It seems every time we move away from JFLAG to other issues their stewardship turns up in our faces and all for the wrong reasons, a meeting at the the weekly Open Mic Open Soul dated August 3, 2011 hosted at the Couture Oasis and temporary home of their Non Governmental arm The Underlined Response where Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG was invited alongside AIDSFREEWORLD and the UNAIDS country Representative Pierre Somse to discuss the recent Ad campaign and the other planned activities in coming months. We certainly went with an open mind to hear all the plans as held close to the chests of the powerful but it turned out to be an abysmal show by the organizations JFLAG and AIDSFREEWORLD with its legal representative while stressing is being paid to be such spoke for much of the discussion although he stressed he would not speak on behalf of JFLAG he ended up doing so which at some points became a monologue used to throw stones at critics of the failures like myself and others present. It was a good litmus test for the younger advocates were present to know what to expect in the field especially when one is going against decades of an established dicta-tum that has gone un-critiqued, almost infallible and unfettered by the very community it says it serves.
by Kei Miller
In These Mendacious Times
Court dramas, when they’re good, are always very good. I used to be addicted to L.A. Law while my parents would religiously watch Perry Mason. Nowadays I’ve taken a serious liking to the CBS drama, The Good Wife, and sometimes during the day I watch old episodes of Law and Order.
Over the past few weeks, the Jamaican public has been lucky, for they need not look to the fictional for their dose of nail-biting courtroom drama. The real life Mannat-Dudus Inquiry has been giving everyone enough thrills. The delight of it all is in the banter, the brutal interrogations, the devastating wit of lawyers, the showmanship, the cut and jab. KD Knight (QC no less!) has been especially guilty of pllaying to the crowd. And how they love him! This week when the Prime Minister (who was finally put on the stand) insisted that he wouldn’t answer what he described as a ‘foolish question’, KD retorted that he had pitched it perfectly to the level of his witness. Ouch! That was cutting enough, but the barb that now has everyone in the most wonderful uproar is KD’s politely put insult (again to the prime minister): ‘I am suggesting, sir, that you are a pathologically mendacious person!’
It’s not surprising that the phrase has taken off. For here is what us writers have always known – that most people are able to thoroughly enjoy language even before they fully understand it. I guarantee you this, the majority of Jamaicans had a good belly laugh before wiping away the tears and consulting a dictionary to finally find out what the hell mendacious really meant. Now, one day later, and everyone is using the word! And why not? Jamaicans have always loved those who can ‘talk good’ or who can ‘speechify’. Most would probably love the gift for themselves. If you doubt this, just note the adoration that Rex Nettleford enjoyed in his lifetime, for though the professor was a very, very bright man when he wanted to be, he did have the tendency to waffle on uselessly though always with an impressive vocabulary, understanding that this was enough to appease the masses who would look up to the podium and be utterly numbed by his polysyllabic verbiage, and whisper to each other, ‘lawd, him bright eeeh!’ Or else, you could go further back, to the Tea Parties slaves used to hold, when they would engage in the most hilarious malapropisms – simultaneously a mockery and a homage to the language of their masters.
If I was to hold KD to some sort of grammatical fastidiousness (yes, I too am going for that excess of the silver tongue) I would point out that the word ‘pathologically’ is redundant. ‘Mendacious’ after all suggests, not only a propensity to lie, but to do so habitually; pathology is already part of its meaning. But who gives a hoot? It might not add to the meaning, but it doesn’t detract from it either. And sometimes it’s about so much more than meaning. It’s about how language moves, and how it sounds. So truth be told, I too am laughing. I loved KD’s jibe. And more than that, I love that so many other Jamaicans love it – that in these times, we can delight in this thing that I have always delighted in – Language.
