Blazin Squad’ are back, but with a few fundamental changes, PinkNews.co.uk’s James Phillips asks whether the group are really gay friendly or just chasing the pink pound.

Gone are the ten 16-year-old rappers who had previously been criticised for being pioneers of chav culture. Blazin’ squad split in 2005, after three members went off to form Friday Hill, with three more members working on ‘solo material’ whilst the remaining four members consisting of Stuart, Sam, Plat’num and Melo – d now make up the new and revitalised Blazin Squad.

Member changes would appear not to be the only differences made since their last foray into the British chart. We are told this time that Blazin’ Squad are more mature and according to band member Melo-d, the squad now have a ”more vocal” sound, with a greater input into the writing and producing of their material. The new single is certainly more vocal and arguably more camp, without doubt the remix will be playing in a gay club near you soon.

Along with this more vocal sound, the boys are being marketed as more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friendly. This is not to say they were never LGBT friendly before, but lets be honest this was never their staple fan base. After performances at Cardiff Mardi Gras earlier this month and Birmingham’s Nightingales last week it would appear that the boys are certainly attempting to branch out to the ‘gay market’. Yet this raises the question are the boys really LGBT friendly or are they as cynics may suggest simply ‘gay for pay’ searching for that valuable ‘pink pound’?

I was assured by Melo-d that they love performing to their LGBT audience and that they received a great reception both at Cardiff Mardi Gras and at Nightingales. Melo-d did seem perfectly at ease talking to a gay organisation, even telling us the campest CD in his collection (Peter Andre – Flava).

However this attempt to broaden the squads marketable fan base will undoubtedly anger a portion of the LGBT community, whom have become increasingly frustrated with suave marketing tactics designed to convince us that their product is LGBT friendly.

When asked about the recent cancellation of Buju Banton and Beenie man concerts in Bournemouth and Brighton over community protests referring to their outright homophobic lyrics. Band member Melo-d said he believed that it was right these concerts were cancelled due to both areas having large LGBT communities, yet also saying he believed in ”freedom of speech and that people didn’t have to listen”.

Certainly people don’t have to listen, but Melo’d would appear to misunderstand the concerns and worries affecting their sought after audience. These concerts should not have been cancelled because of the local LGBT communities but because of their lyrical incitement to kill gay people, regardless of proximity.

This raises the question as to how much Blazin’ Squad understand the concerns of their sought after gay fan base. Truly gay friendly or chasing the pink pound? The verdict is out for now, we’ll have to wait and see just how far these boys embrace their new gay audience.

Blazin Squad’s new single ”All Night Long” which is not all that bad is released 2nd October.