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Homophobic reggae artists Buju Banton and Beenie Man are set to perform in Los Angeles in the upcoming weeks.

Buju Banton, who performed earlier this year at UCLA’s Jazz and Reggae Festival without so much as an objection, is set to perform October 3rd at the Highlands Nightclub in Hollywood.  The concert is promoted by Jamaica Gold.

Banton was accused of being involved in a homophobic attack in Kingston two years ago.  While Banton said the charges were “completely untrue and wholly unfounded,” he continues to be protested for his song “Boom Bye Bye,” which is well known for the violence it calls for against gays including the shooting of gay people in the head, pouring acid over them, and setting them on fire.

Black LGBT bloggers recently waged a successful campaign against the New York based LIFEbeat, the music industry’s non-profit that focuses on AIDS for its Reggae Gold Jumpoff Concert that featured Beanie Man.

Beanie 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.”

Well he wasn’t down for long because Beenie Man is currently scheduled to perform on October 22nd (my birthday) here in Los Angeles at the Century Club in Century City.

In the aftermath of the LIFEbeat campaign, I received criticism from a select few for not attacking rapper DMX and other reggae artists who had recent shows in various parts of the country.

My feelings continue to be the same, you have to be strategic in what you do.  While I supported the efforts of the local Black LGBT community by getting the word out about their various protests, there wasn’t much else that I could do from Los Angeles.  As was the case with the LIFEbeat campaign.  I was in Los Angeles and I supported the efforts of those in New York via my blog.

But this situation is different for me, these concerts are taking place in my backyard.

With the continued violence against lesbians and gays in Jamaica and the hate crimes here in America, artists like Beenie Man and Buju Banton should not be allowed to perform anywhere as far as I am concerned until they publicly disavow their previous songs calling for the murder of gays.  Plain and simple, if this was a punk rock band who had once called for Blacks to be hanged in one of their songs, this wouldn’t even be an issue.  You’d have the NAACP, the SCLC, and every other Black civil rights group in America demanding that their shows be cancelled.  This is no different.

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.

To that end, L.A. has a vibrant and thriving Black same-gender loving community and I think it’s time that we stand up once again in honor of our lives and demand that these two concerts are cancelled immediately.

Who’s with me?

Highland’s Night Club

6801 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 433
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone (323) 461-9800
Fax (323) 461-9802

info@thehighlandsla.com

Adam Manacker
Director of Promotions &
Assistant General Manager

Phone (323) 461-9800 Ext.103
adam@thehighlandsla.com

Jamaica Gold (Buju Banton Club Promoter)

10008 National Blvd., #144
Los Angeles, CA. 90034

White Lightning
admin@lareggaeclubs.com

Century Club (More contact information pending)

10131 Constellation Blvd.

Century City, CA

Phone (310) 553-6000

My Letter to the Highlands Night Club

September 20, 2006


Adam Manacker
Director of Promotions &
Assistant General Manager
Highland’s Night Club
6801 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 433
Hollywood, CA 90028


Dear Mr. Manacker:

I understand that your venue will be featuring Buju Banton on October 3, 2006.  I would like you to know that Buju Banton has a long history of homophobia and incitement of anti-gay violence.

Buju Banton was accused of being involved in a homophobic attack in Kingston two years ago.  While Banton said the charges were “completely untrue and wholly unfounded,” he continues to be protested for his song “Boom Bye Bye,” which is well known for the violence it calls for against gays including the shooting of gay people in the head, pouring acid over them, and setting them on fire.

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 Buju Banton’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.

I eagerly await your reply.

Sincerely,

Jasmyne Cannick
jcannick@sbcglobal.net