Beenie Man questioned by police at Heathrow airport on arrival in UK.
Concert cancelled after protest by gay rights group OutRage!
Gays claim “triumph over homophobia”.
Gays claim “triumph over homophobia”
London – UK – 24 June 2004
One of Jamaica’s top reggae and dancehall music stars, Beenie Man, was met by police when he arrived at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday 23 June for the start of his Irish and UK concert tour. He has been under investigation by the Metropolitan Police for the last nine months.
Acting on a complaint by the gay human rights group OutRage!, Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll questioned Beenie Man about his homophobic lyrics, which advocate hatred and violence against lesbians and gay men. See samples below.
A few hours later, the Ocean nightclub in Hackney, east London, announced the cancellation of Beenie Man’s concert tonight (24 June), following a request from OutRage!
Ocean’s statement said: “Due to concerns for public safety and following discussions with the Metropolitan Police, Ocean has cancelled this Thursday’s Beenie Man concert”.
“This cancellation is a triumph over homophobia”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage! “Our aim is to make Britain a no-go area for entertainers who incite violence against gay people”.
“We hope this victory will result in other homophobic singers having their concerts cancelled. Once they start losing money they’ll soon drop their anti-gay lyrics”.
“We congratulate Ocean for taking a stand against homophobic prejudice and violence”.
OutRage! had warned the police and Ocean that “many people blame singers like Beenie Man for stirring up homophobic hatred. This hatred has led to the murder of dozens of gay Jamaicans and to attacks on gay people in Britain”.
OutRage!’s letter to Ocean’s Director of Operations, John Love, stated: “I presume Ocean would not host a performer who encouraged violence against black or Jewish people? We are asking you to enforce the same policy towards Beenie Man”.
“Inciting violence is a criminal offence”, said OutRage!’s campaign coordinator, Brett Lock.
“We want Beenie Man arrested and charged with incitement to violence. His hit tunes Damn and Bad Man, Chi Chi (Queer) Man glorify and encourage attacks on lesbians and gay men”.
“Beenie Man is the second homophobic Jamaican music star whose concert has been cancelled following pressure from OutRage!. Last December, Bounty Killer failed to show for a performance at the Stratford Rex in east London after OutRage! urged the police to arrest him over lyrics inciting the murder of lesbians and gays”, said Mr Lock.
Leading figures in the black community have condemned homophobia and backed lesbian and gay human rights. They include Oona King MP, Lee Jasper the Mayor of London’s advisor on equality issues, Diane Abbott MP, Darcus Howe of the New Statesman, music star Ms Dynamite, Keith Vaz MP, Trevor Phillips Chair of the CRE, David Lammy MP, comedian Lenny Henry, Paul Boateng MP, Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote, and Claude Moraes MEP.
Beenie Man’s violent homophobic lyrics
NB: Chi chi man is a Jamaican homophobic insult; the equivalent of poof or faggot. Translations to standard English are in brackets below the patois.
A line from Beenie Man’s hit tune Damn roughly translates as:
“I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the queers”.
In another song, Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man), Beenie Man is widely understood as instructing listeners to kill gay DJs:
“If yuh nuh chi chi (queer) man wave yuh right hand and (NO!)
(If you are not gay wave your right hand and say no)
If yuh nuh lesbian wave yuh right hand and (NO!)
(If you are not a lesbian wave your right hand and say no)
Some bwoy will go a jail fi kill man tun bad man chi chi man!
(Some men are willing to go to jail for killing a man who is queer)..
…Yuh see em to run off a stage like a clown, Kill Dem DJ!
(If you see him (the queer) run off the stage like a clown, Kill that DJ!)”.