Gov’t Hush Hush On Gay Pressure …As Promoters Forced To Pull Queen Ifrica From Canada Show

Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer

Queen Ifrica

Pressure from the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA), a Canadian gay-rights group, has led to the removal of dancehall/reggae artiste Queen Ifrica from the roster of performers at the Rastafest International Reggae Concert which was held at Downsview Park, Canada, yesterday.

Early last week, a Facebook campaign was launched by the group in an effort to prevent Queen Ifrica from performing at the stage show.

“The campaign was started because we discovered that Queen Ifrica was slated to perform at an event called Rastafest in Toronto. Off the heels of her recent homophobic outburst (at the Grand Gala) days after the death of Dwayne Jones, our members felt disrespected that she would be allowed to perform in our country. It’s a gross double standard on her part, to even travel to Toronto, one of the most diverse countries in the world, to perform for money,” a representative from JAGLA told The Gleaner prior to the show.

Lobby pleased

In a press release to The Sunday Gleaner, the group expressed their support of the move by the promoters to withdraw the entertainer from the line-up.

“This is a welcomed move by the promoters. We have to send a clear message that persons who make comments that jeopardise the well-being of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica will not be welcomed in Canada. We hope that other homophobic persons will use this instance as a reminder that acts that incite hate will have negative consequences. We hope as well that the Government of Jamaica will move swiftly to put in place measures to protect members of the LGBT community,” the release stated.

Efforts to contact Queen Ifrica proved unsuccessful. However, in an earlier interview, when asked about her utterances at the Grand Gala, Queen Ifrica said that she had only expressed what she believed in.

“Like myself, I think they are exercising their right to speak for what they believe in. However, I think it is unfair for them to incriminate me when there is no incrimination there. I simply spoke for what I believed in. They should simply speak from what they believe in but not try to tarnish my character in the process,” she said.

The Government was also hush-hush on the matter, as efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna only returned an emailed response from Sasha-Gay Lewis, the senior communication officer at the Ministry of Youth and Culture, which read, “We have no comment.”

A statement by Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) stated that the group took “note of recent local and international developments subsequent to Queen Ifrica’s performance on August 6, 2013 at the Grand Gala”.

J-FLAG also acknowledged that less explicitly anti-gay music is being produced and broadcast in Jamaica. They believe, however, that dialogue is important in order for a greater understanding about the impact of anti-gay sentiments on the exclusion of and hostility towards LGBT people in Jamaica.

ENDS

also see: Queen Ifrica’s “Freedom of Speech” & advocacy found wanting it is indeed sad that yet again the guardians of the local struggle have become so impervious to the population that another group overseas has had to step in in frustration it seems on the face of it with JFLAG’s stewardship especially after the exclusion of the homeless men from the symposium on homelessness in Kingston on May 17th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia since then many persons have been up in arms about that and have been very critical of the J’s overall advocacy some of whom were once staunch supporters. So pronounced is the discord that JFLAG own staff especially the Programs Manager have been removing themselves from engaging the community on a whole on social media. It is sad that this new group although with good intentions have left us with a black eye and another layer added to the struggle that of the lobby now stifling free speech. Persons overseas who have our interest at heart NEED to take the lead from persons on the ground as there are consequences for such agitations, indeed all public agitations have such and are to be expected but care must be taken and proper communications and strategising be done prior to execution.

ed-cart-sun-25-august2_w452

JFLAG’s initial reaction was what actually set the stage for this latest impasse for all intents and purposes their continued over intellectualized style of crisis communicating has landed us in drama again. The very first sentence in their press release labelled Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel as vitriolic and carrying some anti gay animus; for God’s sake will the J just get direct with the cynical public that they want to convince so much so that Tony Rebel in that ill fated interview on Nationwide Radio where Mr Rebel humiliated the ED of JFLAG Dane Lewis as he asked Dane where did he Tony said any anti gay remarks that were suggesting violence and Mr Lewis could not then came the laughter and ridicule of the use of the words “vitriolic and anti gay animus” and he basically mopped up the floor with the press release and Dane fumble while cleverly forcing Mr Lewis to an apology, however Dane stopped short of a public apology and instead suggested they meet face to face but even that was met with laughter yet again as Mr Rebel suggested meeting in private may have some sexually suggestive undertones. It was that sequence of events it seems that have caused this new Canadian based group to be formed and acting on their own devoid of the real thrust that is the Stop Murder Music Campaign. Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel are in my eyes second tier homo-negative reggae acts and not as vitriolic as labelled by JFLAG landing us with a backlash we may yet to recover from in years to come.

Peace and tolerance

H

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Bounty Killer claims Beenie Man apologized to gays for money

Internationally acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Bounty Killerwon’t let his long-time rival, Beenie Man live down his decision to issue a recent video statement in which he tried to bury the hatchet with gay and lesbian critics who have long bashed his lyrical content.

