Reeling from that whole Holocaust thing, Germany has always made a point about banning hate speech outright , because dammit, that’s not what Article 5 is all about. So aside from locking up neo-Nazis hailing Hitler, Germany also engages in the fun practice of severely restricting certain records within its borders. Like Jamaican dancehall artists whose lyrics advocate murdering homosexuals.
Sizzla, Elephant Man (pictured), Bounty Killer, Capleton, TOK, and Baby Cham all have albums on Germany’s new list of 11 mostly-blacklisted dancehall records, compiled between 2008 and last month; the list now stands at 35 records. There’s even a government organization solely responsible for coming up with this list: the German Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (or Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien, if you swing that way).
The BPjM told the Sunday Observer that it is illegal to advertise these albums or to sell them to minors in Germany, with additional restrictions placed on their sale and distribution. “Breach of …[the] indexing is punishable by a fine or imprisonment,” stated Corinna Bochmann, BPjM spokesperson, in response to Sunday Observer queries.
Ten of the 11 albums were not only considered “harmful to young people” but also contained violent lyrics, according to the BPjM, with lyrics that incite hatred and propagate to kill homosexuals. The BPjM indexed these albums following complaints by certain groups such as the German gay lobby. “The BPjM can only act on the request of other administrative institutions, not by itself. Once an official request has been filed, the BPjM is obliged to act,” stated Bochmann.
But because this is an industry (music), there is of course a profit angle to all of this. Or at least a social currency to be exploited. By releasing anti-gay records, these dancehall musicians are actually propping up The Gays, you see.
Ellen Köhlings, editor of German reggae magazine Riddim told the Sunday Observer that dancehall is ironically filliping the gay lobby’s agenda. “These lyrics violate German laws which gives the lobbyists legal grounds to successfully censor music and gain media exposure,” Köhlings said. “The gay lobby is looking for cheap forwards just like some artistes look for a cheap forward,” she stated.
Köhlings added that artistes could compromise by maintaining their anti-gay stance but avoid the use of violence. “At the end of the day there are much more urgent things to talk about than homophobia, and artistes should leave out, in my mind, the violent bashing of gays.”
Yeah! Just call us despicable sinners and dregs on society. But if you don’t recommend we get gunned down or shivved, hey, kumbaya.