Sizzla cancelled yet again in Belgium

Reggae musician Sizzla has had the Swedish leg of his European tour cancelled on account of the anti-gay lyrics which feature in his music for a second time in Belgium …… see a previous post:

Sizzla Cancelled in Belgium

Sizzla Kalonji was scheduled to perform later this month in Stockholm but public condemnation of the artist, whose lyrics have incited violence against gay people, led organisers to call off the date, The Local reports.

Other concerts in the tour are still planned for Italy, France, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain.

Concerts by Sizzla have been cancelled in the UK in 2004 and in Toronto in 2007.

In 2008, he was denied a visa for the 29 European countries then signed up to the Schengen agreement after a German LGBT group appealed to their government. Sizzla was stopped at Madrid airport that year and returned to the US.

In July 2007, Sizzla and numerous other acts signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.

The Act reads: “It must be clear there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.

photo taken from a previous post on GLBTQJA on blogger where in 2010 Sizzla was pressured by activists lobbying promoters to remove murder music artists. See: Sizzla Concert Cancelled from Chiemsee Reggae & Austrian Sunsplash Shows

“We do not encourage nor minister to HATE but rather uphold a philosophy of LOVE, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING towards all human beings as the cornerstone of reggae.

“We agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community.”

But he later went on to deny ever having signed the pact. The Local now reports that the appearance at Stockholm was titled “The Reggae Compassionate Act”, though it is not clear this morning why the name had been chosen.

The European tour dates are believed to be Sizzla’s first major appearances since a motorcycle accident late last year led to widespread reports he had died.

In August 2010 he was scheduled to perform in Belgium as well at RIDER’S PARK in Massancy, In 2001 in particular, he chanted, for example: «Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom» («Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom»). Few weeks after apparently having signed the REGGAE COMPASSIONATE ACT (RCA) in 2007, which was supposed to have put a stop to such statements, he performed the title «Nah Apologize» («No excuses for buggers»).

On my sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch just some weeks before I had posted a petition to put pressure on the artists who have strong anti gay lyrics in their music and chief among them was Sizzla himself who has not recanted or seems to have softened on his position despite pressure placed on him, he recently played a club in Kingston in acoustic fashion but no anti gay tunes were reported to have been voiced in that show.

see the post here: Say No To Hate Music Petition for anti gay artists where the news of the petition is also available.

One would have thought that artists such as this would have learnt by now but to think he is described as a reggae act when he does predominantly dancehall songs. It is dancehall that the problem of homophobic lyrics mostly emanate as reggae acts unfortunately have been made to bear the pressure sadly as they are not involved for the most part in direct hate lyrics although some say the silence on their part is consent in support of the artists who make and deliver such hate songs.

Seeing that Europe also predominantly consumes more Jamaican music overall than even we do here in terms of sales and response maybe the LGBT lobby locally and internationally needs to strike a balance and be fair in while opposing hate or murder music as it is known we also encourage real reggae that is clean and uplifting so as not to harm the entire industry as is perceived by our detractors. In recent times though we have seen reggae acts also releasing more subtle materials using the word “burn” instead of kill which also suggest anti gay sentiments.

One such act was I-Wayne when in October 2011 his last album “Life Teachings” the title track is a huge hit about empowerment and thinking but some Rastafarian artists usually have great songs as debuts that is until the Sodom/anti gay bit comes into the mix then the claws come out or in this case the fireball(s).He has a track entitled “Burn down Sodom (5:30)” on the disc where he supposedly hits back at gay adoptions, procreation while linking male homosexuality to paedophilia, a common mistake that feeds our homo-negativity and by extension strong homophobia. Read more here:  I-Wayne’s “Burn Out Sodom” hits at gay adoption, homosexuality & accuses msms of paedophilia

Excerpts from the lyrics are clear what this song is about of course when one sees the words “Burn” and “Sodom” or “Fire” in the same sentence be they in song, written or the spoken word then look out there is bound to be trouble for same gender loving people.  Lyrics include (in patois and translated in part below)

  • Dem a drop dem fadda back, people good good pickney dem adopt
They are erasing their bloodline, not having own children but instead adopting other children (hinting at homosexualiisng children)
  • Baybylon you wrong you wrong you can’t live long then
Babylon you’re wrong you cant live long then (suggesting finality for gays)
  • Wicked promote the freaky girls and nasty man dem
The wicked are promoting freaky girls (lesbians) and nasty men (gays)

additional reading on Stop Murder Music from 2010:
Gays Move to Ban Reggae/Dancehall in Germany says the Xtranews where German authorities including a gay MP joined the discourse as reported in the now defunct XNews tabloid.

Peace and tolerance

H

UPDATE March 27.03.12

please see: Sizzla Hits Back At Gay Rights Critics …………..