Incidentally, the dictionary offers another brutal quote as an example of the noun mendacity : “Among all the world’s races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not the consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
Another big blow was dealt to the Jamaican GLBTQ community this time in Montego Bay western Jamaica as a controversial police raid involving more than 20 officers some with badge numbers covered happened on Sunday morning of February 20th around 2am at a popular lgbt entertainment spot, this coming on the heels of another mainstream exotic club in Kingston being raided by cops where an exotic dancer was raped by five officers of the law who are sworn to protect and serve. They have since been removed from front line duty while investigations proceed. According to well placed sources the police raided the premises inflicting blows to patrons consisting of drag queens, lesbians, other patrons, displaced and some homeless lgbt persons who are sheltered at the facility and are a part of a private emergency crisis intervention program funded out-of-pocket by the owner/manager of the club. The more than twenty or so mostly males had to beat a hasty retreat while an event was in session. The cops reportedly ransacked sections of the main club, offices and displaced several electrical items including a flat screen television on the main bar area, destroying furniture and other items in the process. The bar was said to have been raided as well where some stock was consumed.
The doors were forcibly removed and kicked off, according to a victim present there were more than 20 officers who arrived in three open back police pickups and a truck all shouting anti homosexual rhetoric and asked for the owner/manager by the alias before unleashing the horror for more than an hour then leaving the premises and attendees in disarray.
At the time of this post no badge numbers or vehicle numbers were available to identify the police personnel.
Several persons had to seek medical attention following the attack and up to the preparation of this post the owner/manager who was not present at the time of the assault was held from Sunday morning at the police station where he went to inquire what had happened, he is to go to court today to apply for bail on charges yet to be made public, apparently there are outstanding charges of other infractions before that were used to justify holding him overnight. The club which opened it’s doors only in the latter part of 2010 was to serve western Jamaica as persons there felt they had to journey too far westwards to central Jamaica and Kingston to get to parties was home to very good events so far and female impersonation shows. According to my sources many of the displaced persons who were beaten and gun butted in some instances were forced into the path of members of the public who were nearby at an event on a parallel road, men reportedly joined in the assault alongside the cops, several of them sustained blows and one popular party person’s face was severely bashed. Fortunately there were some amongst the public who did not support the assault in this latest homophobic incident which has come as a shock to everyone even to the area police as they were aware of the spot they made frequent patrols and had an agreement of sorts with the owner/manager to operate within the confines of the law specifically closing time of 2am or 4am where an extension was sought as the club is not near any residences to breach the Noise Abatement Act, it is surmised the cops came from elsewhere.
Several of the guys tried to run to the nearby hotel but were refused by the management the police arrived after following them, others hid where they could, others were flogged or beating mercilessly with batons. A security guard also alerted the cops to where some of the guys where hiding while the cops handed over several cross dressed persons to members of the public who also participated in the assault. A crowd had gathered who demanded the cops hand over those who they had in their possession at another location most of whom were young scared MSMs who never experienced this harrowing ordeal. The more experienced persons and divas knew what to do and did try to defend themselves by either verbally out maneuver the approaching bad agents or otherwise literally running and dodging the cops between cars and buildings nearby, the trouble with all of this was many of the patrons though from that section of the island were not familiar with the surroundings hence the running in circles with no proper place to hide themselves. The offending officers were also critical of the area police saying they were upholding slackness and battymen in the community.
