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US gays target Beenie Man

Beenie Man.

KINGSTON — Days after a scheduled performance in northern California was scrutinised by a gay rights group, deejay Beenie Man is facing more pressure from the gay community in the United States.

The Gay Liberation Network is protesting his November 22 performance at The Shrine in Chicago, citing Beenie Man’s past criticism of homosexuals.

In a letter posted on the website, the GLN demands that Beenie Man’s show be cancelled.

“I wish it were possible to say that this artist performs music that is simply engaging entertainment with a great beat and sometimes gritty lyrics. Sadly, this is not the case due to Beenie Man’s history of frequent calls for violence against gays and lesbians. Such calls are anything but ‘entertainment’ when directed against a vulnerable and oppressed minority,” read the letter.

The Shrine event is promoted by Ephraim Martin, head of the annual International Reggae and World Music Awards.

Beenie Man has made attempts to mend fences with the enraged gays. He was one of several dancehall performers who signed the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007, and recently issued a video apology to gay activists prior to his performance at the Rototom Festival in Spain.

But the GLN is not buying the gestures, claiming they are not genuine.

“Because of his advocacy of violence toward our people and his chequered and inconsistent relationship to the global LGBT community, we respectfully request that management of The Shrine show its respect for our community and rescind its offer to have Beenie Man perform at its venue. We would be happy to sit down with you to discuss this matter further,” the GLN stated in its letter.

Beenie Man’s show in Trinidad, California, at the Ocean Grove Lodge attracted mild opposition from the Queer Humboldt group.

Dancehall artistes Buju Banton, Capleton, Elephant Man and Sizzla have also had run-ins with gay activists in Europe and North America.

Sustained pressure from groups in both continents forced promoters to cancel several of their shows. (Observer)

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