OHCHR: Discriminatory Laws and Practices & Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on their Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

The United Nations has produced its first ever report on LGBT rights. The UN Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to prepare the report in a resolution in June of this year.

That resolution was led by South Africa and the brave Cameroonian lawyer and LGBT rights defender Alice N’Kom said:

“I am so proud that this breakthrough was initiated by an African country, and that South Africa is standing up for human rights. Not only were they leaders at the United Nations in pushing for the passage of this historic resolution on LGBT rights, they are also setting an example for all African countries and sending a simple message : homophobia is not an African value.”

The pro-LGBT Ugandan Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said:

“They have created an “indaba” – a listening process that is familiar to Africans. They have provided the safety for many thousands of people to open deep wounds again and share their stories, experiences and aspirations.  Their courage is to be commended in the hope the next generation may not have to suffer the indignities of our blood-stained past.”

“This work represents the possibility that we can to learn to respect each other, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  We can learn to forgive each other for our complicity in silence or for acts of violence in word and deed against LGBT people.”

“There is another African tradition whereby the spilling of the blood of another is regarded as a major taboo and should be avoided by all faithful people. The spilling of blood caused by homophobia should become our global taboo. This report is a small step towards new possibilities and hopes.”

The findings of the report are due to be presented and discussed by governments at the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Among its most important recommendations is a call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations between consenting adults. It also notes the particular experiences of lesbians and other women who suffer violence, killings, rape and abuse, often at the hands of family and community. The report includes a call for protection and recognition of the self-identified gender of trans persons.

On refugees and asylum seekers:

  • The UN urges governments to recognize persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for refugee status, and to train asylum adjudicators and government officials to be sensitive to the unique challenges faced by LGBTI refugees.
  • The report recognizes the extreme vulnerability of LGBTI refugees at risk of violence both before they flee their homelands, and during the refugee status determination and resettlement process. It also calls for a more consistent approach for safeguarding the human rights of LGBTI refugees.
  • The report urges governments not to return LGBTI refugees to countries they have fled where their freedom will be threatened because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director of The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said;

“The report is a tribute to all of the activists who have fought for recognition of homophobic violence and transphobic discrimination over decades, often in the face of extreme hostility. It will serve as an invaluable aid to each one of us who seeks to advance LGBT rights – not only at the United Nations but in cities and towns around the world.”

The release of Pillay’s report follows another landmark at the United Nations, which was the 10 December international consultation organised by UNESCO to address bullying against LGBT students in educational institutions. This took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and brought together experts from UN agencies, NGOs, ministries of education and academia from more than 25 countries around the world.

All participants of the consultation agreed on a joint statement. Chinese and African representatives at the event noted the importance of both sharing experience as well as evidence gathering to develop a “solid foundation when approaching schools and policy-makers.”OHCHR: Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on their Sexual Ori…

Former British colonies to consider axing gay laws ……. please vote on the commonwealth reform petition

 Meanwhile take action by voting and sharing on Take Action’s site, here is an excerpt of the letter to your respective political leaders:

http://www.whatspreventingprevention.org/commonwealth-must-reform-laws-to-stop-hiv/

 Your Excellency, HIV remains a serious public health crisis for the Commonwealth, which comprises 30% of the world’s population but over 60% of all people living with HIV. In many Commonwealth countries an effective public health response to HIV is hindered by laws which criminalise and target groups who are particularly vulnerable to HIV. In many Commonwealth countries, populations of sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men and transgender communities have much higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population. People among these communities face significant barriers in accessing HIV programs which arise from discriminatory laws and policies and by laws that criminalise homosexuality; sexual transmission of/exposure to HIV; drug use; and commercial sex work. Women and girls are also highly vulnerable to HIV because of entrenched gender inequalities. Law reform to address the property and inheritance rights of women and girls and to strengthen violence protections can help to reduce HIV vulnerability. These laws must be reformed if the most at-risk populations are to be reached and HIV prevalence in Commonwealth countries reduced. The next meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) takes place in Perth, Western Australia on 28-30 October 2011.

 

 

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Leaders of former British Empire countries that continue to outlaw homosexuality will be asked next week to reverse their bans in a bid to reduce their disproportionately high HIV infection rates, an official said Tuesday.

Leaders of 53 countries will meet in the western Australian city of Perth for three days in the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The meeting’s agenda will include a recommendation to legalise homosexuality, said Michael Kirby, Australia’s representative in the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group.

Of those countries attending, 42 still outlaw homosexuality, including Malaysia, which is prosecuting its opposition leader, and many African and Caribbean countries. Host Australia and Britain itself long ago repealed their own bans on gay sex.

Kirby, an openly gay retired High Court judge, blamed the British influence on former colonies for high rates of HIV-AIDS. Most of these countries outlaw homosexual practices, which the rival French Empire legalised in 1791.

