Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Beenie Man Concert Tour Caves Under Gay Pressure
by Tom Garvey
2004-08-18

This article shared 3099 times since Wed Aug 18, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Not long ago, Jamaican reggae star Beenie Man (real name: Anthony Moses Davis) seemed on the verge of mainstream success. His last album had featured collaborations with Janet Jackson and L'il Kim, both a European and American tour were scheduled for the summer, and he would reach a national U.S. audience for the first time via an appearance on Conan O'Brien.

But there was a dirty little secret behind his pulsing 'riddims' and Jamaican patois: Beenie Man explicitly incited the murder of gay people. In his hit 'Damn', for instance, the singer called on fans to come to Jamaica to 'execute all the gays', and earlier songs had described hanging lesbians 'wit a long rope' and killing gay DJs. Perhaps not coincidentally, gay bashing had recently become something of a blood sport on his home island, and Jamaica's only 'out' gay activist, Brian Williamson, was found murdered in his home earlier this year.

The first sign that Beenie Man's secret was out of the closet, however, came when he was detained by London police after gay-rights group Outrage! complained that his songs violated British laws against hate speech. With his London date cancelled, Beenie Man vowed to continue his tour in Europe, but soon found himself again under police scrutiny in Belgium, where he was allowed to perform only after promising to avoid all homophobic lyrics in concert. Meanwhile other homophobic Jamaican performers found themselves picketed by Amnesty International, and seminal 'hate reggae' artist Buju Banton came under investigation by Jamaican police for an alleged armed attack on a group of gay men.

Virgin Records quickly cobbled together a vague apology from Beenie Man to 'those who might have been offended, threatened, or hurt' by his songs, but the statement never mentioned gay people explicitly, and the artist's promoters in Jamaica backed away from it in the local press. Gay activists scoffed in response. 'When someone is sincerely sorry, they acknowledge the wrong they've done and apologize to the persons they've harmed,' said Peter Tatchell of Outrage! 'Beenie Man's statement doesn't do any of those things. He's panicked by the threat that he's going to face concert cancellations all over the U.S.'

But Beenie Man's American tour—which included a stop at Chicago's House of Blues—still seemed on track. His high-energy appearance on Conan O'Brien went well (he sang the non-homophobic 'Dude'), and his publicists began cynically promoting the idea that his lyrics were indecipherable—and indeed, to many in the U.S. audience, epithets like 'battyman' and 'chi chi man' (rough translation: 'faggot') mean little.

When Boston's Bay Windows approached fans lined up for the singer's local show, however, most insisted they did, indeed, understand what he was talking about. Pressed as to whether they supported violence against gays, many shrugged, walked away, or said they liked Beenie Man more for his 'riddims' than his lyrics. 'Do you agree with what President Bush says?' one Caribbean woman argued. Several men, however, replied they did indeed believe gays should be executed. 'That's right,' one fan insisted menacingly. 'Kill them.'

But Beenie Man soon found himself forced to edit the murder out of his music. The Chicago Anti-Bashing Network began mobilizing a national response to the tour, and a protest in Philadelphia was only prevented when the singer again excluded all homophobic songs from his set (an October date has since been cancelled). 'The show almost got stopped,' the singer complained to his Philadelphia audience, adding, 'Gays got it wrong. If you have sex with a man, that's your own business. ... We just don't want anyone to molest our kids.'

This craven attempt to equate gays with child molesters didn't do much to reverse his fortunes. On Aug. 6, R.J. Reynolds, sponsor of 14 of Beenie Man's U.S. dates (including the stop at Chicago's House of Blues) abruptly pulled the plug. 'In no way do those lyrics reflect the views of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco,' David Howard, an RJR spokesman, said in a statement. '(We) do not tolerate this or any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.'

Beenie Man reportedly still has 11 confirmed dates on his tour, but gay groups are insisting the fight is far from over. Philadelphia activists are already in discussion with Clear Channel media corporation, which owns some 1,500 radio stations across the U.S., about dropping Beenie Man and other homophobic reggae artists from on-air play. 'This is just the beginning,' says Outrage!'s Peter Tatchell. 'We're now building a worldwide coalition committed to driving homophobic violence out of dancehall lyrics. These singers' careers are in serious jeopardy.'