Beenie Man responded to recent comments from Bounty Killer criticizing his perceived apology while implying that he sold out his beliefs by making this move. The self-professedKing of the Dancehall steadfastly denied apologizing to the homosexual community, insisting that his purpose for the video statement was to ask gay, lesbian critics to stop holding lyrics from his younger years against him. Additionally,Beenie Man took shots at the Alliance leader, claiming thatBounty Killer should have been talking about a performance in Amsterdam in which he claims fans left before the self-proclaimed War Lord took the stage.

However, Bounty Killer refuses to back down; taking to Twitter to refute claims by Beenie Man that Jamaican artistes will see an increase in overseas shows, in part, because of his video statement.

According to Bounty Killer, he would not have done the same thing if put in such a position and that Dancehall music has helped boost Jamaica’s stance on homosexuality; intimating that artistes should not back down from said stance regardless of the possible financial implications.

“Me can’t ever put a dollar over Jamaica and its culture. If it wasn’t for dancehall and its culture I don’t know where or who I’d be today. Mi nuh sorry fi nothing that I said or sang; I am sorry to know it offended anybody but that’s how I see it. My views and beliefs, all I can say is that homosexuals fi stop try ban we shows and dancehall must leave dem alone to God still and let peace reign,” he said.

Most a these artistes nowadays only standing up 4 their careers and income. If Yellow Man, Shabba, Ninja, Super Cat, etc. was doing the same back then, how’d we come to have dancehall to elevate out of the slums. So why today I must sell it out 4 my career or a dollar. Nuh body not doing ntn to preserve the industry that made dem who they are today. All mi can hear a man family affi eat so sell out Jamaica and Dancehall that’s the only way to eat nowadays sell ur soul???

He also implied that Beenie Man’s decision to issue his video statement was motivated by money.

“When since a money control Jamaicans’ morals? Leave the gold and save unuh souls. It no look good,” he said.

According to Bounty Killer, there was no need for his rival to apologize given that in the last two years, Dancehall music has steered clear of violent lyrics against any group.

“What are you apologizing for? You don’t apologize for what you sincerely believe in. You can only regret if it offended or hurt anyone,” he said.

Bounty Killer recently returned from a two and a half week European tour, which he insists went well. He retorted Beenie Man’s position that the stadium in Amsterdam was near empty when he took the stage in Amsterdam and also believes that Dancehall music remains in good shape despite many claims to the contrary.

Potential Kid’s potential cut as communications giant LIME drops artist over offensive lyrics

So as developments unfold a new artist on the scene named Potential Kid who has shot up the charts and on radio and dancehall turntables with his song “A Yah Suh Nice” (It’s Here That’s Nice) which basically describes good vybz in a party or anywhere else for that matter but the offensive section of the song comes where he said before he turns a battyman (gay man) he would rather be a raper (rapist) which appears in the last line in the first verse of the song.

This being a rapist versus being gay choice of sorts has been echoed before by other artists and is not a new phenomenon which suggest a rebellious mode on which dancehall is predicated from its inception. The choice suggest a love for vaginal sex so much that one would break the law, hurt women (as they are deemed submissive and the weaker sex) and thus risk imprisonment as a stripe or mark of being a real man in Jamaica.

The artist was to have appeared on several upcoming LIME sponsored shows and sporting events including the recently concluded boys and girls championships.

Verse 1:
Har breast rub up pon mi teeth like a chicken gravy,
She mek mi feel like a likkle baby.
Har p**sy tight mi think a Madda Mary
A yah suh nice mi tink a God a save mi
And she come inna mi house and she neva fraidi
Panty fly like mi bredda beigie,
Har p**sy pretty like a madda baby, she mek mi feel…
She wine pon mi cocky put mi c*#ky outta socket
Boom pon mi cocky put it back inna di socket
Come in like a door wen mi knock it and mi knock it
Knock it and mi knock it foot a wah mi like har

She si mi Manley and she tek mi Sheara,
Har heart bitter like a Ole Vera, before mi a yuh mi tun a saviour
Before mi tun battyman mi prefah tun a raper (before I turn a gay man I prefer to become a rapist)

In an article in the Gleaner confirmation came after a meeting yesterday with some LGBT advocates, allegedly the artist himself and other representatives led to the company’s decision, the article read: 

Telecommunications company LIME has dropped emerging artiste ‘Potential Kidd’ from a promotion which would involve the artiste performing at a school concert.

In a release issued this evening, LIME said following concern about the content of the unedited version of Kidd’s single Ah Yah So Nice, it decided to facilitate a meeting between the artiste and some people who were troubled by the lyrics.

In a message posted on its social media pages, LIME said, after analyzing the unedited version of the song, it agreed that the lyrics were unacceptable.

“What we would want is for our artistes to express themselves freely but responsibly and we think civil society can play a big role in this regard,” said LIME Jamaica’s Managing Director, Garry Sinclair.

Sinclair also said LIME does not support any idea or sentiment that promotes unlawful or anti-social behaviour against any person in the society.

Potential Kidd has reportedly apologized to persons who may have been offended by the lyrics.

“I do not support violence against women or homosexuals,” he is quoted as saying in a release from LIME.

The development comes shortly after LIME made changes to a ‘Champs’-related campaign which featured Potential Kidd.

