Today, the Highlands Nightclub management issued the following letter in reply to the request of the cancellation of homophobic reggae artist Buju Banton’s scheduled October 3rd concert:
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for reaching out. I was not aware of Buju Banton’s lyrics or his anti-gay sentiment until yesterday when I started getting e-mails. I’m sure you and the community will be happy to know, that I have since done some research and have decided to cancel the show. I apologize on behalf of myself and the Highlands.
Office (323) 461-9800
Fax (323) 461-9802
Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, and faxed letters requesting the cancellation of this concert, but the battle isn’t over.
Beenie Man is still scheduled to perform on Sunday, October 22, 2006 at the Century Club.
Contact the General Manager of the Century Club by calling (310) 553-6000.
The email address is email@example.com. Faxes can be sent to (310) 553-1059.
Demand that the Beenie Man concert be cancelled immediately.
Click here to read Los Angeles Times story.
My letter to the General Manager of the Century Club:
September 21, 2006
Dear Century Club General Manager:
I understand that your venue will be featuring Beenie Man on October 22, 2006. I would like you to know that Beenie Man has a long history of homophobia and incitement of anti-gay violence.
Beenie Man, as you may recall, in his song "Han Up Deh," sings, “Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope.” The term "chi chi" is a Jamaican reference to homosexuality. The term is often used to refer to "chi chi men" but can also refer to lesbians (chi chi women or chi chi girls). Loosely translated, the lyrics mean, “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope.” And there are other songs where he calls for the murder of gays.
The misogyny found in today’s hip hop lyrics is no worse than the homophobia found in Beenie Man and Buju Banton’s lyrics. As a Black woman, I cannot protest rappers for their use of misogynistic language and then say nothing about the equally offensive language used by some reggae artists. Black America has an ethical and social responsibility to call out its own.
I fully understand the right of artists to express themselves, but I cannot sit in silence when blatantly homophobic recording artists come to Los Angeles to perform.
As our new Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has stated, this is a Los Angeles for all people, and as a Black lesbian, I’m personally insulted that your venue would allow anti-gay musicians to spout their homophobia. Would you allow anti-Semitic or anti-Black artists to perform? Probably not, that’s why I’m asking for your help.
To resolve this problem, I ask that you do one of two things immediately. Either rescind Beenie Man’s invitation to perform in your venue or demand that he make a public statement prior to the concert disavowing his homophobic music and remarks. I’m sure you would agree that we’ve come too far in the struggle against hate crimes to allow vicious homophobia to go unchallenged in the public sphere. Many people in our community will be looking for you to do the right thing.
Adam Manacker of the Highlands Night Club today cancelled a performance of Buju Banton scheduled for October 3, 2006 after being made aware of this issue.
I eagerly await your reply.