By Chianisa Nzuriwatu
According to The Guardian, after immense campaign and pressure by gay rights activist, Buju Banton has agreed to stop singing violent anti-gay lyrics and has signed "the reggae compassionate act".
The Gay Rights Campaign claims that high-profile artists Capleton, Beenie Man, and Sizzla previously signed the declaration after world wide protests from gay rights group resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of concerts and sponsorship deals totaling an expense of over 5 million dollars.
The world is in an uproar over whether or not these documents were signed by the accomplished reggae artists. In a brief conversation with Buju's manager, Donovin Germain, he expressed, "I was not aware of Buju signing such an agreement. This is something that we have been dealing with for over 15 years."
Buju Banton and the other artist are products of Jamaica where the ultimate fabricate of the society do not accept the gay lifestyle. Just recently in the papers, there was a statement from one of the politicians running for prime minister that they do not embrace the homosexual lifestyle and have no tolerance for it under their leadership. Majority of the people carry this same opinion.
The rest of the world seems to be debating around the same issues. Majority of the United States still voted no against allowing same sex marriage. In some states, sodomy is still illegal under state law. Only three countries in the entire world officially recognize same sex marriage, Canada, Netherlands and Belgium. This shows the controversy internationally around the issues of accepting the gay lifestyle.
Outrage activist, Peter Tatchell says that, "Our No 1 priority is to stop murder music." Through the history of reggae music, gay activist have organized themselves and have strategically hurt the artist in their pockets. It began with Shabba Ranks and Buju is still feeling the repercussions of Boom Bye Bye which he recorded at the age of 15.
A concerned fan of reggae had this to say, "It's unfair that Reggae artist have to sign some agreement to appease the homosexuals. Why don' straight people, which are the majority of the world, make the gay organizations sign a Gay Compassionate Act where they agree to terms that don't hinder the rights of heterosexual people? I don't want my children exposed to certain things and right now they are advocating their lifestyle through music, film, media, and other elements."
Gay activists have vowed to continue their campaign against the four artists who have not signed the act which include Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa and Vybz Kartel. As gay activist organize themselves to create safe space to live in against violent expression, one must question whether the artist signing the act are compromising their freedom of speech and expression.
Many artists have expressed that their homophobic lyrics have been a reaction to the continual raping of young boys and the prostitution of teenage boys. This was evident in the international breakthrough of catholic priest molesting and raping young boys in the pulpits around the world.
British-based reggae artist, Vincent Napp said there was a problem of homophobia in dancehall music, but attacking artists' commercial interests would not solve the issue. "If they keep attacking us, we will fight back," he said. "If they try to stop our music we are going to have to defend ourselves."