ENDS

Frankly there is a element pf hypocrisy to all this as here some local advocates went to this meeting with Lime and the artist yet we (including the very representatives we have since learnt) dance readily to more caustic dancehall acts who have called for our death repeatedly such as Beenieman whose “All Battyman FI Dead” song is still played in the dancehall and several others for example albeit the songs are old but they still get rotation by DJs. Murder music or hints to such by artists do not need the acts to publicly perform them, they still earn from them in a way once they are published and their A&R (artistry and repertoire) manages their rights distribution/earnings which is now being done as a way for artists to earn as the market crunch is being felt as live shows opportunities dry up worldwide outside of pressure from gay rights activitst but economic and musical apetite changes dictate where the industry goes. Artists are finding  ways to earn outside or shows by using the more administrative methods via copyrights etc.

What is also apparent is that LIME and its marketing/promotions division may either not have gone through the material by Potential Kid or did not expect the vigilance on the inclusion on the artist seeing he is the hottest act now in their promotions.

Ironically the song is hugely popular in the gay community as have been other anti gay themed songs or songs with offensive lines in them hitting at homosexual life and even an event recently was titled as the song and drew a large attendance, I did not spin at that one as I was out of service mourning my father’s passing in late February. This is precisely why I only spin house music and vogue femme materials over the last many years.

I know we are going to hear that a young artist is getting a fight from pro-dancehall and anti gay supporters which may very well fuel or re-ignite the cooling temperature of homophobia in Jamaica. Meeting with artists and organizations maybe a start but for me as I have said before artists with anti gay lyrics need to fully recant their offensive materials and pull them from the market and public domain including Youtube and other outlets. Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye for example still gets several hits on Youtube and the song is still available on iTunes seen listed HERE so he does not have to perform the songs live similar to Sizzla’s Nah Apologize is still on Youtube and other outlets for sale as well.

Hit the artists in their pockets where it hurts since the ethical suasion is not forthcoming from them.

Potential Kid is just a new kid on the block the older artists still need to be pressured or convinced that hate music or offensive lyrics are not welcomed no matter how old the tracks are as they have a life of their own via the various platform on which they are hosted and sold for profits.

Peace and tolerance

H

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 …………..

Paul Canning on: Why is Coca-Cola Sponsoring ‘Murder Music’?

A protest against Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of a ‘murder music’ festival in Jamaica has hit a dead end as the company has stopped negotiations with activists.

The group AIDS-Free World, as well as the veteran Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson, have been talking to them since ‘murder music’ was performed during the four day Coke Zero Live concert in Montego Bay, Jamaica in late April 2011.

‘Murder music’ promotes violence against LGBT people through its lyrics. It primarily comes from certain dancehall and reggae artists such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Sizzla and Capleton. There has been a campaign against it since the 1990s, which has won important victories.

At the Coke Zero Live event, Sizzla performed the notorious hate anthem ‘Boom Bye Bye‘ which literally calls for the murder of homosexuals (Here is the video; Sizzla performance begins at 13.55). Sizzla is unable to find performance venues in either the UK or USA because of his reputation. In 2004, he was among a group of artists who were being investigated by Scotland Yard for allegedly inciting murder of homosexuals through their lyrics.

Tomlinson says that there is at least one documented instance in Jamaica where ‘Boom Bye Bye’ was directly linked to the murder of a gay man.

AIDS-Free World has now written to Steve Bucherati, Coca-Cola’s Chief Diversity Officer, accusing them of engaging in a “protracted but unproductive written and phone communication.”

“It is inconceivable to us that you have utterly failed to respond to our efforts to focus your attention on Coca-Cola’s indefensible sponsorship decision,” they write.

“Our patience has run out.”

Bucherati had claimed, says Tomlinson, that the company’s local staff were are not aware of Sizzla’s global reputation for inciting the torture and execution of homosexuals. He also claimed to have submitted a letter of apology to regional Jamaican newspapers, which was never published.

Bucherati, says Tomlinson, promised to submit an article to all Jamaican newspapers once the sponsorship policy review was completed, apologizing for the Sizzla concert and announcing a new corporate policy.

“The Coca-Cola Company’s sponsorship of any murder music is inexplicable. Your subsequent failure to act immediately to ensure that Coca-Cola disavowed the sort of public frenzy of homophobia whipped up by Sizzla cannot be excused,” they say.

“Months ago, you assured us that Coca-Cola had suspended all concert sponsorships in Jamaica, and had in fact undertaken a worldwide review of its sponsorship policies in all of its global markets so as to avoid another incident like the Sizzla debacle. However, you failed to commit to a timeline for this alleged sponsorship policy review, and gave us no way to gauge the review’s progress, if any has been made.”

Coca-Cola, says the letter, “has the resources and capacity to initiate and complete projects with great speed, provided that it considers them important.”

In September, Coca Cola’s CEO, Muhtar Kentwas honored at the Clinton Global Initiative for being among the first to join the 10-year-old Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (now known as GBC Health).

