Back in the early 80s, when I was in High School, I found out that there was some different kind of music called Reggae. At first I didn't like it much. It was 1981 and I sticked to the Queen album "The Game" instead of listening to Bob Marley. It was much later that I started to listen to some of the lyrics that described the struggle for freedom, and I started to like reggae. It wasn't until two years ago that I noticed, after a more in depth approach to the patois lyrics, all the homophobia underlying in many of those texts. This blog is partly a consequence of such discovery. It's been a while that I wanted to say something about the thing, and today it looks a very good day for that matter.
But in spite of saying it in my own words, I'll just voice other people's words. People who know much better than I could ever know. People who lived the issue, and who are struggling to change the facts. Why today? Because it seems that Beenie Man, the same guy who allegedly signed in 2005 the Reggae Compassionate Act, has lately denied such agreement.
According to The Jamaica Observer, "He denied signing any such deal, which Outrage last month announced as the Reggae Compassionate Act, but at the same time said that violence against gays was wrong." He went on further to declare "We don't need to kill dem. We just need fi tell the people dem the right ting because I not supporting a gay lifestyle because it's not wholesome to me."
So, did he sign it yes or no? My opinion is that the guy signs the agreement whenever he needs to have it signed to perform overseas. Three months ago in Barcelona it was either him or some other Dancehall artist who risked to have a concert suspended precisely because of his homophobia. By that time, Spanish LGBT rights groups were calmed and promised he had signed the Act.
But enough of my speech, let me leave you with the guys who best know about the thing. With all due respect and admiration, this people at Murder Inna Dancehall they have a lot of links, analysis and material on the reggae/dancehall homophobia. And I have to agree completely with this view:
Every time I hear a song by an artist who had an homophobic message, I stop dancing. I invite all dancehall and reggae lovers to stop dancing when you hear disrespectful songs in a bar. Furthermore, if you feel confortable, tell the DJ that you don't appreciate such songs. If you hear a homophobic song on the radio, try and get the station's email address and the people in charge of the show where the songs was played. Let them know how you feel or simply send them the link to this website. No more murder music! Play Roots Rock Reggae.
Therefore, go immediately and visit the site. Learn more and more about the situation and how things can be changed. Click on their links. Write. Do your part.