People vex bad
Meanwhile persons in the community are up in arms as to the reasons for this latest attack, party/club promoter rivalry is said to be the main cause behind this latest problem with the police. Patrons and other party promoters are hell bent on sticking to this reason, the accused promoter/club manager in question is said to be associated with a female cop whose questionable standing is of major concern to many, a party planned in early February on the eastern part of the island also mysteriously found itself shut down even before proceedings could have commenced while another new venue in Kingston also has had problems with unexpected visits by police who use terms such as “the boss sen wi fi lock it dung” (the boss sent us to close the events down). This latest assault is really a shocker as while an event which was not heavily supported was in progress at the rival promoter’s venue it took place leaving many speculating. Patrons have vowed not to ever support this particular promoter’s events anymore in direct protest to the alleged set up. Reports also suggest the cop herself has said she is going to close down the other rival venues while patrons have vowed they would rather take the chance and go to mainstream straight parties instead. There was some agreement between the party promoters earlier in the year following a meeting in which the accused promoter/club manager was present that permanent clubs would take turns hosting events as a form of round robin to accord fairness but this seems to have been broken down leading to the present impasse. The accused promoter/club manager has complained bitterly that they had initially closed their facility located in the north central part of the island to facilitate the Kingston club to open its doors as many patrons do not wish to trek all the way to the former with high gas prices and gate admissions as major deterrents there was even a name and image change in order to attract business by the out-of-town club’s team but it hasn’t seem to bear the desired results, they also complain that the other promoters are unfair and over promote on dates in strong competition leaving their club eventless for long periods. Other long time and new individual lgbt promoters are also up in arms as well, many who were once friends with the accused promoter are taking a different position when it comes down to business. Sad that this internal rivalry maybe the cause of this awful incident and to think lives could have been lost bearing in mind our GLBTQ community does not have a good relationship with the police force despite the noted improvements over the past two or so years. Allegations of threats and counter threats between the parties is also making an untenable situation even more stressing for some. The Kingston promoter allegedly in one instance has been told by the offending officer to dot all his “Is” and cross all his “Ts” when putting event together as he maybe targeted for future shutdowns, probably permanent if he should slip all together.
The cop incidentally is not a member of the lgbt community.
I do believe there is no need for all this violent rivalry in the marketplace in as far as GLBTQ entertainment is concerned has diversified and grown so fast that all promoters and parties involved old and new can survive despite competing for the more available pink dollar. Gone are the days due to fear and other reasons there were only one or two major party promoters or events, the younger GLBTQ cohort is looking for choices and new experiences.
The fallout also for the displaced persons is also evident as many of them had to hit the streets last night until some short-term solution is found. For a member of the community to side with rogue cop(s) to inflict this latest round on the community is just awful.
Let us hope and pray this issue is resolved quickly, the police in the area have asked that reports be filed and photos taken of the damage done to the property and persons if possible as evidence to expedite the investigations.
My concerns go out to my friends in Montego Bay, sorry I couldn’t be there to assist but I am watching this one carefully with a large magnifying glass. I hope JFLAG despite their low performance these days are on to it as well.
Updates to come where available and thanks to my sources for alerting me to this early.
Peace and tolerance
Interestingly there is a proliferation of said stereotypical behaviour by so called straight men who will become violent if even implied as such. Apart from it is not any of their businesses what goes on in the privacy of a room between two consenting adults; we are glaringly hypocritical about sexuality. The fact that it happened in a tenement yard along HWT road would imply that it could be in a low income/garrison community which is considered to be uber gangster and definitely not homo-loving. According to A. Pinnock “the public and bitter denunciations of male homosexuality do not, by themselves, indicate the absence of homosexual practises amongst men.”
She continues to state that “male homosexuality, as a gendered identity appears to be of greater concern in the society rather than the actual practises of same.” This clearly shows that there is no room for the very obvious (public) male homosexuals who it is felt will compromise masculinity and also has as it intentions to destabilize the traditional systems of governance in the society. Therefore homosexuals and their sympathizers must burn in the hell fires which destroyedSodom and Gomorrah, according to Biblical inscription.
Convenience of Religion
Half the people in Jamaica confuse pedophilia with homosexuality; which coupled with religion is a dangerous formula for homosexuals. We tend to violently uphold the passage that is believed to condemn homosexuality, but other biblical laws aren’t so strictly followed for e.g. casual sex between heterosexuals is considered a way of life. This salad bar approach to religious-sanctioned hate crimes is a slap in the face of the Bible I think and further cements the hypocritical stance on sex and sexuality. It is funny that there are as many rum bars as churches along with a myriad of other non – Christian like activities but homosexual gets singled out because “men shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, that is an abomination.” My thing is if there is a list of things not to do, why single out one thing but have tons of reasons why the others are excusable. What about gay Christians? Isn’t love the ‘greatest of these’ to be right with God? Stop using religion as a scapegoat. No “sin” is greater than the other.