Says AIDS-Free World:

“Coca -Cola hasn’t just fallen short of the voluntary corporate social responsibility ideals to which the company has committed itself under the UN Global Compact; Coca-Cola’s actions have affirmatively produced damage … Until Coca-Cola takes the lead in denouncing homophobia, and takes decisive and public action in remedy, the public will be left with the impression that The Coca-Cola Company endorses violence, human rights violations, and homophobia.”

This is what Coca-Cola is being asked to do:

1. Publish a full-page advertisement in the Sunday edition of the three major Jamaican newspapers (the Jamaica Gleaner, the Jamaica Observer and the Sunday Herald) as well as a full-page advertisement in the Western Mirror denouncing Sizzla’s homophobic performance and expressing support for sexual diversity;

2. Issue a formal statement explaining that it will no longer sponsor artists who are known to have performed and refuse to apologize for homophobic songs;

3. Include a clause in all future sponsorship agreements prohibiting homophobic speech or actions against performers, and in the event of a breach, specifying sanctions, including a termination of the sponsorship arrangement; and

4. Sponsor a concert in Jamaica devoted entirely to artists who have not engaged in homophobic slurs, and that specific condition would be the centerpiece of the advertising for the concert.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-is-coca-cola-sponsoring-murder-music.html#ixzz1afh5PVIB

UPDATE October 17 – directly on this blog this apology came from a representative:

This is Carlos from Coca-Cola. We, too, were deeply disappointed that a program intended to celebrate the heritage of Jamaica included an unacceptable performance that in no way represents the views or values of the Coca-Cola system.

Diversity is one of our key values, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on sexual orientation.

As a result of this regrettable incident by one artist, we are reassessing and strengthening our efforts to ensure that events we sponsor are not used as platforms for espousing hatred and discrimination. We are continuing to work with the advocacy groups that brought this situation to our attention.

We apologize to all who were offended by this performance, and we we want to ensure that our views on this incident are clear.

Carlos Diaz
Coca-Cola Caribbean

Update October 19 – the same representative wrote the Gleaner’s editor

Coke Sorry For Anti-Gay Lyrics

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In response to complaints about the performance of anti-gay lyrics at the Coke Zero ‘Live on the Waterfront’ music event held in April, I would like to express our disappointment that a programme intended to celebrate the heritage of Jamaica included an unacceptable performance that in no way represents the views or values of the Coca-Cola system.

Diversity is one of our key values, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on sexual orientation.

As a result of this regrettable incident, we are reassessing and strengthening our efforts to ensure that events we sponsor are not used as platforms for espousing hatred and discrimination.

We are continuing to work with the advocacy groups that brought this situation to our attention. We apologise to all who were offended by this performance.

CARLOS DIAZ

Coca-Cola Franchise

Operations Director – South

Caribbean

 

 

Buju Banton’s guilty verdict … now everyone has sum’n fi seh

So as the reactions continue to come in days after the verdict was given in Buju Banton’s second trial for his narcotics case for cocaine in Tampa Florida, interestingly many of these voices were noticeably missing during the early days of Mr. Myries’ case even during the mistrial of the first instance where there was a hung jury we heard nothing now all of a sudden everybody talking, one wonders if it is to get mileage due to the feeling he Buju was supposedly set up by the gays which is an impossibility in and of itself when the very investigating agency the DEA Drug Enforcement Agency nuh tek talk from others worse yet minority groups such as the lgbt activists. We know that the agency has some Christian conservative leanings so that wouldn’t make it fi gays fi infiltrate.

Here are the two latest additions to the rant as carried by the Jamaica Observer today February 27th. Sizzla and Queen Ifrica, Sizzla of course is no stranger to his own share of problems with the Stop Murder Music Campaigns in Europe, The UK and the USA with his songs attacking homosexuality. Meanwhile Queen Ifrica “fish song” also took a hit at the supposed stigmas and perceptions of gay male life. Check out this post from GLBTQ Jamaica on “Keep it to Yuself Mentality”

Also see: Dancehall Community Mum from Buju’s woes began

Steven Jackson wrote in the Observer:

ON THE BUJU VERDICT – Sizzla, Ifrica comment on the deejay’s incarceration

DEEJAYS Sizzla and Queen Ifrica have expressed divergent views on the guilty verdict of reggae star Buju Banton. Sizzla has called for Banton’s release from ‘Babylon’ whilst Ifrica has warned wayward artistes to take heed.

“Free Buju Banton, burn up di wicked and trod a Mount Zion/ Red yuh nah ready and mi tuff like iron,” sang Sizzla in an adaptation of Trod Mount Zion at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Black History concert series on Thursday morning in Kingston.

.Deejays eager for crowd response now toast Banton similar to the Free Jah Cure slogan in the mid-2000s.

“Buju Banton, they just can’t stop you now, even though they set their traps they just can’t stop you now,” was another Sizzla adaptation.

