Protests against “kill gays” singers force concert collapse.
LONDON – 27 August 2004
The organisers of London’s Reggae in the Park concert have cancelled the event, scheduled for 5 September, following intense lobbying by the gay rights group OutRage!.
The concert was to have featured two Jamaican reggae singers, Sizzla Kalonji and Vybz Kartel, who have released records inciting the murder of lesbians and gay men (see lyrics below).
Over the last few days, OutRage! had urged the promoters, Capital Radio/Choice FM and Apollo Entertainments/The Glen Yearwood Group, to drop the two singers – or face protests.
OutRage! also contacted the Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Metropolitan Police and the concert venue managements – first Tower Hamlets council (when the event was scheduled to be in Victoria Park), then Wembley Arena (when it was moved there).
At no point did OutRage! call for Reggae in the Park to be cancelled; only for the withdrawal of Vybz Kartel and Sizzla Kalonji.
“We are delighted that Sizzla Kalonji and Vybz Kartel will not be performing, but sorry the whole event has been axed,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
“OutRage! has no objection to the other performers in the stage line up and believes the concert should have gone ahead without the two murder-music singers.
“Reggae is an important musical genre which has made a positive contribution to popular culture. We want to see it thrive, but without homophobia and misogyny”, he said.
The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service are currently conducting a criminal investigation into Vybz Kartel and Sizzla Kalonji over allegations that their lyrics commit the criminal offence of incitement to murder.
“Vybz’s and Sizzla’s ‘kill queers’ songs are still in circulation and selling. They continue to profit from their murder music”, added Brett Lock, co-organiser of the OutRage! ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign.
“Sizzla Kalonji and Vybz Kartel do not merely express their disapproval of homosexuality. They call for all homosexuals to be killed and incite their listeners murder gays and lesbians. This goes way beyond an acceptable expression of opinion. Lesbian and gay people have a right to live their lives free from threats to kill them,” added Lock.
For more background on the ‘Stop Murder Music’ campaign, see:
Murder music lyrics by Sizzla Kalonji and Vybz Kartel
Lyrics in Jamaican patios, with the standard English translation underneath in brackets [ ].
Vybz Kartel – Bedroom Slaughteration
Bow cat, sodomite, batty man fi gat assassination (Yeah)
[Oral sexer, lesbian and queer must be assassinated (Yeah)]
Vybz Kartel – Guns Like Mine
Kartel buss one inna batty bwoy spine
[Kartel puts one (a bullet) in a queer’s spine]
Vybz Kartel – Sen On
Faggot fi get copper to di heart
[Faggot must get copper (bullet) to the heart]
Batty bwoy stand up anna talk and man a park
[A queer stands and talks to a man in a park]
Don run anybody wey fuck batty
[Don’t chase away the man who fucks arse]
Me a shot e
[(because) I am trying to shoot him]
From yuh faggy Waterford
[If you are from faggoty (queer) Waterford (a place in St Catherine, Jamaica)]
A wet yuh up wid di Maggy
[I shoot you with the Magnum (gun)]
From yuh funny, yuh a guh bury
[If you are funny (queer), you get buried (as in killed)]
Sizzla – Pump Up
Step up inna front line
[Step up to the front line]
fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind
[burn the men who have sex with men from behind]
Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom
[Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom]
At a reggae concert in Chicago on 12 April 2002, Sizzla bragged that he kills queers, and also incited the audience to murder gays and lesbians:
“mi nuh go tek back mi chat… mi kill sodomite and batty man dem bring aids and disease pon people… shot a kill dem, mi nuh go tek back mi chat”
[I wont take back my words.I kill sodomites and queers, they bring AIDS and disease upon people.shoot and kill them, I won’t take back my words.]
A report by Amnesty International, dated 17 May 2004, about a reggae concert in Jamaica earlier this year, documented Sizzla and other reggae stars abusing and threatening to kill gay men.
“Throughout the night, Capleton, Sizzla and others sang almost exclusively about gay men. Using the derogatory terms for gay men – “chi chi men” or ‘battybwoys’ – they urged the audience to ‘kill dem, battybwoys haffi dead, gun shots pon dem. Who want to see dem dead, put up his hand’
[kill them, queers have got to die, gun shots in their head, whoever wants to see them dead, put up your hand]
In an interview by Richard Burnett in the Canadian entertainment magazine ‘Hour’ on 19 August 2004, Sizzla said:
“.burn sodomite, burn battyman. Burn all things that are wrong. Burn it… We must get rid of Sodom and Gomorrah right now.”