Condemn Jamaican Reggae Artists for Homophobic Song Lyrics

Target: Buju Banton, Bounty Killa, Bobo Shanti, Sizla, Capleton, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, T.O.K., Vybz Kartel, Shabba Ranks and Mavado.

Goal: Condemn Jamaican Reggae artists that promote murder of homosexuals in song lyrics and ask them to sign the Reggae Compassion Act.

Known as “murder music”, Jamaican Reggae songs by certain artists have a strong homophobic streak. Songs by artists like Beenie Man contain lyrics that say, “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.” Others like Shabba Ranks have openly called for the crucifixion of gays. Sign the petition to condemn these artists’ murderous lyrics and demand they sign the Reggae Compassion Act.

There is a strong stigma surrounding homosexuality in Jamaica. 96% of Jamaicans are opposed to any move to legalize same-sex relationships. A 2008 poll that asked if homosexuals were entitled to the same basic rights and privileges regardless of their lifestyle found only 26% said yes, while 70% said no and 4% were undecided. According to Human Rights Watch, violence against homosexuals in Jamaica is widespread. Jamaica has been described as one of the most anti-gay countries in the world. Jamaican Reggae artists are idolized by much of the population and their lyrics contribute to this violence.

A UK based campaign “Stop Murder Music” was able to get several Reggae artists to sign the Reggae Compassion Act in 2007. However, since then several of the artists have denied ever signing and others have repudiated it. Sign the petition to condemn Reggae lyrics that advocate murder of homosexuals and demand Reggae artists sign the Act.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Reggae artists,

I am writing as a human rights activist to strongly condemn lyrics in your songs that advocate murder of homosexuals. Reggae lyrics derogatorily refer to gays as “batty boys” (bottom boys) and artists such as T.O.K. and Buju Banton have lyrics glorifying shooting homosexuals. In 2006 and 2007 there were several documented incidents of mobs chasing those accused of being gay through the streets and beating them. Gays in Jamaica are regularly subject to beatings, shootings, rapes and burnings.

Reggae artists bear some responsibility for these horrible outcomes. Violence against gays is glorified resulting in assaults and murders. Between 1997 and 2004 at least 30 gay men have been murdered. I urge you to sign the Reggae Compassion Act and abide by it to prevent these terrible consequences.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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4 Comments

  1. Ah. Don’t give him attention, I’m pretty sure that’s why he said it

  2. Robert Ortiz says:

    It is not freedom of speech or artisitic expression but hate speech masquerading as music. Jamaica needs to open its eyes, its collective mind and heart and look towards progress, not intolerance and bigotry. It’s truly one of thre most anti-GLBT countries in the world and has a slew of other problems as well and I wduld suggest people consider boycotting them.

  3. My first experiences of reggae came growing up in London in the mid-70s. I love reggae. Some of it is sexist nonsense, some of it is unpleasantly homophobic, but guess what, so is American stadium rock. The number of really good reggae artists far outbalances those who release sexist/homophobic songs, and I choose not to listen to the latter.

    You have called out an entire musical genre because of the activities of what is probably a minority of artists, so perhaps you could refocus your attentions to those that really are sexist and/or homophobic, because this ‘Dear Reggae Artists’ approach makes you look very silly indeed.

  4. I’m half Jamaican and though I am not gay I know that this is a major problem in Jamaica and that many (not all) use reggae music to attack and encourage attack on the GLBT community. I love Reggae music, was born to love Reggae music, but over time I have heard some of the words these artist sing and therefore refuse to buy their music or go to their gigs.

    The person who has posted this page didn’t call on every artist, just those who use use anti-GLBT violence in their lyrics. Which again I say is a real major problem in Jamaica. And just because it may be something that is happening in other music does not make this right anywhere. If the artist who people are looking upto are singing and talking about how all the gays should be killed, the people will continue to think its right to attack people. It encourages them! Though I am not saying these people are the whole problem behind these issues, but are clearly part of it.

    This post does mention the artist it is aiming at, though I could think of least two more that should also be on that list. My only thought is that though it is a major problem in music and real life in Jamaica, we should be looking at ALL anti-GLBT music across the globe.

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