Article Title:13 questions for Beenie Man before Raggamuffin
Author or Credit:Sarah Murphy and Jay Bennie
Published on:18th November 2015 - 10:52 pm
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Story ID:17563
Text:Yesterday morning's interview with Beenie Man was lined up through the organisers of February's Raggamuffin festival in West Auckland, at which he is scheduled to perform. They advised that they had arranged the one on one interview through his manager. They told us the subject we wanted to discuss on behalf of the NZ glbti communities, his violently homophobic lyrics and his claim that he is no longer homophobic, a claim that is widely considered hollow and self-serving, was agreed to by that manager. And they said we would have fifteen minutes to talk through this subject with him. As it panned out we were barely 30 seconds in, waiting for an answer to our first question, when he abruptly brushed us off and hung up. In case the Raggamuffin people, Beenie man or his management want to reconsider we've decided to publish the core questions we were trying to ask (there were bound to be a few more questions emerging along the way). For the record, as per our usual practice for live interviews we did not submit our questions in advance, nor were we asked to. 1. Why do you think you felt so anti gay and lesbian when you were younger, do you believe the culture that exists in Dancehall music encourages violence and hate lyrics... was it something in your family life or that you absorbed when you were growing up? 2. Why do you think Jamaica has such a strong culture of homophobia? 3. As someone with a lot of influence in the reggae and dancehall world, how do you feel about the fact that you have promoted violence against the gay and lesbians and it’s likely that many people may have listened to your lyrics and acted out on this, possibly even murdered a gay person... after all it was only in March this year that a young gay man was stoned to death by an angry mob and in 2009 a British Consul was killed in what is considered to have been a gay-related hate crime? 4. You have a history of anti-gay and in fact quite violent lyrics against gay and lesbian people, and although you have released a video saying you no longer feel like this, those songs still exist out there and people are listening to them. How do you feel knowing that once your music is out there you can no longer have control over it, that you can't take them back? 5. Pro-gay Jamaican reggae singer Mista Majah P calls you out for your history of anti-gay lyrics on his album Tolerance, how do you feel about this? 6. Do you regret writing those lyrics now seeing that this is something you continue to be unable to escape? 7. You have said you wrote the homophobic lyrics as a 'wayward youth' over twenty years ago, when you were about twenty years old. If you changed your view why did you continue to perform these songs calling for the killing of gays? 8. Have you had any problems with shows being cancelled since you released your YouTube explanation video? 9. How did the Reggae and Dancehall community, and the Jamaican public, react to that YouTube video where you said "I have nothing against no one. I respect each and every human being regardless of which race or creed, regardless of which religious belief…regardless of which sexual preference you have including gay and lesbian people." 10. Is there anything you would say to people who still for some reason preach and practice hatred towards gay people? 11. And would you like to say something here and now to fellow Jamaican reggae performers of anti-gay lyrics, particularly Buju Banton who performs lyrics including urging people to machine gun gays? 12. Is your professed turn-around on homophobia genuine and heart-felt? If so how can we believe that? 13. Some say words, such as your video, are easy to speak but actions speak louder... what actions might you take to ensure everyone believes your turn-around is genuine. Beenie Man and your representatives, the ball is in your court. Recommended reading and viewing: The Daily Mail YouTube Wikipedia Sarah Murphy and Jay Bennie - 18th November 2015    
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