music is evolving in the right
The Canadian High Commission in Kingston,
Jamaica, is also in on the act, putting the squeeze on the dancehall rude
boys. In order to get temporary work authorization, acts must sign an
Entertainer Declaration that states that they "have read and fully
understand" excerpted provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code,
Charter Of Rights and Human Rights Act. More specifically, the declaration
specifies that the performer "will not engage in or advocate hatred
against persons because of their… sexual orientation."
An official from the High Commission says
that "before we instituted this, we met with performers'
representatives to explain that it would be very difficult for us to allow
entry into Canada to a person whose act is known to contravene Canadian
laws." The official says that any transgressions would firstly be a
matter for the police's hate crimes unit, and then the High Commission
would "deal appropriately with that artist's future
SMM's campaign has generated a far-reaching
debate about homosexuality in Jamaica, where a sodomy law is still on the
books. Some observers of the musical crackdown have posited that the
campaign was never really about dancehall, but a backdoor attempt to have
that law repealed.
Reached at dancehall ground zero in
Kingston, Jamaica, a J-FLAG rep says all the international furor that's
momentarily silenced anti-gay lyrics doesn't mean squat for yardie gays
and lesbians. As J-FLAG spokesperson Gareth says, the harsh realities of
life on the island – like not being able to divulge his surname for
publication – foster an environment in housing, medical care and
policing that is openly hostile to the gay community.
"Jamaica is generally homophobic, and
it's ingrained in the culture to not accept gays and lesbians," he
says. "The old offensive recordings are still popular and in
circulation, and there's never been acknowledgement here that what they
were doing is wrong."
Case in point: as recently as April, Beenie
Man and Bounty Killer (on the Superstars bill) went off on gays, again,
during a nationally televised Carnival event in Jamaica. There was no
public outcry, although a group of leading Jamaican companies, the
Coalition of Corporate Sponsors, has yanked sponsorship of any events
where either of the two acts is skedded to perform.
But in a head-scratcher, one of the
companies isn't pulling the pair from a current advertising campaign.
The corporate flexing has led to some talk
of artists staging their own shows in Jamaica. In fact, Buju Banton has
set up his own label, whose website proclaims, "The voice of Jamaica
will not be silenced."
So is there or isn't there a ceasefire in
effect? Asked about the Jamaica Carnival events, Sharon Burke of
Jamaica-based Solid Agency, which represents Bounty Killer, says,
"No, no, no, Bounty and Beenie both apologized, denouncing violence
against any member of the human race," before adding that she's
"much too busy for this" and unceremoniously hanging up.
In Toronto, it's just as difficult to make
contact with the sponsors of the Superstars event. Western Union marketing
director Brian Fox says negotiations were afoot "at a higher
level" over a substantial underwriting of the event, but the parties
"couldn't agree on a price" and that's where it was left.
Saldeba says the inclusion of Western Union on Superstars promo material
is a result of a print timing issue. Says Fox, "We don't want to be
associated with controversy."
Shit happens, but what's the deal with
local community radio station CKLN, which "prohibits material or
comment that is racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic... ," showing up
on the event's promo material? CKLN program director Tim May doesn't know
or care. "Half the time I don't even understand the lyrical content,
and I have to take somebody's word for it."
I raise that point with J-FLAG's Gareth,
who bristles. "Well, here people recite the lyrics to these widely
popular songs while they abuse gays and lesbians in the streets. And these
same people teach that hate to their children." Over at the ACC, exec
VP and GM Robert Hunter says the ACC is not in the business of playing
cop, but it does ascertain that the events booked are in "reasonably
good taste and that people generally are not going to be offended."
Ultimately, he says, "censorship is
imposed by people who aren't going to buy tickets. If you take offence to
any artist, just don't go to the event."
Pride Toronto spokesperson Leon Mar,
meanwhile, takes a decidedly higher road.
"They also have the right to come
here, and any anti-gay sentiments are not for us to comment on – other
than to wish them a good performance."
to read the official Entertainer Declaration form which, it should be
noted, only has to be signed by Jamaican entertainers. Misogynist
rappers from the U.S. are free to come here and spew any hateful garbage
Beenie Man shows cancelled
August 27, 2021
Toronto, London gigs
nixed, anti-gay lyrics cited
By Jane Stevenson
Beenie Man controversy has hit Ontario.
Concert promoters have cancelled
two shows by the Jamaican dancehall artist that were scheduled for London
and Toronto Sept. 17 and 18, respectively, "due to ongoing concerns
and pressures regarding Beenie Man's controversial lyrical content,"
according to a release issued yesterday.
