Gay community to protest at Beenie Man's concert
Protests and public outrage over a Capleton concert at Ocean Grove Lodge earlier this month have not deterred the venue from hosting controversial dancehall performer Beenie Man this Tuesday November 6, 2012.
Anthony Moses Davis, better known by his stage name Beenie Man, is a Grammy winning reggae artist whose perceived anti-gay lyrics have kept him out of a number of venues in the United States.
According to Queer Humboldt co-founder Todd Larsen, the Jamaican dancehall icon's upcoming show in Trinidad may have just as many protesters as attendees. Larsen said Queer Humboldt members and others plan to hold a peaceful protest outside the Beenie Man concert at Ocean Grove in Trinidad on Tuesday.
”We are not trying to stop or block the concert,” he said. “We are just trying to share love and to share education.”
A group of gay right activists in Humboldt County have been working since 2008 to educate the community on what Larsen refers to as “murder music.” Larsen said that the lyrics used by artists like Beenie Man and Capleton call explicitly for the murder and brutilization of gays. In 2009, Larsen said the group was successful in keeping a number of murder music performers out of Humboldt County.
For the most part, Larsen said, local community members, venues and promoters have been respectful of the gay community over the years. He said there are a few individuals and businesses who continue to book the controversial
Phone calls to Ocean Grove Lodge were not returned by the Times-Standard's deadline.
In a Facebook message sent to
the Times-Standard, Beau DeVito of Bonus Man Entertainment said he is exhausted by the number of requests for interviews he has received about promoting reggae artists.
”Nobody listens to the truth,” wrote DeVito, a local promoter who is responsible for arranging both the Beenie Man and Capleton shows at Ocean Grove.
DeVito said he believes the community outrage stems from misinformation and misinterpretation surrounding reggae lyrics. DeVito said that in reggae music, the concept of fire, or burning, isn't meant to be taken literally.
”It's a symbol of purification,” he said. “Reggae artists burn up 75 percent of the audience by the time the show is done. They burn up a lot of what we consider normal: meat eaters, any sexual action other than missionary, gays, corruption, pesticides, condoms, the government. By the time the show is over, many people's actions have been burned up, but not literally.”
DeVito said the lyrics are “purely metaphorical and have no literal meaning.”
For Larsen, those lyrics -- taken literally or not -- are offensive. He points to a number of Beenie Man songs, including one titled “Damn.” In the song Beenie Man raps: “I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.”
Larsen said you don't need a translator to understand the lyrics.
”If we had the Ku Klux Klan up here singing about killing Jews or blacks, I don't think that would be tolerated,” Larsen said. “But for some reason, lyrics about killing gays are acceptable. I don't get it.”
READ MORE ABOUT BEENIE MAN THE KING OF DANCEHALL HERE