I was wondering when this would happen
Anti-gay rap hits Buju again
Monday, September 25, 2006
A venue in Los Angeles has cancelled a scheduled appearance by reggae
artiste Buju Banton following complaints from its patrons.
The DJ-crooner is accused of inciting homophobia by performing songs with allegedly anti-gay lyrics. The general manager of the Highlands nightclub, Adam Manacker, is quoted as saying “We felt it was the right thing to do after doing some research into the matter.” In July, a Banton concert in Brighton was axed following similar protests.
Full refunds will be given for holders of tickets to the 2 October show.The release announcing the cancellation cites two banton songs in particular, the oft-cited Boom Bye Bye as well as Batty Rider, even though the latter ostensibly refers to a style of short shorts worn by women which at least partially expose the buttocks.
Nothing wrong with being anti-gay but there is definitely something wrong with promoting violence and that is what this debate needs to be refocussed on. Been saying it and I’ll say it again, we cannot allow our rights to freedom of expression and free speech to be compromised on this issue. And by ‘our’ I mean Jamaicans who support Reggae and Dancehall artists, or ordinary Jamaicans who do not support homosexual behaviours/lifestyles/whatever you want to term it. It is well within our rights to speak out against any issue under the sun but we must do so responsibly, which many artists have not done in their song lyrics as evidenced by the promotion of violence against gays. We can speak up and out and against but we cannot codone violence against a group; not only is it not our right as mere humans but it opens up the door to all other kinds of group-specific targetting that will come back to nip us in the ass (no pun intended). The targeted artists consistently lose the opportunities that come knocking to clarify and/or present their stance as anti-gay AND anti- violence. Not only are they losing opportunities but they are losing revenue as well. Hasn’t the sum total begun to really bother yet? The gay community is extremely organized and probably have committees dedicated to identifying specific artists concerts and pressuring venues as well as it is the case that there are many gay Jamaicans in Jamaica and abroad who are involved in these lobbies sometimes right in the thick of things and sometimes on the fringe. Before this goes the way of some unfair legislation presented as ostensibly general but really targeted at Jamaican artists (or others like them, and there are those), the artists, their labels, and their managers need to speak up and speak out.
It is admittedly sticky territority but far too important for their careers ad the future of the Jamaican music to ignore in the hopes that it goes away. For we already see where misinterpretation and misunderstanding and straight bad translation from patois into English has become a problem – Batty Rider is anti-gay? Where? I’m running through the lyrics in my head and don’t see where – so we cannot risk any further spread. Reggae and Dancehall are infinitely more important than those who are involved in its production.
mood: thoughtful and confident
sounds: printers and paper shuffling