Jamaica/USA: Boundaries of freedom of musical expression examined

22 January 2008
The boundaries of free speech in today’s popular music culture are to be examined in a tv programme recorded in New York, USA, on 7 February 2008, announced the Government of Jamaica in a press release.

The panel discussion is entitled: ‘Censorship vs. Free Speech: Where do we draw the line when anti-gay lyrics are used in Reggae music?’

The press release reads:

An emerging media entity on the Caribbean-New York landscape, ZYNC-TV, will examine the boundaries of free speech in today’s popular music culture, at a specially arranged forum at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (Eastern Parkway/Flatbush Avenue), in central Brooklyn in New York, on February 7, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

“A number of today’s artistes are beginning to feel the pressure of censorship because their lyrics speak out against certain lifestyles and concert promoters now run the risk of having to cancel events or make considerable adjustments to their line-ups for fear of boycott, demonstration and rejection,” Eion Saunders, co-producer of ZYNC-TV and the forum’s convenor told JIS News.

The forum will draw on a number of key resource persons and personalities from the music industry, academia and the Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual & Transgender (GLBT) communities.

Mr. Saunders said that while the historical and social context of homosexuality in Jamaican culture would be discussed, the panellists would tackle vexing issues such as the double-standard involved in banning reggae artistes, in particular, and race.

The panellists will include Poet/Activist Stacey-Ann Chin (GLBT); Sirius Satellite Radio Programme Co-ordinator Pat McKay; Professor of Caribbean Literature Dr. Kelly Baker Josephs; Irie Jam Radio host Roy ‘DJ Roy’ Walters; Donald Powell who is Executive Director of the anti-Discrimination Project at Gay Men of African Descent; Stan Evan Smith, Journalist/Co-host of Reggae Roundtable, WBAI Radio and D’Niscio Brooks, Promoter, Reggae Carifest, New York.

ZYNC-TV will video-tape the forum, which will be developed as a special ‘edu-taining series of programmes’ for its weekly half hour show.

ZYNC TV started in 2005 as a Brooklyn-based community news and entertainment show that focuses on events and issues in New York City. From film festivals to celebrity interviews and everything in between, they also serve as a conduit for the exchange of cultural ideas and events from areas in the world that are influenced by the Afro-Caribbean culture.

ZYNC TV’s New York Linkz, a weekly half-hour show, airs on NYC Channel 73 on Sunday afternoons at 12:30 pm as part of the Caribbean International Network (CIN) programming, and on BCAT on Saturday nights at 11:30 pm on Cablevision Channel 69 / Time Warner Channel 56.


  Click to go to New York Linkz myspace profile

Zync tv staff

Click to go to New York Linkz myspace profile



Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade – 17 January 2008:
‘Free Speech in Popular Music to be Discussed at Forum’

Zync TVs New York Linkz on MySpace:


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