Sizzla referenced Banton five times during his 45-minute set which included 24 songs: Holding Firm, Git it Right Here, Mash Dem Down, Trod Mount Zion, Simplicity, Why Should I, Praise Jah, Guide Over Us, Good Ways, Words of Divine, Woman I Need You, Thank You Mama, Can’t Keep a Good Man Down, Dry Cry, All the Best There Is, Get to the Point, Karate, So Lovely, No Way, Pump Up, Give Me a Try, Be Strong, Black Woman and Child and Take Myself Away.

“If yuh love Buju Banton seh Gargamel,” stated Sizzla whose empathy for Banton runs deep. In 2005, Sizzla was one of 33 persons arrested — but never charged — following a police find of six AK47 rifles, three sniper rifles, one M16 assault rifle, two shot guns, one Intratech 9 submachine gun, 23 AK47 rounds of ammunition, 31 rounds of 9mm rounds, four M16 rounds, two bullet-proof vests, 11 assorted magazines, and a silencer buried in a bag in a chicken coop at Judgment Yard — a Rastafari compound to which Sizzla is affiliated.

Queen Ifrica alluded to Banton in her commentary and the crowd howled at the inference.

“It’s a lesson to us all, look before you leap,” stated Queen Ifrica mid-song she later added: “When you see an artiste behaviour stray, tell them to stop it before it’s too late, if you see them a do wrong, save them from the atrocities.”

Banton was found guilty on three charges by a 12-member panel of jurors at the United States Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa. The artiste was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. However, he was found not guilty of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The artiste hugged his lawyer David Markus when the verdict was read. Many of the artiste’s supporters left the courtroom crying.

On February 13, one day before the start of his second trial, Banton, born Mark Myrie, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for the project, Before the Dawn. A US industry accolade for the artiste plagued by cancellations of the tour to support his previous release, Rasta Got Soul. Buju Banton said the win signified that his music was being played and understood by those in the US.

Boom bye bye? (Observer Editorial)

WE share the immense feeling of disappointment and pain that has met the sad pass to which Mr Mark Anthony Myrie — ‘Buju Banton’ to his legion of fans — came Tuesday in a Tampa, Florida court.

Through his first trial, and the second, we had hoped that the gun and drugs charges against him would have been proven false, and we desperately wanted to believe that his boastful talk about drugs was just him running off at the mouth and nothing else. Clearly, the 12-man American jury felt otherwise.

The artiste was found guilty of three charges — conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence, and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. He was found not guilty of a fourth charge — attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

We are in wonderment at the complexities of fate, that Buju Banton should be so brought low at the height of his musical career, his moment of triumph winning the coveted Grammy Award for his Before The Dawn album, from which some creative soul at the Observer quoted on the front page of yesterday’s edition.

Banton means much to reggae as a musical genre. The ‘Gargamel’ as he is also fondly called, had often been spoken of in the league of artistes named to bear the standard after the late great Jamaican reggae superstar, Mr Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley. His charisma, articulation, stage presence and penchant for hit-making songs, have endeared him to many here and overseas.

This has added to the pain of his guilty verdict in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court where supporters wept openly.

Of course, not everyone is in tears. It is widely known that Buju Banton was regarded as the arch-enemy of gays and lesbians, following the release 15 years ago of his song, Boom Bye Bye, which is treated by the gay community as the anthem of the perceived campaign by reggae artistes to advocate violence against them.

The gay community, led by a radical group calling itself Outrage! has staged protests against Banton and several other Jamaican artistes, some of whom have since been refused American visas.

It is difficult to convince some Jamaicans that the gay community is not behind the alleged entrapment and eventual conviction of Buju Banton.

If any good can come of this bad situation, we hope that its important lessons will be learnt. Mr Myrie, after all, admitted what was caught on tape, that he “talked the talk” about drug dealing to someone who turned out to be an informant and he tasted a white substance said to be cocaine. Even if all that was done in innocence, juries are not mind-readers and they look at the evidence presented to them.

Drug dealing has wreaked havoc in this world, particularly in the United States where they go aggressively after suspected dealers. If you have no intention to become involved in the drug trade, stay away from people who are. And especially do not brag about something as serious and dangerous as drugs.

We sincerely hope that Mr Myrie will win his appeal, if he follows through on what is not going to be an easy road. Otherwise, we hope that his sentence would not be too onerous and that he will return to Jamaica to continue to thrill his fans.

Too bad for what has happened, but it certainly is not the end of the road.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Boom-bye-bye_8423522#ixzz1EsyZqsQk

Also see:

Bustamante and Buju Banton

By his own account, national hero Sir William Alexander Bustamante was born on February 24, 1884, which would be 127 years ago today. He died on August 6, 1977 at the age of 93. This national hero who was Jamaica’s first prime minister in political independence was decorated with British, Jamaican and other honours, and is arguably the most decorated Jamaican in history.

Two days ago, Mark Myrie who goes by the stage name “Buju Banton” was found guilty in Florida, USA, of dealing in cocaine. Is he really guilty or has he been framed? I do not know, but in any case it is another sad episode in the life of a popular entertainer. In the now defunct Jamaica Herald, on November 2 1992, some 18 years, three months and three weeks ago, my column was entitled, “From Busta to Buju”. At the time, it was in the news that Buju Banton’s song Boom bye-bye was causing a furore in the powerful gay communities in North America and Europe. It all happened when someone translated the lyrics into the sort of English that would be understood in North America.