Non-productivity of Jamaicans & the preoccupation with peripheral matters
Now if the devil finds work for idle hands then a lot of Jamaicans are working for the devil. With the growing crime rate, the lessening job opportunities, IMF breathing down our necks and the Manatt trial, we really should not have that much time and energy to spend on who one chooses to sleep with. Again, apart from the fact that that is nobody’s business in the first place one would think that people would be more preoccupied with the aforementioned. Homosexuality will not be the ruin of Jamaica. What might do it first is Jamaicans who don’t want to work. What we need to focus on is firstly the antiquated and ridiculous buggery law that really does not specially speak to homosexuality in the first instance (see section 76 of that act). Second, start putting our heads down and find ways to stimulate local productivity especially agriculture. Thirdly, take a long hard look at our family values and how it has reduced to what we see manifesting.
In the end, it is disheartening that who we chose to have sex has taken precedence over basic human needs and rights. In a world where children are abused (90% of the times by heterosexuals), wars are raging in the name of religion, conspiracy theories are not so far fetched and apparently the world is coming to an end in 2012, we here in Jamaica are still up in arms about who we chose to have in our arms.
Identities warped to protect the persons involved but we WERE there folks, another proud moment in our history, photoed are two of the female participants from Jamaica, the males opted not to be photoed and understandably so.
more from the opening ceremony
The Parade of nations setting up to enter the Stadium
Jamaica had a two man and two woman delegation team in this years staging of the games who were sponsored by various sources, the men appeared in combined track and feild races while the women appeared participated in the opening ceremony where a combined choir of nations sang, superstar diva Taylor Dayne performed and the nations paraded.
The other female participant played on a combined women’s football team match.
Thanks for sending in the photos guys so I could highlight this.
Peace and tolerance
When I declare, “I am a beautiful woman,” what image comes to mind? Am I smoothly brown-skinned with a figure 8 frame? Am I thin with a flat stomach? Am I stunning with some extra curves?
What about if I have arms of Kobe Bryant? Or the legs of Usain Bolt? Can I have the jaw line of Barack Obama?
Would I be “woman” enough for you? Perhaps, you wouldn’t call me a woman at all. You’re not alone and I’m not pointing the finger. Womanhood and femininity remain inextricably intertwined causing female masculinity to be outside the norm. Thus, your visual discomfort is expected.
The truth is that I don’t have the characteristics of Bryant, Bolt, or Obama. I probably look like your stereotypical image of a “beautiful” Black woman (with a crazy afro); however, I know women who look the opposite. The need to redefine beauty standards and womanhood goes beyond “liberal” ideology and discussion. It’s about women’s empowerment, self-confidence, and inclusion. It’s about recognizing that not all women, even if solely a minority, have to look like each other. It’s bigger than the discourse of body image and weight in popular culture. This is the need to confront the taboo of female masculinity and pay homage to all the women who have lived outside the standard of beauty for too long. In fact, we should chuck the standard all together.
Female masculinity remains a touchy issue for many women, mainly because it often intersects with hard conversations about gender and sexuality norms. Yet this conversation is necessary and also represents a reflection of the deepest fears about ourselves.
How many of us have felt our bodies were wrong or not good enough? Our breasts too small? Too large? Donks too fat? Or perhaps too flat? Shoulders too broad? Face too hard?
The list goes on . . . but let’s take it to the next level.
Imagine having your womanhood questioned. Picture having your self-identified gender rejected by society. Could you take being criticized for your lack of femininity? Perhaps you’re masculine by choice, but what if it’s simply by nature. Your muscles bulge in all the wrong “woman” places. Your body simply doesn’t curve like that coke bottle. It may be like a large, long plank of wood. Despite all of this, you still bask in being a woman and wish that other women would accept you into this sacred community.
When we look at Caster Semenya, what do we see? Is she “beautiful” in our eyes? Be honest, did we wince when we saw her picture for the first time? Does her intersexuality make us uncomfortable in defining her as a beautiful woman?
Could Serena Williams possibly tone her muscles down a bit so they wouldn’t measure up to some of her boyfriends’? Will she ever be deemed a “beautiful” woman with some of her more masculine features?
