It’s a historic day in the world of reggae, a historically homophobic musical genre. Sizzla (pictured), Beenie Man and Capleton have all joined forces with the Stop Murder Music Campaign and signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, thus taking a firm stand against hateful lyrics in reggae, dancehall and other music from the Caribbean Islands.
Signers of “one love” loving act the act pledge to “respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without fear of hatred and violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender”. The document goes on to criticize crooners who employ anti-queer lyrics and messages.
One of the act’s architects and vice-chair of London’s Black Gay Mens Advisory Group, Dennis L Carney remarked on the signing:
This is a giant leap towards restoring peace, love and harmony to reggae music. These performers are sending a clear message that lesbians and gay men have a right to live free from fear and persecution – both here in the UK and in Jamaica.
British activist and politico Peter Tatchell also lauded the lyrically-minded message:
This commitment is a major blow against homophobia in the Caribbean and in popular music… The Reggae Compassionate Act applies worldwide. If any of the three singers break this agreement anywhere in the world, we will resume the campaign against them.
Tatchell goes on to say the Stop Murder Music Campaign’s now going after a few more artists, Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa, Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton, all of whom have spoken against gays.