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NYC reggae concert canceled after gay protests

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Citing concerns about potential violence, an organizer on Wednesday canceled a reggae concert meant to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS after protesters complained two of the scheduled performers were anti-gay.

The organizer, LIFEbeat, came under fire by black gay activists and bloggers after it was announced that Jamaican dancehall artists Beenie Man and the group T.O.K. were scheduled to perform during a concert next week at Webster Hall. Protesters asked that the artists be dropped or forced to denounce controversial lyrics.

Instead, LIFEbeat, which uses the music industry to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, said it would cancel the event for safety reasons.

'The possibility of violence at the concert from the firestorm incited by a select group of activists makes canceling the event the only responsible action,' it said in a statement. 'It is very unfortunate, however, that the intended good that could result from bringing this community together around this potentially groundbreaking event will not be realized.'

Beenie Man and T.O.K. have released songs that deride gays through slang terms. One Beenie Man song calls for a lesbian hanging, and a T.O.K tune suggests gay men be burned.

Earlier this week, the concert organizer rejected the anti-gay lyrics but said including the artists would help reach a larger audience thanks to the popularity of their beat-driven dancehall music.

In statements earlier this week, T.O.K. said it had 'matured over the years,' and Beenie Man said, 'AIDS is an epidemic that doesn't discriminate. It's not a gay or a straight thing, it is a fight for life.'

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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I think Lifebeat should have considered the odds with cancelling a benefit concert. We have to keep in mind that HIV/AIDS isn't just the gay community, it is also the heterosexual community as well. We are all in this together.

Hello Eldon,

I beleve that Lifebeat acted responsibly, under the circumstances. I know very well, that HIV/Aids is not a straight or gay issue. It is everyones issue !

As A gay man,( with aids) I would not attend a fundraiser, that reaked of discriminatory anti gay tones.

Further infomation  below :

"One Beenie Man song calls for a lesbian hanging, and a T.O.K tune suggests gay men be burned."
 I don't know about you, but this bothers me extreemely.

Jamaica, is not a good place to be, if you are gay :

What else is going on in Jamaica :

More on Brian Williamson's Death :

Just my thoughts ------Ray


And lets not forget Steve Harvey's murder in Jamaica :

Jamaican HIV defender murdered on eve of World AIDS Day /01.12.05

Steve Harvey from Christian Aid partner, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), has been murdered.  He ran a programme providing support to gay men and sex workers.

Three men, armed with guns, broke into Mr Harvey’s house and demanded money. They then forced him to carry valuables into the JASL car parked outside.

One of the gun men was reported to have said to Mr Harvey and his two house-mates: ‘We hear that you are gay’. Two of the men denied it. They were tied up and left in the house. Steve was forced into the car which then sped away. Two hours later, he was found, shot dead.

Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world. With a population of only 2.7 million people, the country has seen 1,383 murders in 2005 alone. Gun violence is common and homophobia rife.


Victims of homophobic violence are often too scared to appeal to the police for protection. According to Human Rights Watch: ‘Police actively support homophobic violence, fail to investigate complaints of abuse, and arrest and detain [men] based on their alleged homosexual conduct.’

Last year, the founder of Jamaica’s gay rights movement, Brian Williamson, was murdered. Investigators claimed the motive for murder was robbery, since a safe was missing and the apartment ransacked. However, many believe the killing was a hate crime.

Homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica: men convicted of homosexual activity can face ten years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

A Christian Aid spokesperson said: 'JASL defends the rights of people who are not considered to have any rights in Jamaica. The work they do is very dangerous.'


Human Rights Watch also states: ‘Jamaica’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic is unfolding in the context of widespread violence and discrimination against people living with and at high risk of HIV/AIDS, especially men who have sex with men.’

An estimated 1.5 per cent of Jamaicans are living with HIV/AIDs. Although two thirds of HIV transmission is through heterosexual sex, many people still blame gay men for spreading the virus.

On Sunday, Mr Harvey led JASL’s annual candle-lit vigil in memory of those killed by HIV. JASL is now mourning the death of one of their strongest defendants of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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--- Quote ---In statements earlier this week, T.O.K. said it had 'matured over the years,' and Beenie Man said, 'AIDS is an epidemic that doesn't discriminate. It's not a gay or a straight thing, it is a fight for life.'
--- End quote ---
Is that supposed to be an apology?


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