Gays force Beenie off show
The organisers of the Raggamuffin music festival in New Zealand have removed dancehall artiste Beenie Man from the show's line-up.
According to numerous online sources, the decision was made after the gay community in New Zealand, GayNZ, voiced concerns over the artiste's inclusion on the line-up.
The group was concerned that the artiste's stance on the gay community was still unknown and demanded clarity. A concert spokesman said the organisers offered Beenie Man an opportunity to publicly state his support of the gay community and retract his past homophobic comments and lyrics but said the entertainer failed to answer questions about his past lyrics and his current stance on the gay community.
"Based on this, we have removed him from the line-up," said Raggamuffin spokesperson Danny Leaoasavaii also known as Brotha D.
"We took the concerns of the gay community very seriously and sought to address them with Beenie Man. Raggamuffin is a family festival and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sexuality."
Efforts to get in touch with Beenie Man for a comment were futile. Beenie Man has since been replaced by Jamaican songstress Diana King.
The singer, whose chart-topping hits have included Shy Guy and a cover version of Dionne Warwick's I Say A Little Prayer, is widely known as the first Jamaican artiste to publicly come out as gay.
Raggamuffin is set for February 20, 2016 at The Trusts Arena in Henderson, Auckland.