Entertainment

Peter Tatchell promotes Jamaican pro-gay Reggae artiste

Artiste claims he has received death threats

Jamaica Observer

Friday, August 26, 2011 | 12:08 PM    

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BRITISH-based gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, has come out in support of Jamaican Reggae artiste Mista Majah P, who has released what is reportedly the first pro-gay Reggae album, entitled 'Tolerance'.

"Jamaican reggae singer Mista Majah P has released the world's first pro-gay reggae album. Called Tolerance and featuring rainbow stripes on the cover, the album includes 11 songs, variously in support of same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, as well as attacks on homophobic bullying and the US military policy, Don't Ask Don't Tell. The tracks also feature swipes at the anti-gay prejudices of 'murder music' reggae singer Beenie Man and of the Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding," said Tatchell.

Tatchell is the international coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign, which since 2004 has protested against leading Jamaican entertainers including Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Sizzla and TOK, who have released songs which contain anti-gay lyrics.

Mista Majah P says he is not gay, but supports the LGBT communities and gay equality.

"I want to counter the myths that all Jamaicans are homophobic and that all reggae music is violent and anti-gay. I'm seeking to challenge ignorance and reach out to gay people," said the artiste.

"My hope is that this CD, 'Tolerance', will break down the homophobic stance that certain reggae artists and heads of government have taken towards the LGBTQ community. Because of the hateful songs that some performers have been singing, gay people have been threatened and harmed. Some foolish people act upon what these artists are preaching because they worship these artists like gods. My music is about tolerance. It shows that reggae music can respect gay and lesbian people. Reggae music used to be about love, peace and unity. Now it is too often about bigotry and violence. I want to bring the music back to its progressive roots," he added.

"Since releasing the album, Mista Majah P has received numerous death threats and has been warned to not return to Jamaica (he currently resides in California). He's undeterred and defiant, stating that 'murder music' has given reggae a negative image, which is bad for the music industry and for all reggae artists,"  Tatchell said.

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