What about in terms of fashion? Do we secretly wish that Janelle Monae would put on a dress sometimes? If she wasn’t “cute” and petite, would we put her into the “beautiful” woman category?
Here’s one that will make your brain stir: are transgender women allowed into the sacred space of womanhood even though the majority retain physically masculine characteristics?
Yup, I’m sure that one went over the head. Before you start throwing e-beer bottles, I promise that I’m going somewhere with this.
“Beautiful” women shouldn’t have to be feminine. From the time we were little, we’ve had Barbie dolls with proportioned breasts and butts thrown at us with matching feminine attire and a few too many pink accessories. Not all of our mothers looked like this, nor our grandmothers or our aunts, so why do we continue to support this messaging? I have aunts that haven’t worn a pair of heels in their lives! I couldn’t pay some of my female friends to wear a dress if Oprah’s inheritance was on the line (okay, maybe that’s a bit drastic). On the natural side, how many women do we know who could rival some men in physical stature? By solely promoting femininity as beautiful, what type of message does that deliver about the inclusiveness of womanhood? What are we teaching some of our current young girls about beauty and sisterhood? How are you shaping the definition of womanhood? Are you forcing a make-up bag and dress into the arms of your friend, sister, or daughter?
Whether we are masculine by choice or natural design, there should be a space for our reflections to be beautiful amongst other women. This is not about male acceptance; this is an intrinsic conversation amongst all of us who share this wonderful, yet challenging, experience of being a woman. While beauty starts from within, self-confidence can be propelled through the strong support of sisterhood. Remember the women who uplifted you when you doubted yourself. It is no different here.
The next time you see a masculine woman, tell her that she is beautiful. She’s not pretending to be something she is not. She simply is expressing herself without barriers, pretenses, or femininity.
Another emancipation day flashback post that I want us to look at in terms of tracking the various points of view presented over the years epecially those that are with merit. I particularly was taken by this letter as it seem to have come from an individual with a fair perspective.
What do you think? …
Have a read:
The Editor, Sir:
I believe the Legislature and Government of Jamaica have missed the point on this whole issue of homosexuality. The fact is, the buggery laws are not a shackle for homosexuals who exist in this country and the decriminalising of such acts would have had little consequence on those men who perform sexual acts consensually among themselves.
In reality, these laws don’t make ‘homosexuality’ illegal as, in its broadest sense, homosexuality includes lesbians as well. So, for our prime minister and government who would much rather political expediency than an ‘objective’ discussion on same-sex relations in our nation, the buggery laws shall remain.
Put reasonable laws in place
The gay people of Jamaica do not need the permission of churches, Government or public figures to live our lives and have sex with whom we choose. However, we do want the Government to put its policy where its mouth is and ensure that violent acts against people of different sexual orientation and also other vulnerable members of society, such as the disabled, mentally ill and even people living with HIV and AIDS, are punished to the full extent that law provides.
This should be done with the creation of a hate crimes law which would serve specific penalties for persons accused of harming or murdering people because of their differences, whether perceived or otherwise.
In reality, it only takes an assumption or a suspicion of being homosexual in some Jamaican communities for someone to be attacked and brutalised. Of the many cases that have come to public attention of ‘gay’ men being beaten and even killed, very few have been as a result of these said men being caught in compromising positions. Yet, they are set upon and, in what might seem like sanctioned events, the all too familiar scene unfolds.
And when someone murders a known homosexual, we are tired of hearing the classic gay defence of ‘he tried to rape me’. What of the many lesbians who suffer in silence after being raped by men who believe they can turn them ‘straight’? Why should they suffer because of circumstance?
Of course, the hypocritical ‘religio-political’ mass of this nation will quickly condemn such efforts as protectionism for ‘sinners’ and the morally decadent, yet they would decry general acts of violence in society. So, I ask, what is the distinction?
Aren’t we all just a bunch of sinners being murdered by a bunch of other sinners? Our Government promised protection for all. ‘All’ should include the yet to be acknowledged homosexual men and women of Jamaican society.
