Why Is Coca-Cola Supporting A Jamaican “Murder Music” Performer?

When Coca-Cola sponsored a four-day Coke Zero Live concert in Montego Bay, Jamaica this past April they invited Sizzla, a “murder music” performer whose lyrics call for the murder of homosexuals—because nothing says low-calorie refreshment like a musician who advocates shooting fags in the back of the head.

Let’s take a look at some of Sizzla’s more heartwarming lyrics (complete with translations!):

From “Pump Up”:
Step up inna front line (Step up to the front line)
fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind (burn the men who have sex with men from behind)
Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom)

From “Boom Boom”:
Boom boom! Batty boy them fi dead (Boom boom! Queers must be killed)

From “Get To Da Point”:
Sodomite and batty bwai mi seh a death fi dem (Sodomite and queers, I say death to them)
Mi no trust babylon fi a second yah so (I don’t trust Babylon for a second)
Mi a go shot batty bwai dem widdi weapon ya (I go and shoot queers with a weapon [as in gunshots])

Dance hall musicians Sizzla, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, Capleton, TOK, Buju Banton and Baby Cham have all faced censorship and boycotts over their hate music. In fact Sizzla can no longer even find places to perform inside of the U.S. and the U.K. because of his hateful lyrics. Germany has banned his albums and some of his concerts have been canceled because of his anti-gay tunes.

While performing at a Chicago reggae concert in Chicago in April 2002, Sizzla even bragged that he kills queers, telling the audience: “mi nuh go tek back mi chat… mi kill sodomite and batty man dem bring aids and disease pon people… shot a kill dem, mi nuh go tek back mi chat” (I wont take back my words… I kill sodomites and queers, they bring AIDS and disease upon people… shoot and kill them, I won’t take back my words.)

The group AIDS-Free World and long time Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson wrote Steve Bucherati, Coca-Cola’s Chief Diversity Officer about Sizzla’s involvement in the Coke Zero live concert. Tomlinson says that Bucherati promised to submit an article to all Jamaican newspapers “apologizing for the Sizzla concert and announcing a new corporate policy.” But after months with no response, AIDS-Free World now says that Bucherati provided only a “protracted but unproductive written and phone communication” with no results or change.

So… does this mean we have to stop drinking Coke Zero?

It’s unclear whether AIDS-Free World or Tomlinson will continue to press the issue, but considering Jamaica’s horrible record on anti-LGBT violence, a worldwide corporation’s refusal to sponsor hateful artists like Sizzla would send dance hall artists of the island nation a powerful message.

Image via Chrysaora

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