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Kerran CaribDirect staff writer

Staff writer - Kerran Monroe

Growing up in Jamaica, one’s first reaction to homosexuality is “faya bon” or “dem fi ded”.  This “homophobic” attitude, over the years has been expressed in our music, namely Dancehall and Reggae.  Even the great Bob Marley who promoted “One love” was not very fond of the gays, according to his manager up to the time of his (Bob’s) death in his book Guns and Ganja.  Bob however, did not exemplify this in his music.

Artistes such as Buju Banton, Capleton, Shaba Ranks and a number of other Jamaican musicians have come under pressure from the Gay society for their anti – gay lyrics.  The tension between the gay community and Jamaican artists is so prominent that, fans of Buju Banton thought the drug charges against the artiste were a conspiracy by the American gay community.  Prior to the drug charges the gays were protesting against Buju Banton’s concerts being held in the United States.  Their protests were an attempt to cancel the deejay’s concerts.  The gay community’s protest were a result of Buju’s “gay bashing” song ‘Boom Bye Bye’ which was recorded approximately two decades ago.

Shabba Ranks Photo courtesy artistdirect.com

No doubt, ‘gay bashing’ artists have come under immense pressure and some even paid an expensive price.  This may be a contributing factor in the shift in focus of Dancehall artistes and songwriters, or maybe just a shift in their approach.  Instead of bashing or encouraging violence against the group, in an attempt to declare their heterosexuality, the current crop of artistes express their heterosexuality by simply just definitively stating their sexual preference.  They sing about their heterosexuality, rather than sing about someone else’s homosexuality, as a means of declaring their straightness.

This shift may be the result of an agreement, that a number of artistes have signed that prevents them from recording ‘hate music’.  By signing this contract the artistes agree to not sing songs that incite or promote violence or hate against any group of persons.

Whatever the reason, there certainly has been a shift in the way Dancehall artistes express their heterosexuality.  The lyrics have changed from, “Boom bye bye ina b***y bway ed to “no bway kyaa tek aaf mi pants mi no play dem de game de”.



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