(Left) BUSTAMANTE… most decorated Jamaican in history. (at Right) BANTON… didn’t seem to learn from earlier experience

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Bustamante-and-Buju-Banton_8419470#ixzz1Et06Sbmx

Also please see Caribbean Law TV’s interview with Professor David P. Rowe following the guilty verdict in the second trial of Buju Banton’s narcotics case. CLTV talked to Professor Rowe about the federal government’s process in bringing its second case, the way the defense made its arguments and the substance of the verdict.

Also see Barbara Gloudon’s opinion piece that appeared in the Jamaica Observer and posted on Gay Jamaica Watch –

Barbara Gloudon: “It isn’t the gays who’ve sent him to prison, despite all the Boom-Bye-Bye controversy. It wasn’t because he’s a black man from Ja”

As taken from the transcripts themselves in the conversation between himself and the informant (Buju didn’t know it at the time) he seems clearly interested in doing business, get the full 62 paged document here:http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf he referred to snitches and that he didn’t event trust the privacy of the very conversation he was having then with the man named CS.

Peace and tolerance

H

 

Buju Speaks says the Gleaner …. is he serious?

TAMPA, Florida (AP):

The chatty man drinking red wine with reggae star Buju Banton on a flight from Madrid, Spain, to Miami in the United States seemed to have important music industry connections so, the singer told a court in Tampa, Florida, yesterday, he tried to impress with made-up ambitions of drug trafficking when the talk turned to cocaine.

Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was giving testimony in a Tampa federal court where he is facing charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and aiding and abetting two others in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution. He faces up to life in prison.

The man, Alexander Johnson, was an undercover United States government informant. Buju said he liked Johnson, but he was only looking to secure a new distribution contract – not a cocaine deal.

“I’m just a humble musician. I was talking over my head,” the four-time Grammy-nominated musician declared. “I was trying to impress this guy and that’s what got me in this hot seat right now.”

Johnson has testified that Buju admitted involvement in drug trafficking, and he wanted to give Johnson money so he could buy and sell cocaine. Their recorded conversations were played Tuesday for the jury.

Made-up ambitions

The 37-year-old Rastafarian took the stand yesterday in a grey suit jacket, his long dreadlocks tied up in a braid. He said Johnson initiated their conversation about drugs on the plane in July 2009.

Buju said he made up ambitions to deal cocaine to one-up Johnson, who was talking about cocaine and marijuana deals of his own, alongside a legitimate seafood business and music industry contacts in Los Angeles.

Talk of cocaine

When they met for lunch at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant the next day and at a hotel a few days later, it was Johnson who brought up cocaine, Buju said.

Buju said he never wanted nor expected Johnson to set up a cocaine deal, despite what he said in the recordings. The singer had told Johnson that he financed drug deals, wanted to sell drugs in Europe, buy drugs from the Caribbean and South America and use Johnson’s boat to transport drugs.

“I talk too much, but I am not a drug dealer,” Buju told the court.

Buju said he was surprised when the informant presented him with cocaine at an undercover police warehouse in Sarasota on December 8. Surveillance video shows Buju peering over co-defendant Ian Thomas’ shoulder at the cocaine, and the singer tasting the drugs with a finger.

The singer said he thought Johnson was going to show him his boat and offices.

“When I realised this was real drugs, I thought, ‘This is a real drug dealer, and I want no part of it’,” Buju said. “I was in over my head.”

Under cross-examination yesterday by Markus, Johnson said the cocaine was a “surprise showing”.

Pursued deal

Johnson said he continued to pursue a cocaine deal with Banton, even though the singer repeatedly cancelled meetings and rushed him off the phone, if he answered Johnson’s calls at all.

“I needed him to come to me,” Johnson said. “I was doing the job I was doing from day one.”

Buju said he avoided Johnson’s calls afterward, and he did not know Thomas would try to set up a drug deal with Johnson on December 10.

That day, Thomas and another co-defendant, James Mack, were arrested at the warehouse. Buju was arrested at his Miami-area home.

Thomas and Mack have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Each faces up to life in prison.

Assistant US Attorney James Preston asked Buju what he thought he would gain by lying about his involvement in drug trafficking.

“I know you want to paint me bad,” Buju replied. “If I was a drug dealer, I would have taken the plea deal you offered me.”

Another reggae singer testified yesterday for Banton.

Stephen Marley, one of music legend Bob Marley’s sons, told jurors that in the 19 years he has been friends and played music with Buju, he has never known him to traffic in cocaine.

Tjenbé Rèd Responds to Blog on Sizzla’s cancellations and the SMM

Release No. TR10INT11E

Paris, Monday 30 August 2010

Dear Brothers,

Tjenbé Rèd, the Afro-Caribbean association for the struggle against all forms of racism, homophobia and AIDS, has noticed with a certain amount of sadness the entry published on Thursday on your Reggae-Unité Blog, entitled «Sizzla’s concert at l’Élysée Montmartre [Paris] threatened again». In fact, several of the comments put forward in this entry do not correspond to any of our observations or declarations.

