Sponsoring Uganda concert was a mistake
Protests win a u-turn and pledge of future vetting
London – 9 December 2009
Protests by Change.org, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), OutRage! and others have persuaded PepsiCo to climb down and apologise, after it sponsored a concert in Uganda by “murder music” singer Beenie Man who encourages the killing of lesbians and gay men.
At his Ugandan concert on Saturday 5 December, Beenie Man sang the song, Mi Nah Wallah, which includes a call to cut the throats of gay people.
Uganda is notorious for homophobic violence and is currently considering introducing the death penalty for “aggravated” homosexuality and for “serial (gay) offenders.”
See this Beenie Man concert report from the Ugandan Daily Monitor:
Following protests, Pepsi expressed regret over their sponsorship of Beenie Man. In a statement to Change.org PepsiCo said:
“We are appalled by the performer’s lyrics and find them repugnant. Our bottling partner in Uganda was not aware of the performer’s views and never would have sponsored the concert with this knowledge…Moving forward, we will work closely with our bottling partners to be more vigilant about the events associated with our brands.”
Peter Tatchell of London LGBT rights group OutRage! said: “We want to thank GLAAD and Change.org for their swift and effective lobbying of PepsiCo. Their efforts got a positive result. PepisiCo will be more careful in future.”
Earlier, David Allison of OutRage! wrote to PepsiCo:
“We are shocked to learn that not only are you sponsoring the appearance of Beenie Man, the Jamaican dancehall music performer, but compounding the offence by sponsoring him in Uganda…Uganda’s government is currently proposing legislation calling for the imprisonment and execution of gay people.
“Backing a concert that includes a notorious homophobe in a country launching draconian legislation against people simply because of their sexual orientation is a singularly inept, not to say immoral….We ask that you withdraw your sponsorship and re-affirm your support for human rights,” wrote Mr Allison.
Beenie Man has a long history of inciting the murder of LGBT people.
His hit tune, Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man), instructs listeners to kill gay DJs and boasts that people would gladly go to jail for killing a queer:
In another song, Damn, he sings: “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the queers”.
Han Up Deh includes the lyrics: “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope.”
Beenie Man is also notorious for the track, Batty Man Fi Dead (Queers Must Be killed):
“All faggots must be killed! If you f*ck ass, then you get copper and lead [bullets].”