“It’s a very special British problem, and the problem is it makes it very difficult to get messages about HIV out,” Kirby told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

“You need to remove the criminal laws. That is what the Eminent Persons Group is suggesting at the … meeting next week,” he added.

The Malaysia-chaired 11-member advisory group was established at the last summit in 2009 to make recommendations to reform the Commonwealth’s institutions. The representatives express personal views that do not necessarily reflect the views of any government.

Malaysia’s law banning sodomy is the basis for prosecuting opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomising a 26-year-old male former aide. He denies the charge.

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations executive director Rob Lake said the Commonwealth forum represents 30 per cent of the world’s population but more than 60 per cent of HIV-AIDS cases.

He said there is evidence in Africa and elsewhere that laws against homosexuality drive gay men underground and out of reach of sexual health campaigns.

“They create a stigmatising environment in which gay men hide what they do and who they are so they don’t access diagnosis for HIV, treatment or preventative measures” such as condoms, Lake said.

The Australian government forced the repeal of the last state laws against gay sex in 1997.

All countries represented at next week’s forum are former British colonies except for Mozambique and Rwanda.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Former-British-colonies-to-consider-axing-gay-laws#ixzz1bFLQzjQu

We need to speak up against homophobia in music

By V King Macdona

Several concerts by reggae artist Buju Banton were recently cancelled in America, amid controversy over notoriously homophobic lyrics which incite the murder of gay people. The cancellation was brought about following a campaign organised via website change.org. Six hundred and fifty people complained to Live Nation, who own the House of Blues venues where Banton was scheduled to perform next week, and his planned shows were scrapped as a result.

But the fight against anti-gay lyrics in rap and reggae music has been going on for some time and this is simply the latest chapter in a tale involving the blurred boundaries around notions of freedom of expression, the right to express personal opinion through music, and what counts as homophobic hate crime with the potential to influence listeners towards a homophobic set of beliefs. While some lyricists argue that their words have been misconstrued and defend their music, there is no doubt that some artists are effectively committing criminal offences with the abusive content of their songs.

The recent pressure for the cancellation of Buju Banton’s shows was not the first time that action has been taken against performers who use music as a weapon. In 2003, reggae star Bounty Killer was forced to cancel concerts in Birmingham and London after OutRage! gay rights group spoke out in opposition. They wrote a no-holds-barred letter to the Metropolitan police, urging them to arrest Bounty Killer on charges of inciting violence with his lyrics, which advocate the burning, drowning and stoning of gay men. Police then warned the concert venues’ owners that they may be aiding and abetting a criminal offence if the reggae star performed his homophobic lyrics on their premises, and his gigs were duly abandoned. Peter Tatchell, who helped bring about the cancellations said at the time: “Our aim is to make Britain a no-go area for singers who incite violence against gay people and other minorities. We hope this victory will encourage people in other countries to campaign for the cancellation of these singer’s concerts. Hit them in the pocket where it hurts financially. Once they start losing money they’ll soon drop their homophobic lyrics.”

Another successful reggae artist, Beenie Man, who has duetted with Janet Jackson amongst others,has also been accused of verbally abusing gay people with his choice of lyrics. Via his music, he has not only expressed his wish to cut the throats of all gay men, but also suggested hanging lesbians with a piece of rope. A planned UK performance in 2004 was cancelled directly due to his lyrics, after he was prevented from entering the country by police. Beenie Man had also been expected to perform at the MTV Music Video Awards the same year, but was dropped from the line-up of possible acts after protests from anti-homophobia campaigners. Fearing that more cancellations might follow, he issued an apology, which was subsequently dismissed by gay groups as insincere. The Stop Murder Music campaign organised a petition entitled the Reggae Compassionate Act, which Beenie Man allegedly signed, and by doing so agreed to stop writing and performing songs with homophobic content. He was praised for this new stance, but later went back on his word by denying that he had ever made the agreement.

Perhaps the most mainstream rapper in the world, Eminem, has also been criticised in the past for his homophobic lyrics. In a song entitled Criminal on his second album, The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem’s lyrics include: “My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a fag or lez/ Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/ Pants or dress? Hate fags? The answer’s yes”. The fact that much of Eminem’s audience is under the age of 18 has called into question how much influence his words could be having on young people. However the rapper has since appeared on stage with Elton John, apparently to dispel rumours of his homophobia.

Censoring artists is always a controversial act, but campaigns like Stop Murder Music and change.org are crucial in helping to police the actions of lyricists whose words have the potiential to wield a great deal of influence amongst listeners. If a person who homophobically abuses or threatens a gay person in the street can be arrested for it, then it is only right to confront musicians whose homophobic abuse reaches hundreds of thousands of people every day.