It is therefore claimed: «Following the recent concert cancellations in Belgium and France, we have just learned that Sizzla will longer participate in the Chiemsee Reggae Summer festival in Germany for the same reasons». What «reasons»? Nothing explains it in the blog entry, if not the text which follows. «This situation is not about to stop as the person responsible (?) in the association [Tjenbé Rèd] has just announced that his association will also take action to get the Sizzla concerts due for 23 September in Montpellier [France] and on 24 September at l’Élysée Montmartre [Paris]». You need therefore to read between the lines to understand that the international Stop Murder Music (SMM) campaign, of which Tjenbé Rèd is the co-ordinator in France, is supposed to be at the root of «recent concert cancellations in Belgium and France» and «in Germany».

This corresponds neither to our observations nor to our declarations.

According to the information we have, only two of Sizzla’s concerts have recently been cancelled – at Palavàs-les-Flots in France (21 August) and at Messancy in Belgium (25 August). What is more, there is no proof that these concerts were cancelled because of the SMM campaign. We have already observed that the followers of this artist often provide explanations for some concert cancellations that are hardly credible. So, in May 2008, they had accused the SMM of being responsible for the cancellation of several concerts, while the more trite explanation was that he had been turned away at the frontier because of problems with his visa. Again, in February 2010 the Reggae.fr site announced the cancellations on new concerts, mentioning «his recent arrest in Jamaica for firing off gunshots», while Reggaefrance.com announced the following day that he was at the birthday party of Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe (equally notorious for homophobic and racists comments).

Furthermore, we have not asked for the cancellation of these two concerts. In several communications which we have signed or co-signed, (on 2 February, 1 March, 15 April, then on 5, 19, 21, 23 and 28 August, just to talk about this current year), we have simply informed the general public of the calls for murder issued by the artist in question and we have called for democratic action to respect human rights.

One might be astonished that you pass over in silence these calls for murder. Let us quote from the text as the remarks of great men are always edifying. «Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom» («Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom», from Pump Up, 2001); «Boom boom! Batty boy them fi dead» («Boom boom![as in gunshots] Queers must be killed», from Boom Boom, 2004); «Sodomite and batty bwai mi seh a death fi dem… Mi a go shot batty bwai dem widdi weapon ya» («Sodomite and queers, I say death to them… I go and shoot queers with a weapon», from Get To Da Point, 2001). In Chicago, 2002, Sizzla declared: «Mi nuh go tek back mi chat… Mi kill sodomite and batty man dem bring aids and disease pon people… Shot a kill dem, mi nuh go tek back mi chat [I wont take back my words… I kill sodomites and queers, they bring AIDS and disease upon people… Shoot and kill them, I won’t take back my words]».

An Amnesty International report describes a concert held in 2004 in the following terms: «Throughout the night, Capleton, Sizzla and others sang almost exclusively about gay men. Using the derogatory terms for gay men – ‘chi chi men’ or ‘battybwoys’ – they urged the audience to ‘kill dem, battybwoys haffi dead, gun shots pon dem. Who want to see dem dead, put up his hand’ [kill them, queers have got to die, gun shots in their head, whoever wants to see them dead, put up your hand]

We hope these details will be able to clear up some misunderstanding. We are always at your disposal for any further information.

One love!

For Tjenbé Rèd (Afro-Caribbean association for the struggle against all forms of homophobia, racism and AIDS)

Chair, David AUERBACH CHIFFRIN

+33 6 10 55 63 60 (France) | +596 6 96 05 24 55 (West Indies)

Fax: +33 1 76 50 59 79 | contact@tjenbered.fr

20100713-82

[3] 13 juillet 2010 – Photographies de la manifestation de Tjenbé Rèd lors de la venue de Capleton à l’Élysée Montmartre à Paris

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100713-99.html

[2] 26 août 2010 – Le concert de Sizzla à l’Élysée Montmartre encore menacé !!! (Reggae-Unité Blog)

http://reggaeunite.blogspot.com/2010/08/nu-roots-news-aout-2010_26.html

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100826-99.pdf

[1E] 28 August 2010 – Stop Murder Music Campaign: Concert by homophobic singer Sizzla cancelled in Belgium – Press release No. TR101NT11E

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100828-09.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100828-00.pdf [fr]

http://blogs.tetu.com/outre_mers_et_pairs/2010/08/29/sizzla-2/ [fr]

http://www.lepost.fr/ [fr]

[1D] 23 August 2010 – Right of reply to «Midi Libre» following its article of 18 august 2010 on Sizzla and the «gay lobbies» – Press release No. TR10INT11D

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100823-09.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100823-00.pdf [fr]

http://www.heterhomo.org/Concert-de-Sizzla-Tjenbe-Red [fr]

http://www.pinkphenix.com/ [fr]

[1C] 21 août 2010 – Campagne Stop Murder Music – Sizzla à Montpellier : «Butte les pédés, mon flingue va tirer» ?! – Communiqué de presse n°TR10INT11C