This article shared 3099 times since Wed Aug 18, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'Wicked' returning to Chicago in 2022 2021-11-30
- The blockbuster musical Wicked will return to Broadway In Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., on Sept. 28-Dec. 4, 2022. Now the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history—and featuring songs such as "Popular" ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-11-29
- "The obvious one would be A Little Night Music. I know I could do that role very well now that I've gotten to this stage in my life, and you know it's a beautiful song in there. It's perfection."—Sarah Brightman reveals ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Netflix, Kal Penn, Dennis Rodman, 'The Voice,' 'Euphoria' 2021-11-28
Video below - Terra Field—one of the Netflix employees who organized the walkout around Dave Chappelle's comedy special The Closer—has resigned from the streamer, Deadline reported. Field, along with B. Pagels-Minor, organized an ...


Gay News

Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim dies at 91 2021-11-27
- Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of Broadway songwriting, died Nov. 26 at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, according to media reports. He was 91. Among the works in the legend's oeuvre are Company (1970), Follies ...


Gay News

EVENTS John Grumpy Co. presenting 'Black Sunday' Nov. 28 2021-11-24
- John Grumpy Co. is hosting "Black Sunday," which will take place at HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St., on Sunday, Nov. 28, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.. This event will feature celebrity DJ Jamal Smallz. "Black Sunday" will ...


Gay News

MUSIC Grammy nominations announced; GLAAD comments 2021-11-24
- On Nov. 23, the nominations for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards were announced. John Batiste, the musician who also serves as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, led among all nominees with 11 ...


Gay News

MUSIC Controversial rapper DaBaby postpones shows 2021-11-24
- DaBaby's return to touring following fallout for making anti-gay comments at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami this past summer has been postponed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The rapper's been promoting his "Live Show ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ '9-1-1,' Billie Jean King, Lena Waithe, singer Mary Lambert, White Party 2021-11-21
- Actor Rockmond Dunbar left the Fox show 9-1-1 after four seasons over a vaccine mandate, Deadline noted. His gay character, Michael Grant, was abruptly written off in the Nov. 15 episode, leaving fans of the first-responder ...


Gay News

Rainbow Railroad plans 'When I Am Free' benefit concert to get LGBTQI+s to safety 2021-11-20
--From a press release. Videos below - Chicago, IL (November 12, 2021) - The annual Chicago 5 Lives Fundraiser hosted by Rainbow Railroad is proud to return this year with "When I Am Free", a benefit concert offering attendees a premier evening of ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Dante and Beatrice in Florence' Nov. 28-Dec. 5 2021-11-19
- Porchlight Music Theatre is partnering with Hershey Felder Presents: Live from Florence and its second season of productions. The launch of this new season from Hershey Felder is the new musical film Dante and Beatrice in ...


Gay News

Lil Nas X part of 'Jingle Ball' on Dec. 7 2021-11-17
- Queer rapper Lil Nas X will headline KISS FM's Jingle Ball Presented by Capital One this year, run in coordination with iHeart Radio. The event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Allstate Arena at 7:30 ...


Gay News

Chicago Therapy Collective to honor Trans Day of Resilience 2021-11-16
- On Saturday, Nov. 20, Chicago Therapy Collective will release an original music video cover of Wildfires (Sault, 2020) in honor of Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) 2021 and the racial justice uprisings of 2020. According to ...


Gay News

'When I Am Free' concert supporting Rainbow Railroad on Dec. 3 2021-11-16
- "When I Am Free: A Benefit Concert for Rainbow Railroad" will take place at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted St., on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. During this event, there will be ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Theater items, Lady Gaga, 'Justice League Queer,' Tom of Finland 2021-11-14
- Eighteen months after he died of COVID, the life of playwright Terrence McNally was celebrated in a packed house Nov. 1 at the Schoenfeld Theatre, Gay City News noted. Tributes poured in from theater artists, while ...


Gay News

Britney Spears' conservatorship ends 2021-11-12
- The conservatorship that has controlled Britney Spears' finances, personal life and medical decisions since 2008, and which for many years was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, has ended. On Nov. 12, Los Angeles County Superior ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.