Jamaican reggae artist Beenie Man has released a video in which he tries to distance himself from virulently antigay lyrics that appeared in some of his earlier songs, saying his opinion of LGBT has evolved.
"I respect each and every human being, regardless of which race or creed, regardless of which religious belief you believe in, and regardless of which sexual preference you are, including gays and lesbian people," says Beenie Man, who in 2004 was removed from the Video Music Awards and had a performances cancelled after a boycott by activists for lyrics that seemed to call for the execution of gay men. The musician, born Anthony Moses Davis, released a statement at the time saying, "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." In 2007 he reportedly signed the Reggae Compassion Act, in which committed to not to sing or make public statement in Jamaica or any other country in the world, that could encourage prejudice, hatred or violence against gay or lesbian people. Still the controversy continued to follow him.
Beenie Man, who will perform tomorrow at the Sunsplash festival in Spain, asks to be forgiven for the homophobic lyrics he wrote earlier in his career. "There is no one in this world is the same as they were 20 years ago -- I know I am not," he says in the video. "I was a kid and I come from Waterhouse, which is a small community. I never know what the world is like and what the world is all about. But now I know that people live in this world that live their life differently from my life. I still have to respect and love human beings."