Oct 2, 2007

"Stop Murder Music" Blocks Sizzla and Elephant Man Canadian Performance

In a damning move, Canadian Gay Rights Lobbyist in collaboration with the US Based “Stop Murder Music” Campaign, have decided to convince city officials in Ottawa to ban Reggae Artists Elephant Man and Sizzla, based upon their refusal to sign the Reggae Compassion Act, a document of allegiance to the Campaign mission. The coalition also wrote the Canadian Recording Industry Association, Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque (ADISQ), Canadian Independent Record Production Association and Canadian Broadcasters Association to ask their members not to support, sell, sponsor or broadcast performers like Elephant Man.

Meanwhile, in a June 2007 deal brokered by U.K. gay rights groups OutRage!, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton reportedly signed the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA) disavowing homophobia. Banton and Beenie Man have since publicly claimed they never signed the RCA.(see document here).

The Group is claiming that the performers violate the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act by inciting violence and murder against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) communities if performed during their upcoming Canadian tour.

"Artists have the right to free speech, but their presence in Canada can be perceived as a licence to incite violence. Canada has banned anti-Jew, anti-black people from entering the country. This should be no different.", stated a spokesperson for the Campaign.

One concert has been cancelled and another affected after mega-club Kool Haus pulled the plug at the last-minute on two controversial reggae and dancehall artists.

Entertainers Elephant Man and Sizzla were scheduled to perform Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 respectively, but both men have been under fire from human rights organizations who say their lyrics are homophobic.Both Jamaicans have been under fire from human rights organizations who say their lyrics are homophobic and incite violence against gays. The Oct. 5 concert will go on, but without Sizzla.

Akim Larcher, founder of Stop Murder Music Canada - a coalition made up of 20 organizations that has as their misson promote human rights - says that the federal government has remained silent.

“They shouldn’t have been allowed to get visas to perform in the country," says Larcher. “It’s not about censorship or artistic freedom. That stops when hate propaganda is involved... No one should have that platform to speak.”

But activist and author Orville Lloyd Douglas says a lot of these organizations are targeting Black entertainers. “There are a lot of double standards here. They don’t go after Eminem or Marilyn Manson.”

Larcher says the focus of his organization is to bring awareness and support against homophobia in Jamaica. According to Amnesty International, attacks and threats on gays and lesbians in Jamaica are on the rise. In 2004, gay activist Brian Williamson, who founded J-Flag, was brutally stabbed and murdered in Kingston, Jamaica. It is illegal for males to be gay in the country.

“There are artists who are profiteering the songs about death and violence against gays and lesbians,” says Larcher. “It isn’t a black and white issue. It’s a human rights issue.”

Ticket sales were poor for Elephant Man’s performance with only one-third of the seats sold. Kool Haus could not be reached for comments.

SOURCE:files from thestar.com,

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