New Zealand festival under pressure over homophobic reggae star Beenie Man
Big Day Out, the New Zealand music festival, is under pressure to ban a Jamaican reggae artist from performing at the event.
Beenie Man, real name Anthony Moses Davis, has a number of songs which advocate the murder of lesbians and gays.
Lyrics include “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays”, while another song suggests lesbians should be hanged.
Organisers of the festival say they are trying to confirm that Beenie Man will not perform any anti-gay songs.
They added that the artist had signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act, although UK-based gay group OutRage! say he denied signing it and denounced it.
Gay groups in New Zealand are calling for the invitation to be revoked, while gay Labour MP Charles Chauvel has asked the immigration minister Kate Wilkinson to deny the artist a visa.
Big Day Out’s New Zealand promoter, Campbell Smith told Stuff.co.nz: “The Big Day Out’s core values include those of tolerance and understanding
“We are responding to concerns that Beenie Man’s presence at the event may compromise those values and are directly investigating fears that he will perform material conflicting with our philosophy and his own undertakings pursuant to the RCA.”
In 2006, Beenie Man told The Independent that the true meaning of his lyrics have been misinterpreted due to cultural differences.
He claimed that in Jamaica the word ‘gay’ is synonymous with rape, and that unlike the consensual gay relationships found in England, the only ‘gay’ relationships that exist in Jamaica are young men who are forced into gay sex by poverty.
He claimed that 95 per cent of the young men attending his ‘Beenie Man Foundation for Troubled Youth’ had been sexually molested by older men.
He went on to assert that as a Rastafarian and believer in the Bible, he hates no one, but admitted that the thought of two men together disgusted him.
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