Caribbean gays reject Beenie Man

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The organisers of the current Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournament in the Caribbean have been urged to drop dancehall music star, Beenie Man, as the singer of the official tournament anthem because of his homophobic lyrics.

The call comes from C-FLAG, the Caribbean Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays.

It wants a worldwide boycott of all artists who promote hatred and violence against people because of their sexual orientation.

A letter protesting against Beenie Man has been sent to the 20/20 organisers by C-FLAG. It is endorsed by C-FLAG chapters and associated organisations in 15 Caribbean countries.

It said: “C-FLAG is greatly disturbed by the decision to make notoriously homophobic dancehall artiste Beenie Man one of the performers of the official anthem of the Stanford 20/20 Tournament.”

C-FLAG’s objections are endorsed by the UK-based gay human rights group OutRage!, which has long worked in solidarity with the Caribbean lesbian and gay rights movement.

“We support C-FLAG’s campaign,” said David Allison of OutRage! “Beenie Man is an unreconstructed homophobe. He has never expressed a word of regret for his lyrics advocating the murder of gays and lesbians. Indeed, he has proudly boasted that he will not apologise and has continued to perform songs urging the killing of queers. It is totally

inappropriate that he should be the musical voice of the 20/20 cricket series.”

“The tournament is sponsored by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford – owner of Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun Airlines – and organised by Kelly Holding Ltd,” continued the C-FLAG statement.

“According to a Stanford 20/20 press release, the song will be played on radio stations across the Caribbean region and at every match during the tournament.

“Stanford 20/20 is being promoted as unifying the Caribbean and being the new vision for West Indies cricket, yet the decision to select Beenie Man will be extremely detrimental, given the singer’s history of promoting intolerance and violence against lesbians and gays in his musical lyrics.

“Promoting Beenie Man also poses a threat to the great reputation of West Indies cricket, which will be eroded internationally by Beenie Man’s ill-repute for inciting hate and disunity on the basis of sexual identity.

“According to Stanford 20/0 promotional materials, several Caribbean cricketing legends have given their support to Beenie Man’s involvement in the project.

“C-FLAG believes artistes chosen for such an instrumental purpose should not only possess talent in their particular musical genre but also have an untarnished track record of promoting non-violence, tolerance, respect and love for all, regardless of sexual identity, race, creed etc.

“There are many other talented dancehall artistes who embody these principles, some of whom have openly spoken out against homophobia.

“Recently, in Jamaica, the private sector has taken an unprecedented stand against homophobia by banning known homophobic artists like Beenie Man from any event they sponsor.

“C-FLAG therefore strongly urges Allen Stanford and Kelly Holding Ltd. to take a stand against homophobia in the Caribbean by recalling the song from radio stations and by discontinuing its performance at cricket matches, as long as Beenie Man is the featured performer,” said C-FLAG.

Last week Beenie Man claimed his lyrics had been misinterpreted and were not homophobic, claiming that in Jamaica the word ‘gay’ is synonymous with rape, and that unlike the consensual homosexual relationships found in England, the only ‘gay’ relationships that exist in Jamaica are young men who are forced into gay sex by poverty.