I am, etc.,
In an interview on Jamaica’s Nationwide 90 FM radio’s “This Morning” program on January 8, 2010, Mr. David Oscar Marcus, Mr. Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton’s lead attorney said that persons were paid by the authorities to basically commit a crime by inducing Buju’s trusting mentality. He said he believed in Mr. Myrie’s innocence after speaking to Mr. Myrie in a face to face meeting and despite having the video footage of his client’s alleged transgressions sent to him by the Drug Enforcement Agency of which he hasn’t viewed at the time of this exchange.
He said Buju’s spirits were high although he was incarcerated in a low level security lock up in Florida, following yesterdays appearance in court they pled not guilty and a new trial date has been set for March by which time he may miss the Grammy Awards Ceremony as his album “Rasta Got Soul” is nominated in the Reggae category. Seeing he had his visa revoked by the authorities he has no legal status as a citizen so the immigration authorities may not allow him free movement although he can post bond on the criminal court the immigration application may not go through, it is possible he can take up bond and take residence at the Jamaican consulate or his home in Tamarack Florida under possible house arrest. He says Buju is well known and cannot go anywhere or become a flight risk so they ought to consider granting him bond.
On the matter of the perception of “Evil People” setting Mr. Myrie up he, Mr. Marcus, was cautious as he didn’t want to disclose as he said the government was listening implying his phone may be bugged or they were listening the interview, he said persons were paid to catch Buju Banton basically. As to the video footage evidence he said not all the meetings were taped and that “they only taped what they liked “and that his defense would challenge the video evidence. That was funny to me as I don’t know if an agency can just decide what is likeable or not before archiving it, one would have thought all the possible evidence gathered would make their case stronger, why leave out segments if the meetings were so designed to produce a trail?. What was also puzzling was the comments were made in the context of his office having received copies of the alleged footage but not examining them. He was asked if he thought video footage (s)was/were tampered with, he said it hard to tell, he said he was going to have them examined and would take a close look.
He skillfully dodged the question as to his own track record in cases by saying he believed in Buju Banton and he wants to win, he continued by saying he wouldn’t have take the case if he thought Buju Banton was going to cut a deal or rant on someone else charged, the question was posed again with precedence on persons getting off from charges levied by the DEA juxtaposition he answered by saying the federal government wins 90% of its cases and they were going to fight it to be the few that overcome. He again says he doesn’t take cases where he feels he is going to loose. This attorney seems like one of those who take on high profile cases to boost their own careers with very little track record and his inability to justify his own strengths in this interview is telling.
As to the interviewers Ms Naomi Campbell and her male counterpart they weren’t probing enough in my estimation, the “Evil people” comment should have been explored a little more, Mr. Marcus should have been asked to explain what he meant in more detail, was it the Gay community or what as is believed in some circles especially here in Jamaica’s media and entertainment circles not to mention some sections of the public. Fairness is what counts, I feel and the smoke created by this perception needs to be cleared so we can get a better view. This sounds to me like a daily routine of a defense lawyer just doing what he is paid to do, defend as best possible.
Some questions come to mind though for me:
What is meant by “Evil People” setting up Buju Banton?
Why would the DEA go through all that trouble to record footage etc if they weren’t sure of their case?
Do you believe that footage could have been so doctored by the DEA to make the court believe Buju Banton was actually there allegedly tasting the cocaine as is said in Sound bites and newscasts?
Do you feel he will be found guilty in this matter?
Are you satisfied with how the interview was conducted?
Do you think elements within the US gay community really set up Buju Banton?
Do you think Buju Banton was involved in illegal drug activities if ever?
All these questions and doubts have been left in my estimation after hearing this interview, my apologies if the sound quality isn’t all that clear as my streaming facility is not working just now.
Please read and listen carefully folks and form your opinions.
What you think?
Peace & Tolerance
I’m a black man of Jamaican ancestry — who knows, our Kingston roots may be intertwined somewhere in the past — but because I am gay, they say they are at war with me.
They sing lyrics that incite their fans to murder and torture all gay people, even providing specific instructions:
Buju Banton incites listeners to shoot gays in the head, pour acid on us and set us on fire. Beenie Man suggests that his fans “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope” and sings of a new Jamaica, “come to execute all the gays.” Buju suggests killing us with machine guns; Beenie recommends bazookas.
