The talk is all over the place. Reggae Dancehall artists are fighting to keep their musical careers alive, because of the content of some of their songs. These artists have songs that speak about gays. The gay community in the US and Europe is fighting hard. They are saying that artists like Beenie Man, Elephant Man, and Bounty Killer are promoting violence against them in their songs. Shows and tours are being cancelled all over the place. Some of these artists are quite obsessive on the subject. The artists are saying they are expressing their right to free speech because, in their opinion, the act is unnatural.
The gay community on the other hand is saying that their rights are being infringed on. They feel threatened. They are afraid that when these artists perform these songs, there will be an increase in violence against them.
Where is the proof that there is an association between dancehall music and violence? When homosexuals were being abused in the 80ís, 90ís and even now, how many of their abusers were listening to Beenie, Bounty or any of the other accused artists? No one can say that these artists are inciting violence. There is no evidence anywhere to support this accusation.
Dancehall artists did not create violence nor, are their songs inciting violence against anyone. Next thing you know, dancehall artists will be accused of inciting the violence in the Iraqi population.
People can say whatever they want but I think one issue is that these artists are crossing the color line. White children are listening to the music. Parents are afraid. These are the same type of parents that were afraid when their children started to listen to rap music. What better way to reduce a personís popularity but by creating hysteria about their music.
Another issue, in my opinion, is that many of these music promoters and executives are living the lifestyle mentioned in these songs. Why should they encourage music that speaks negatively of them? Why should they spend money on artists that are opposed to their lifestyle?
My question to these dancehall artists is this, Are you going to stand up for your rights and maintain your principles? Can you survive without being on the popular radio and video stations? Will you be able to live without the bling? Can you stand the chance that main stream stations will not play your music? Can you perform in a local venue instead of a main one? When you answer these questions truthfully, then you are standing up for your rights otherwise, people might start to think that you have skeletons in your closet that you need to eradicate.
One personís right is someone elseís wrong. Any free speech is harmful to someone else. Whether I agree or disagree, in any issue someoneís right is not being acknowledged. If I say donít sing your songs, straights will feel wronged. If I say sing your song, gays will feel wronged. So, who has the right?
Mi deh yah now!
MORECULTURE.COM COPYRIGHT 2003 J. MCFARQUHAR
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