By Melanie Nathan, April 13, 2015.
A famous Jamaican Reggae artist is begging for a visa so he can come back to the United States. Yes, America is a fine place to make money for recording and performing artists. But should we support hate with our U.S. dollars? As Americans we should be standing behind a denial of such visas, while considering an out and out boycott of Jamaican Reggae, until such time as the murder inducing hate by revered artists stops once and for all. Here is an article by Jamaican born activist Jason Latty, which sheds a critical light on the state of Jamaican Reggae music, often used as a tool of hate. Latty, and others in his situation, who have sought refuge in the United Sates from anti-gay persecution, should feel safe and secure here in the USA, and should not be subjected any further to the very hate that caused them to flee.
Why developing countries should seek to block entry of Reggae Artists who produce and perform hate music
by Jason Latty, April 13, 2015.
In the last thirty years the Jamaican Reggae industry has contributed to the abuse and mistreatment of Jamaican gays and lesbians. There are many examples of hate music productions by artists who envisage winning Grammy awards, making millions. However these hateful songs have been used to incite and actually played by Jamaicans while in the act of committing mob killings, lynching, stoning or mutilating the bodies of their LGBT victims.
This reservoir of hatred has a long list of artists to its credit.
In 2010, the United States Government did the right thing. The visa of some of the main offenders producing the music hate, such as Sizzla, Malvado, Beenie Man, Bounty Killa, Busy Signal, Vybz Kartel, and Jah Cure, were denied. The incarceration of Reggae greats such as Ninja Man and Buju Banton has also been a blow to the hate industry cultivated in Jamaica and exported abroad. However there are concerts still being held in the US by Capleton, yet another artist who has called for discrimination and harm to the LGBTI community.
The effect of music on the psyche of our people has been known for centuries. The message of hatred and the call to kill which has permeated the Jamaican Reggae industry is not just a cause for domestic concern, but it is also an international security risk.
Busy Signal, whose real name is Glendal Gordon and has changed his name to Reanno Gordon is no newcomer to law breaking. In 2012 he was detained in the United Kingdom on charges that he was traveling ‘with questionable travel credentials’ and was deported back to Jamaica. Mr. Gordon was then extradited to the United States where he was tried and convicted on charges relating to cocaine possession.
Busy Signal (Gordon) has crafted such despicable lyrics as “Lu Lu Lu, Nuh Par Wid,…Nuh par wid” – which calls for gays to be chopped, and he explicitly stated that he is at war with the homosexual community. He encourages others to use guns to blow off the heads of homosexuals.
Gordon served his sentence in the United States and was then deported back to Jamaica. He is now calling on the President Obama, of the United States, for help so he can continue spreading his hate -music in the United States.
Bounty Killa whose real name is Rodney Basil Price has been a standard bearer for this type of hate music. Some of Mr. Price’s most notable songs reflecting this issue are: “All out is war,” “Battyman Flex like Sissy,” Bounty, Bulletproof Skin,” “Can’t believe my eyes,” “ Killa is a Killa” and “Mr. Foggarty.”
In December of 2003, Pater Tatchell, an international human rights activist based in the United Kingdom, where hate speech is not protected in the same way as the United States, made this statement:
“…Police warned the concert venues, the White Pearl Club in Birmingham and the Stratford Rex in London, that they may be guilty of aiding and abetting criminal offenses if Bounty Killer performed his hit songs calling for gay people to be burned, drowned, stoned, wiped out and murdered.”
I have seen first hand how harmful this type of murder-music can be to a people and an entire community, which lives in constant fear of reprisal.
According to the Jamaican Star in an article published on April 10, this year, the artists Busy Signal and Bounty Killa are asking for the United States President to intervene and reinstate their US visas.
This in my opinion would be a great risk to the security of the LGBTI population in the United States and would serve to validate the horrendous murders of gays, lesbians and transgender Jamaicans.
As western nations are relatively new to accepting this severely marginalized group, we as activists are fighting hard to ensure that states refrain from passing discriminatory laws against LGBTI people and trying to ensure that hate crimes are prosecuted. The last thing we need is for any hateful visitors calling for the murder and abuse of our citizens too; and of course we should not be supporting this carnage with our dollars.
New York City in recent years has seen a spike in hate crimes and abuse of our LGBT community. One cannot ignore the fact that these songs have a deep impact on people and their lives, no matter where they are. The songs spread misinformation about gays and lesbians endorsing the calls for social inequality and injustice.
If the Reggae community as whole, both in Jamaica and abroad, would like to be taken seriously with musicians able to receive visas to perform abroad, they should ensure that these artists stop producing and selling the music that puts the lives of millions around the world at risk.
Our future, no matter where in the world, lies in the hands and hearts of the children – and youngsters tend to hold artists in high esteem. This destructive hate message conveyed through music, must be prevented from reaching and spreading to our youth.
This type of music just helps to further the decay in society where social justice and discrimination should be our main concern. Jamaica is a hot bed for criminal elements who abuse gays and lesbians for fun. The state sponsored terrorism carried out by the Jamaican police force is endemic. The police have evicted homeless youths living in a sewer in the nation’s capital in the most inhumane way. There is very little outcry from civil societies when these crimes against humanity take place. We cannot allow this environment to flourish. Supporting these Reggae artists in any way is a sure endorsement of their hate.
After losing the war against gays in the U.S.A and EU, it is bad enough that American televangelists have exported their hate to other countries such as those in Africa, the Caribbean and also Russia and now to have this very hate re-imported back into the U.S. is untenable.
Musicians must realize that as human rights defenders, activists and LGBT communities in equality driven nations, we will not stand for the abuse engendered by such music and we will ensure that artists do not profit from the hate that kills. It must be made explicitly clear to these artists that the President of the United States and the U.S. State Department will ignore or refuse them entry until they mend their ways. In fact starting with a public apology, a revocation of all hateful recordings, as well as an undertaking to refrain from such hate may be a good start. It is with this in mind that I am imploring upon President Obama and the U.S. State Department to maintain their strong stand against hate.
Jason Latty is a Jamaican born human rights activist who sought asylum the United States of America after the abuse and persecution he suffered in Jamaica as a result of his sexual orientation. He is the president of Caribbean Alliance For Equality and the Chair of Dwayne’s House Initiative. Jason is currently working on a graduate degree in African American Studies. He considers himself a feminist, a lover of humanity and life.
Article written for OblogdeeOblogda by Jason Latty© 2015.