Beenie Man apology fails to move British activists
August 04 2004 12:00 AM ET
Jamaican dancehall singer Beenie Man has issued an apology for his violent homophobic lyrics, but British activists say the effort is too little, too late, according to BBC News. Beenie Man recently canceled a tour of the United Kingdom following protests by activist organization OutRage! and this week the singer issued an official apology through Virgin, his label: "It has come to my attention that certain lyrics and recordings I have made in the past may have caused distress and outrage among people whose identities and lifestyles are different from my own. While my lyrics are very personal, I do not write them with the intent of purposefully hurting or maligning others, and I offer my sincerest apologies to those who might have been offended, threatened, or hurt by my songs. As a human being, I renounce violence towards other human beings in every way and pledge henceforth to uphold these values as I move forward in my career as an artist."
Given that Beenie Man's lyrics have included such lines as "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the queers" ("Damn") and "Hang chi chi gal [lesbian] wid a long piece of rope" ("Han up Deh"), the apology fell on deaf ears. "Beenie Man's so-called apology is so vague that it does not even mention what he is apologizing for. It could be an apology for anything," said Brett Lock of OutRage! "It contains no explicit regret for his incitements to murder gay people and no specific affirmation of his respect for homosexuals and homosexual human rights." OutRage! said it would continue its efforts in opposition to Beenie Man as long as the songs in question remain on the market. "He is opportunistically issuing this statement to save his career from collapse. His apology rings hollow when he is still making money from his incitements to kill homosexuals," said Lock. OutRage! leader Peter Tatchell told UK.Gay.com, "[Beenie Man]'s terrified he will be prosecuted by police, barred from the upcoming MOBOs [Music of Black Origin awards], and that this campaign will ruin the launch of his new album. This statement was drafted by his lawyer, not by Beenie Man."