EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Beenie Man Apologizes

The king of dancehall music is sorry for his past homophobic lyrics and says his view on LGBT equality has evolved.

BY Akim Bryant

August 01 2012 4:00 AM ET

Did it make a difference for you when President Obama spoke out in support of gay marriage?
It don’t make no difference to me because still the world go on. It definitely helped, but if the world don’t agree, what is anyone going to do? Turn a blind eye? You have to do these things or get left behind.

Now, there’s still a lot of speculation on the internet about whether you actually signed the Reggae Compassionate Act of 2007 renouncing homophobia.
Yeah, me sign it. Me sign it like seven years ago and we still getting backlash regardless of what we did. Gay people still come out and demonstrate. They printed me signature in newspaper in Jamaica. I was the first one to sign it.

Yes, it was you along with Sizzla and Capleton. Now, would you ever consider performing for an LGBT event or festival?
Ya know, I just can’t answer that. When I get there, I get there, seriously.

If the opportunity presents itself, you’ll deal with it, but until then, no comment?
No comment.

Typically when it comes to gay rights, it’s tough for heterosexual people to understand the issue unless they know someone personally who is gay. Is that what also helped you change your view?
I know a few gay people and I work with them. They keep them life to them and we work together. It’s all about work, not sitting around talking about gay issues. I know what it is. A man love a man, that’s his feelings, his heart, his passion, ya understand? Let’s say (hypothetically) I have a cousin who’s gay. I’m not gonna kill him. I’m not gonna hate him. I have to support him with a choice that he make. He have to have somebody to support him cause if the whole family turn they back against him, he end up committing suicide cause he might think he made the wrong choice. Your choice is your choice. Your decision is your decision. It’s not mine. It’s not for me to tell him that you’re wrong. But I cannot say that I have a brother or a cousin or somebody close to me [who’s gay]. I am from Waterhouse…Kingston, Jamaica. That is a serious question that you ask me, ya know? But I have been working with a lot of these people. It’s not my business. I look past it.

So how would you personally feel if your only child, your son, turned out to be gay?
Well I can’t feel no ways. He’s my son. I love him already. It’s not gonna make me hate him. All left to do is to support him and guide him through.

And of course, we can’t forget about the music. You have a new album coming soon, right? What can people expect from the new Beenie Man?
Yes, the single is out called “Summer is Here.” I have a new album coming out. It’s called King in Control. This is a dancehall reggae album. All of the hip-hop artists we’re putting on this album will be on a reggae beat…Will Smith and LL Cool J cause we’re all veterans in it so we work with the big people.

Tags: Music

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