Refunds are available at point of
In the U.S., Beenie Man, who has
recorded anti-gay songs in the past, was yanked Tuesday from a concert
associated with this Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards at American Airlines
Arena in Miami after homosexual groups planned a protest, the network
South Florida gay activists
announced plans to protest tomorrow's concert over some of his past
lyrics, including "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all
the gays" and "Queers must be killed."
Beenie Man, born Anthony Moses
Davis, is on a world tour promoting his new album, Back To Basics. But he
has had his concerts cancelled in Europe over the last few weeks after gay
Although he has defended his lyrics
in the past, earlier this month Beenie Man issued an apology for his
songs, including Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man).
"Certain lyrics and recordings
I have made in the past may have caused distress and outrage among people
whose identities and lifestyles are different from my own ... I offer my
sincerest apologies to those who might have been offended, threatened or
hurt by my songs."
Sad days when music is a threat to human rights
There is no excuse for selling the albums of a DJ who
uses violent homophobic lyrics, writes Emma Young.
August 27, 2021
Sydney Morning Herald
By Emma Young
'Bon a fire pon a kuh pon mister fagoty."
This is Jamaican slang, or patois, for "take a bazooka and kill gay
men" and they're the lyrics of dance-hall DJ Beenie Man.
This rhythmic persecution is not a one-off:
the track Damn promotes the "execution of all queers", Han Up
Deh encourages the hanging of lesbians on a piece of rope ("hang chi
chi gal wid a long piece of rope"), and the shooting of all gay men
and gay women is a general theme. As Justin Timberlake might ask, where is
Punters and police have been asking the
same question. Beenie Man concerts in London in the past couple of months
have been cancelled or censored due to concerns that the hate-filled
lyrics would encourage violence against homosexuals and the police are
contemplating whether or not to charge him for inciting hate crimes.
The furore against the performer has
recently increased since his music started turning up in mainstream
international markets under the auspices of Virgin Records and human
rights groups started getting angrier.
Advertisement Advertisement He's one of the
most successful dance-hall names worldwide. He's had chart success in the
US and Britain, and in the top 40 charts in Australia with the track Feel
It Boy. He is set to release his new album, Back to Basics, here next
month. Singles from the album, such as Dude, are in circulation on
Australian airwaves and with this exposure has come a growing local fan
Beenie Man has kindly favoured
significantly cleaner lyrics in his new album, focusing more on the
desires of heterosexual sex then the disposal of homosexuals. This cynical
nod to commercialism has been beefed up by the support of Virgin Records.
It issued a press release at the beginning of August trying to convince a
critical market of his desire not to "hurt" or encourage the
execution of homosexuals.
That sounds lovely and just slightly
"born again", but this flash of good taste has turned out to be
an isolated incident. Beenie Man has again attempted to perform songs
containing the aggressively homophobic lyrics in Britain, has refused to
remove the homophobic albums from stores, and his representatives
immediately retracted the apology and defended his right to criticise, if
not demonise, "the homosexual lifestyle".
He's also tried to justify his habit of
making musical hatred by referencing the mood of his lyrics to the
entrenched homophobia of his homeland. "The music reflects how
Jamaican people see it," he said. "I think there are things that
are a part of Caribbean culture just like any other culture in the world.
People have beliefs and that comes from who they are. The music come from
that." These are not the sounds of contrition.
Jamaica does have a horrible record of
discriminating against its gays. It criminalises the "abominable
crime of buggery" with a punishment of up to 10 years' jail, and
threatens the public display of any kind of physical intimacy between men
with up to two years' jail.
Jamaica's highest profile gay activist was
recently stabbed to death in his home and there are fears his murder was
motivated by his sexual orientation, and at least five gay Jamaicans have
been granted asylum in Britain to protect them from homophobia. And police
want to question Buju Banton, another Jamaican performer, for allegedly
taking part in an armed attack on a gay household.
A spokeswoman for Amnesty International's
campaign against homophobia in Jamaica, Sarah Green, has speculated on the
capacity of the music to inflict indirect harm: "We are very
concerned that hateful lyrics have helped to create a culture and
atmosphere of violence."
So Beenie Man has cultural representation,
but this association with fact clearly doesn't make it right. One man's
bigotry can't be justified by the ignorant concurrence of a nation; the
world has already made enough mistakes on that premise.
His lyrics are utterly offensive. They
constitute a radical, right-wing reaction to a lifestyle that isn't his
own. Beenie Man doesn't try to attribute his style to the invention of a
musical character or satire, but acknowledges them as a perpetuation of
the prejudices inherent to Jamaican culture. This is no excuse.
While the freedom of artistic expression is
a valuable tenet of democratic society, it becomes less so when it
infringes on the freedom of the individual to live. An idea isn't
legitimate just because it has a soundtrack and the person who chants it
calls themselves an artist: the reasoning is just as repugnant even when
it has rhythm.
