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Entertainment Email

Gays accuse Beenie, TOK of murder


Beenie Man performing at the Portmore Awards Day & Night event at Hellshire Beach on Sunday. - Nathaniel Stewart

The ongoing battle between gay rights activists and dance-hall artistes has flared up once again, this time with a serious new twist to the story.

Gay rights activists are now accusing some top international dancehall acts of murder.

One gay website has stated that the lyrics of Beenie Man and TOK have inspired gay killings.

In an article posted on the website (keithboykin.com) of one of the founders and former board president of the National Black Justice Coalition, Keith Boykin, it showed a banner which read 'Blood on their hands, Beenie Man and TOK encourage their fans to murder in their songs. Here are two of their victims' with the photos of Brian Williamson and Lenford 'Steve' Harvey being displayed. This was posted on the website on July 11.

Clyde McKenzie, director of Shocking Vibes Limited, Beenie Man's management label in Jamaica, told THE STAR in an interview that things are getting quite ridiculous now.

"I think that this is maybe carrying it a bit far because there is no established link between their (dancehall artistes) lyrics and anybody being killed. I would need for them to provide irrefutable evidence and how would they link any song to such actions, that is far-fetched. I think there are some serious issues at play here," he argued.

However, McKenzie says, "We're not planning to take any legal actions at this point, we're just hoping that the thing will just die a natural death, but I mean, this thing is getting ridiculous."

TOK members say this latest campaign looks like a deliberate fight against reggae/dancehall music.

"Everybody who knows the situation knows that's not true. That sounds like a definite fight against dancehall music," Flexx said.

Campaigns against dancehall/-reggae artistes do not stop there. There is also a worldwide online campaign under the banner, 'Black Gay Bloggers Unite Against Homophobic Artists'.

The group has launched a worldwide online campaign against a music industry group's decision to ignore requests to cancel performances by Beenie Man and TOK at a benefit concert to target young people for HIV/AIDS prevention that had been scheduled for July 18 in New York.

Show cancelled

The show was subsequently cancelled and Beenie Man had been told that another of his shows, at Bournemouth Inter-national Centre in England, on July 29, will not go ahead because of his anti-gay lyrics.

McKenzie, however, had a few strong warnings. "Shutting these shows down by their lobbying, I think it is ridiculous, it's one thing to demonstrate, protest if you want, but when you start now to prevent people from accessing my services or associating with fans and patrons, I think that is a serious offence and a breach of people's rights. In the case of Beenie Man, everybody on his tour can tell you that he has not been uttering homophobic lyrics, a deal was made and he abided by the deal," he said.

 
July 28, 2006
 

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