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LGBT Activists May Protest Jamaican Singer

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Sep 24, 2010 3:20PM

2010_09_24_capleton.jpg A planned October 9 performance by Jamaican reggae performer Capleton at The Kinetic Playground (1113 W. Lawrence) has set the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) in motion against the singer's controversial, anti-gay lyrics. The LGBT organization is currently in negotiations with the Uptown venue to either cancel the gig or face community protest. In a letter sent to The Kinetic Playground's owner Jim Gouskos earlier this month, GLN spokesperson Roger Fraser addressed the group's concerns, namely the performer's promotion of violence against LGBT people in lyrics of songs like "Bun out Di Chi Chi," which translates to "Burn the Queer."

His lyrical content has put him on the radar of LGBT activists opposed to so-called "murder music" and resulted in the cancellation of shows nationwide, eventually leading to Capleton and other controversial Jamaican dancehall singers singing the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007, promising to forgo incendiary remarks toward gay and lesbian people and other minorities. But despite that, Capleton has, as recently as last year, reportedly exclaimed "All who have burned queers and sodomites, put your hands up!" in a Jamaican concert.

"Very few promoters want to be associated with murderous bigotry and calls from the stage to commit mayhem," Fraser wrote to Gouskos. "No respectable promoter would knowingly schedule a performer whose lyrics promoted violence and murder against blacks or Jews or Muslims. We ask for and expect the same consideration be made concerning LGBT people." In response to Fraser's inquiries, Gouskos said he is not homophobic and would like to get out of his contract for the Capleton gig, but can't afford the $11,000 cancellation fee. According to Fraser, Gouskos further indicated he could get plenty "goons to throw eggs at us," if GLN protests the show and told the GLN rep he did not represent the LGBT community.

Goons or not, it would appear the show - and the protest - will go on, though there remains no mention of the gig on the Kinetic's website or Facebook page.

GLN and other LGBT organizers were successful last year in causing the cancellation of many of Jamaican performer Buju Banton's American gigs. Banton's song "Boom Bye Bye" advocated burning gay people "up bad like an old tire wheel" before shooting them. Banton is, incidentally, now imprisoned in Florida on a cocaine charge. GLN also forged a campaign against anti-gay neo-Nazi band Evil Incarnate, whose appearance at the End of Days Fest at White Star Lounge was canceled last December.