Banton and Beenie Man are both scheduled to perform in Miami’s James L. Knight Center at the ironically titled Reggae “Bash” 2009 on Oct. 31. This Halloween-night concert is a personal affront and a physical threat to people like me. They are bringing their message of hate into my city, and inciting people to violence in my neighborhood. I call on the the city and the Knight Center management to cancel the concert, and for companies to end their sponsorship of the event.
I am not alone in my outrage at the hateful and murderous message of Buju Banton and Beenie Man and their incitement of fans to violence against gays and lesbians. Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee venues have already cancelled the concert, and Toyota of Hollywood has withdrawn its financial support of the event. Nationwide, shows in Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Richmond and Minneapolis have been cancelled.
Unsurprisingly, concert promoters have done two things: downplay the incitement to violence as Banton’s youthful indiscretion and invoke his First Amendment right to free speech. “He was just 15 years old” when he wrote Boom Bye Bye, his first hateful call to violence, they say. “He doesn’t perform it anymore.”
That is simply not true. A Miami Herald reporter posted a video of Buju Banton performing Boom Bye Bye in Miami in 2007. Search the Internet and you’ll see him onstage in a video posted September 2009, screaming: “There is no end to the war between me and the f–gots!”
As for Banton’s right to free speech, I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment. I firmly believe that Buju Banton and Beenie Man have a right to hate whomever they want, and to speak loudly against them, onstage and off.
But they go much further: They publicly advocate murder and other forms of indiscriminate violence against people like me and incite their listeners to commit assault. No venue, public or private, is obligated to provide space for those who use “fighting words” to incite violence.
Speaking out peacefully
It is a sign of deep respect for the First Amendment, not an affront to it, to meet hateful speech with only speech, not threats of violence. And that is what fair-minded Floridians — gay and straight alike — have been doing all across the state. We are speaking out against the dehumanization of people and the murderous message these two dancehall singers continue to spew for profit.
If the concert goes on, you can be certain there will be protesters outside, exercising our First Amendment right to free speech. But we will not be inciting murder or violence against anyone. That would be dead wrong and illegal.
George Byars is a member of Equality Florida. He previously served as development director of the civil rights organization.
An anonymous reader left a new comment on the post “Buju Banton & Beenieman show in Miami faces opposition (see below for original post), thanks very much for the information. H
“During at least some of his concerts, Buju Banton is said to make homophobic comments throughout his performance http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/letters/09/24/inconsistent-decisions-in-the-case-of-mavado/
You can hear Buju say “There is no end to the war between me and faggots” on this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46PASiOjdP4 “BUJU BANTON FIRE BURN BATTY.”
Buju Banton makes no apologies for his calls for the deaths of LGBT people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ8Z0biU_Zw “Elephant Man Buju Banton Shabba Ranks boom bye bye”
In his songs and comments Buju Banton says “gays must die.” He sometimes justifies this using references to religion and the Bible, as Steven L. Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona does on YouTube. (Anderson also wants President Obama dead and you can see that also on YouTube).
What Buju Banton is calling for is a bloodbath against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In his home country of Jamaica, things are very, very difficult for LGBT people and there is much violence http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2009/09/15/comment-consuls-death-thrusts-jamaican-homophobia-into-the-spotlight/
Beenie Man, is also scheduled to perform at Reggae Bash 2009. Beenie Man calls for lesbians to be hanged to death in his song “Han Up Deh.” In the song “Damn,” Beenie Man dreams of a Jamaica where all gays are executed.
Like Buju Banton, Beenie Man signed the Reggae Compassionate Act and then denied it. Copies of their signed RCA forms are on the internet for all to see http://www.petertatchell.net/popmusic/popmusicindex.htm
It is appropriate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to protest this concert, where several performers have called openly and publicly for the deaths of all LGBT people. But shouldn’t anyone who supports the most basic human rights for all be out protesting this concert? Shouldn’t they be calling the sponsors and expressing their outrage? “