While human rights groups are campaigning
for censorship and legal prosecution of the "artist" under
British laws, mainstream consumers in Australia might do just as well to
stunt his success by not buying his CDs. Who needs to sanctify the
importation of homophobia when our Government and its faithful Opposition
are so willing to institutionalise the prejudice in federal legislation?
If this is music with a message these days,
the gig's up.
Gay group protests over Mobo list
August 25, 2021
Gay rights group Outrage! has condemned the
Music of Black Origin (Mobo) Awards for nominating two artists whose songs
include homophobic lyrics.
Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel are both up
for best reggae act. The awards take place in London on 30 September.
A Mobo spokeswoman said homophobic songs
like Elephant Man's We Nuh Like Gay were from "years ago" and
they have "changed their music since then".
But Outrage! said they will try to stop the
awards being screened on the BBC.
"The promotion of these murder-music
artists contradicts the BBC's producer guidelines and equal opportunities
policy which prohibit the promotion of homophobia and homophobic
violence," said Outrage campaigner Brendan Lock.
A spokesman for the BBC said: "The BBC
will not broadcast any homophobic lyrics."
The BBC will broadcast the event on 6
The nominations in question are for single
tracks only and do not relate to past offensive material by Elephant Man
and Vybz Kartel, Mobo organisers said.
Nominations are chosen by a panel of record
industry figures and urban press representatives.
Another reggae artist, Beenie Man, was not
on the list this year - his inclusion on last year's list provoked similar
controversy over lyrical content.
The Crown Prosecution Service and the
Metropolitan Police are currently reviewing a number of cases of
homophobic and offensive lyrics that might incite hate crimes.
Two of these cases involve Elephant Man and
Beenie Man recently issued his
"sincerest apologies" for violent "homophobic lyrics"
that have caused upset.
Vybz Kartel is due to perform at Reggae in
the Park at London's Wembley Arena next month.
Outrage! said his song, Bedroom
Slaughteration, and Elephant Man's We Nuh Like Gay and A Nuh Fi Wi Fault,
both advocate killing homosexuals.
Newcomer Kanye West leads the field for
this year's Mobos with seven nominations.
The singer and producer is up for best
video, best collaboration, twice, best single, best album and best
producer, as well as best hip-hop act.
Other nominees include Jamelia - with three
nominations - Jamie Cullum, Dizzee Rascal, Lemar, The Streets, Joss Stone,
Gemma Fox and Amy Winehouse.
The Mobo awards, now in their ninth year,
have grown into the largest urban awards show in Europe.
50 Cent takes glory at Mobos
September 26, 2021
Rap star 50 Cent has swept the board at the
Mobo awards, winning three prizes including best hip-hop act.
But the star kept everyone waiting,
arriving two hours late for the ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall,
meaning his Wembley concert the same evening was also badly delayed.
Justin Timberlake was named best R&B
act, while the prize for best UK act was shared between Punjabi MC and Big
Brovaz at the London ceremony.
Surprisingly, there were no awards for
Beyonce Knowles, who had been tipped for success with four nominations.
Big Brovaz were also named best newcomers,
while best video went to Christina Aguilera featuring Redman for Dirrty.
The Mobo Awards are the UK's prestigious
ceremony recognising the achievements of black artists and their influence
The Neptunes team were named best
producers, and So Solid Crew's Lisa Maffia won the best garage category.
Best reggae act went to Wayne Wonder, with
BBC Radio 1's Tim Westwood taking the award for best UK radio DJ.
Shortee Blitz was named best UK club DJ.
Mercury prize nominee Soweto Kinch was named best jazz act, and Buena
Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer best world music act.
Hutcheson Gayle was voted best gospel
newcomer, and the unsung award for unsigned talent went to J'Nay.
1970s/80s funk and disco act Kool & The
Gang, who helped to influence the birth of hip-hop, won the outstanding
achievement prize. Smooth crooner George Benson was given the lifetime
L'il Kim, who was co-hosting the show with
Blu Cantrell, won the fashion icon category.
But the night belonged to 50 Cent, who
arrived late to accept his awards and turned up on stage with a 10-strong
posse - all with bandanas covering their faces.
He said: "I've won a lot of awards
this year from a lot of different people. I'd like to thank God for
blessing me with the talent."
Jackson, 27, hails from a troubled
background in urban New York that has defined his authenticity as a street
His parents were killed when he was young
and he has been shot, stabbed and involved in high-profile feuds with
He learned his art with the help of Jam
Master Jay, the DJ with seminal rap group Run-DMC, who was shot dead in
October last year. He later established his reputation with the patronage
The Mobo Awards Show will be televised on
28 September at 1330 on T4 on Channel 4.