by Jodee Brown
The Jamaican music community has been buzzing since the release of a video statement by Dancehall legend, Beenie Man last week in which he confirmed his stance regarding gay and lesbian critics who’ve long hounded him throughout his career with regards to lyrical content.
Last week Wednesday, the self-professed King of the Dancehall unveiled a YouTube video via the Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival’s official page in which he insisted that he had no personal issues with homosexuals and respected all human beings. He also urged gay and lesbian critics to stop attacking him for songs he did two decades ago which contained controversial lyrical content addressing the issue of homosexuality.
Beenie’s apparent apology to homosexuals drew the eyre of his long-time rival, Bounty Killer who tweeted several statements criticizing the move, one of which read, “Your view is your view, everyone have the right to their opinion. Giving an apology simple mean you stoop to their level and have second thoughts of your opinion, so simply you never believe in your opinion from first.”
However, other prominent Dancehall musicians rushed to Beenie Man’s defense such as internationally acclaimed producer, Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell, who insisted that all judgment should be left to God when it’s all said and done.
“Instead of dancehall uniting, we have allowed it to progress to the point where the gay society are able to target our shows and venues and are successful in preventing us from performing and earning a living. If Beenie Man gets up and apologizes then nothing is wrong. We are hypocrites, because even though we say we are a homophobic society, Jamaica is in the top 10 Caribbean countries with the most gays. We have bigger issues than condemning Beenie Man,”he told the Jamaica STAR.
Reggae legend, Tony Rebel echoed similar sentiments, intimating that entertainers should be wary of the lyrics that they sing in order to avoid similar predicaments.
“Beenie Man a him own man. I’m not here to say if he is wrong or right. If him do things and him haffi apologize then that’s his business. Tony Rebel nuh haffi apologize to dem and me straight. Him must know wha him a do why him need fi apologize. Mi nah apologise to no gay, no day, but if him feel fi apologize then that’s his prerogative. Entertainers over the years were promoting gays, they claim they were bashing them but they were actually promoting them. If a man continue fi talk bout gays, why him need fi do dat? We have nuff more tings fi talk bout,” he told the STAR.
Highly acclaimed Dancehall/Reggae diva, Ce’Cile also rushed to Beenie Man’s defense, tweeting that that the public should lay off the ‘Doctor’s’ stance.
“Everybody gonna jump on Beenie now, he’s a great artiste and have nuff other things to sing about! As long as Beenie is sincere, we all good, cause mi waa see Beenie mash up more shows and I support him! Lots of you dudes don’t even treat women good! Low di Doctor!” she said.
For his part, Beenie Man steadfastly denied that his video statement last week was any sort of apology to the homosexual community, issuing a press release in which he clarified his intent and addressed some of his critics within the Jamaican music community.
“I never apologized. Jamaican people need to be more literate about life. Five years ago, we stop sing certain songs, and start focus more on dancehall to make it what it is today. I said that they (the gays) should leave us alone, don’t have us up for what we said when we were young. That happened 20 years ago, nobody is the same person they were 20 years ago,” the release read.
“I told them to leave us alone, to try to understand where we are coming from, but still yu have some selectors weh go pon the mic and talk a bagga tings. So when the gays put on dance and want to spend $150,000, you selector bwoy, don’t tek dem money, run dem outta the dance. Dem caan use dem little bird brain pon me, man ah lion.”
Meanwhile, Beenie Man took time to fire counteractive shots at Bounty Killer, suggesting that the ‘War Lord’ should have focused on more pressing matters.
“Bounty Killer need fi tweet say ah eight people lef inna the venue outta 8,000 fi see him perform after him ah insist say him waan close the show over Amsterdam Reggae Festival, ah dat him fi tweet. After mi perform, the show done and everybody lef’ …nobody never waan see him.”