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100821-00.pdf

[1B] 19 August 2010 – Stop Murder Music Campaign: Concert by homophobic singer Sizzla cancelled – Joint press release from Tjenbé Rèd, OutRage! and Couleurs gaies (Metz LGBT Centre) – Press release No. TR10INT11B

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100819-09.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100819-00.pdf [fr]

[1A] 5 August 2010 – Stop Murder Music Campain – Sizzla in France: «Shoot queers»?! (Signatories send out an alert to human rights organisations in Languedoc-Roussillon) – Joint press release from OutRage! (London), Tjenbé Rèd, Girofard (Bordeaux LGBT Centre), Couleurs gaies (Metz LGBT Centre) – Press release No. TR10INT11

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-09.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-00.pdf [fr]

English translation of this French original text. In the event of any differences between the English translation and the French original, the French text shall prevail. Translated by T. E.

30 août 2010 – Campagne Stop Murder Music : Réponse aux frères du blog Reggae-Unité au sujet du concert de Sizzla à l’Élysée Montmartre – Communication n°TR10INT11F

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100830-00.pdf [fr]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100830-09.pdf [en]

http://blogs.tetu.com/outre_mers_et_pairs/2010/09/01/sizzla-3/ [fr]

http://www.lepost.fr/ [fr]

Sizzla Cancelled in Belgium

Press release No. TR101NT11E

Paris, Saturday 28 August 2010

SIZZLA was scheduled to appear on 25 August at RIDER’S PARK in Massancy, Belgium. [1] We have learned today that this concert has been cancelled, though it is not possible to say whether this was down to the STOP MURDER MUSIC (SMM) CAMPAIGN, or to one of this Jamaican Reggae Dancehall singer’s customary set-backs.

As in May 2008, when his people had in like manner accused the SMM CAMPAIGN of being responsible for the cancellation of several concerts (the more trite explanation was that he had been refused entry at the frontiers because of a problem with his visa)… As in February 2010, when the Reggae.fr website annouced the cancellation of some more concerts, mentioning «his recent arrest in Jamaica for guns being shot» (while, the following day, Reggaefrance.com said he was at the birthday party of Robert MUGABE, president of Zimbabwe, someone equally notorious for homophobic and racist comments)…

For the record, SIZZLA called in 1998 for people to «burn all white people». 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 execuses for buggers»).

SIZZLA is still scheduled to appear at FESTI PLAISIR, rue Fontaine-de-la-Banquière at Montpellier (South of France), on Thursday 23 September at 20:00hrs, as well as at the ÉLYSÉE MONTMARTRE, Paris, Friday 24 September 2010 at 19:00hrs (remember, this hall happened to have hosted the Que Fuerte Paris Gaypride Party on Saturday 26 June). TJENBÉ RÈD calls once again for the human rights organisations in Montpellier and Paris to go into action.

For Tjenbé Rèd (Afro-Caribbean association for the struggle against all forms of homophobia, racism and AIDS)

Chair, David AUERBACH CHIFFRIN

+33 6 10 55 63 60 (France) | +596 6 96 05 24 55 (West Indies)

Fax: +33 1 76 50 59 79 | contact@tjenbered.fr

[0] 13 juillet 2010 – Photographies de la manifestation de Tjenbé Rèd lors de la venue de Capleton à l’Élysée Montmartre à Paris

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100713-99.html

[1] 19 août 2010 – 25/08 Sizzla & Firehouse Crew at Riders Park – Messancy(Reggaefrance.com)

http://forum.reggaefrance.com/sizzla-firehouse-crew-riders-park-messancy-t54852-15.html

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100819-89.pdf

[2A] 23 August 2010 – Right of reply to «Midi Libre» following its article of 18 august 2010 on Sizzla and the «gay lobbies» – Press release No. TR10INT11B

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100823-09.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100823-00.pdf [fr]

http://www.heterhomo.org/Concert-de-Sizzla-Tjenbe-Red [fr]

http://www.pinkphenix.com/ [fr]

[2B] 15 April 2010 – Stop Murder Music: Tjenbé Rèd welcomes action in Strasburg and Lille in confronting Sizzla. – Press release No. TR10SOC05C

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100415-05.pdf [en]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100415-00.pdf [fr]

[2C] 1 March 2010 – Report on activities undertaken with other associations in February 2010, in the context of the Stop Murder Music campaign, on the subject of Sizzla’s arrival in France – Release n°TR10SOC05B

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100301-69.pdf [fr|en]

English translation of this French original text. In the event of any differences between the English translation and the French original, the French text shall prevail. Translated by T. E.

28 août 2010 – Campagne Stop Murder Music : Un concert du chanteur homophobe Sizzla annulé en Belgique – Communiqué de presse n°TR10INT11E

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100828-00.pdf [fr]

http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100828-09.pdf [en]

http://blogs.tetu.com/outre_mers_et_pairs/2010/08/29/sizzla-2/ [fr]

http://www.lepost.fr/ [fr]