Jamaican singer bids to challenge homophobia
Tolerance album features 11 gay-positive tracks
London – 26 August 2011
“Jamaican reggae singer Mista Majah P has released the world’s first pro-gay reggae album. Called Tolerance and featuring rainbow stripes on the cover, the album includes 11 songs, variously in support of same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, as well as attacks on homophobic bullying and the US military policy, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The tracks also feature swipes at the anti-gay prejudices of ‘murder music’ reggae singer Beenie Man and of the Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell is the international coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign, which since 2004 has protested against eight reggae singers who have put out songs encouraging and glorifying the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Although Mista Majah P is not gay, he supports the LGBT communities and gay equality. Explaining why he created the album, Mista Majah P said:
“I want to counter the myths that all Jamaicans are homophobic and that all reggae music is violent and anti-gay. I’m seeking to challenge ignorance and reach out to gay people.”
“My hope is that this cd, Tolerance, will break down the homophobic stance that certain reggae artists and heads of government have taken towards the LGBTQ community. Because of the hateful songs that some performers have been singing, gay people have been threatened and harmed. Some foolish people act upon what these artists are preaching because they worship these artists like gods. My music is about tolerance. It shows that reggae music can respect gay and lesbian people. Reggae music used to be about love, peace and unity. Now it is too often about bigotry and violence. I want to bring the music back to its progressive roots,” said Mista Majah P
“Since releasing the album, Mista Majah P has received numerous death threats and has been warned to not return to Jamaica (he currently resides in California). He’s undeterred and defiant, stating that ‘murder music’ has given reggae a negative image, which is bad for the music industry and for all reggae artists,” noted Mr Tatchell.
Listen to samples of all 11 tracks on the Tolerance album here: