UK detectives are investigating claims that lyrics penned by eight leading reggae artists incite violence against homosexuals and are therefore illegal. Lyrics by Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Bounty Killer are among those being scrutinised by Scotland Yard.
Meanwhile the government is considering banning reggae star Sizzla from the UK as police investigate “anti-gay” lyrics. All five dates on Sizzla’s UK tour were cancelled on Wednesday after gay rights campaigners protested against the star.
From BBC: ‘Anti-gay’ lyrics inquiry starts
From BBC: Ban threat aborts Sizzla UK tour
Other articles on the current debate on homophobic lyrics:
Reggae stars dropped because of ‘homophobic’ lyrics
A collection of articles and background information on the current debate, where Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, the two controversial reggae acts accused of inciting violence against homosexuals, have been dropped from the Mobo (Music of Black Origin) Awards after refusing to provide their promised written apologies.
UK awards show Mobo drops ‘homophobic’ artists
Reggae stars Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel have had their Music of Black Origin (Mobo) nominations withdrawn in a row about homophobic lyrics. Mobo organisers had demanded the pair apologise for anti-gay lyrics in some of their early songs after complaints from gay rights campaigners.
The singers’ representatives said they had “moved on” but no written apology had been received by the judging panel. “The last thing Mobo wants to do is encourage prejudice,” said a spokesman.
Story from BBC (8 Sept 2004)
Gay group calls for Mobo TV ban
Gay rights protesters have urged the BBC to drop coverage of the Music of Black Origin (Mobo) awards in a dispute over “homophobic” artists. They say the BBC should not show the ceremony unless Mobo organisers withdraw nominations for Jamaican acts Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel.
Protest group OutRage! says the artists promote homophobia in their lyrics. Mobo has said these were “old” songs.
Story from BBC (6 Sept 2004)
Hip-hop star attacks homophobic rappers
Rising UK hip-hop star MC Shystie has criticised rappers who write homophobic lyrics in their songs. Shystie did stress, however, that it was important hip-hop was controversial and that its artists had the right to speak.
“It’s freedom of speech,” she said. “In pop music, you can’t really say what you want to say – whereas as an MC you can say whatever you want. But don’t cross the line.”
Story from BBC (29 Aug 2004)