Pop diva Beverly Knight has spoken out against the blatant homophobia in a great deal of music from black artists including Beenie Man.
Ms Knight first spoke out against homophobia in 2004 following the death of her friend, the television presenter Tyrone Jameson who died of AIDs.
The pop star has in her own right become an icon of the gay community regularly performing at gay venues including London’s G-A-Y a few weeks ago.
Speaking to the black newspaper, the Voice, she said: “Some people may feel that there’s a certain attitude that has to come with being a reggae fan and that part of that attitude is gay-bashing. I don’t believe that. Reggae is a genre of music – it’s not a lifestyle. I enjoy reggae music. I liked Buju Banton back in the day, I listened to Beenie Man’s Many Moods of Moses, I love great singers like Luciano and John Holt.
“But what I didn’t like was seeing talented artists using their platform to gay-bash. Firstly, it doesn’t make business sense for an artist to do that kind of thing, knowing that British society aims to encourage tolerance.
“And also, I think black people need to remember that whenever they gay-bash, they’re bashing at least ten per cent of their own community. I know a number of young, gay black men who live a lie every day of their lives because they are terrified of the ramifications of just being themselves.
“My friend who died hated the fact that being a black, gay man had to be such a burden for him. So it really breaks my heart to hear talented reggae artists falling into this trap of gay-bashing.”
The human rights activist Peter Tatchell of gay rights group OutRage! welcomed the statement by the pop star: “It’s great that Beverly Knight has expressed her opposition to murder music lyrics that incite the killing of gays and lesbians,” he told PinkNews.co.uk. “Solidarity from black community figures is tremendously important and valued. The black and gay communities should stand shoulder to shoulder against racism and homophobia.”
Mr Tatchell has long campaigned against what he calls “murder music lyrics” which he believes incites the murder of gay men and women.
PinkNews.co.uk is forced to regularly remove offensive posts from its comments section citing lyrics from black artists. “Batty bois fee dead” meaning “kill gay men” is often deleted by editors.