Kenya ‘bans’ remix of Macklemore gay rights anthem Same Love
Kenya’s media watchdog has banned a remix of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ 2012 gay rights anthem Same Love.
The song, which was recorded during the campaign for same-sex marriage in Washington State, was a massive hit across the world.
However, it has gone down less well in Kenya – after a music video for an adaptation of the song fell foul of censors.
Kenyan band Art Attack had released a music video earlier this month for their remix, which features images of same-sex couples and pride marchers in the country.
However, the Kenya Film Classification Board denied the video a license for release – banning it because “it does not adhere to the morals of the country”.
According to Kenyan newspaper reports, the Board’s exec Ezekiel Mutua urged the public not to distribute the song, and claimed the producers did not obtain the correct filming license for the video.
He tweeted: “Same Love-Remix’ restricted for violation of the law,KFCB classification guidelines, moral values.
“KFCB is a regulator. We don’t do what’s popular; we do what’s legal and right.”
Art Attack describes the song as “a Kenyan song about same sex rights,gay rights,LGBT struggles,gender equalities,gay struggles and civil liberties for all sexual orientations”.
On YouTube, it includes the disclaimer: “WARNING: This video contains imagery and a message that may be unnecessarily offensive to some.”
Some of the Kenyan commenters on the video called for the band to be arrested, with one writing: “What kind of a man is that who finds another man sexy?”
Homosexuals face up to 14 years in jail in the country. The criminalisation of homosexuality became a big issue in Kenya last year, after a state visit from Barack Obama.
President Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, publicly challenged Kenya’s President Kenyatta on the issue.
Speaking at a joint press conference, President Obama told Kenyatta: “I’ve been consistent all across Africa on this – I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law, and the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
“I say that recognising that there may be people with different religious or cultural beliefs – but the question is how does the state operate, relative to people?
“If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you start treating differently because they’re different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode and bad things happen.”
“When a government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread. As an African-American in the United States, I am painfully aware of the history of what happens when people are treated differently under the law.”
However, President Kenyatta responded: “The fact of the matter is that Kenya and the United States share so many values… but there are some things that we must admit we don’t share.
“It’s very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that what they do not accept. For Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue.”
Anti-gay protesters made repeated attempts to discourage Obama from promoting gay rights during his visit to the country, taking to social media and the streets of Nairobi in an attempt to shut down any discussion on the matter.
A Kenyan political group had also planned to protest Obama’s visit with a 5,000-strong naked protest – however, the march was cancelled after the Kenyan security forces intervened.