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Gay Bashing in Jamaica and the Music Behind It

By mocham89 Jul 16, 2012 2933 Words
Criminology

Final Paper

Gay Bashing in Jamaica and the Music Behind It

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the deviant behavior towards GLBTs in the Caribbean and the small amount of reformation that took place due to these criminal acts. Saying that the civil rights of humans over the past couple of years have not been violated would be a complete and utter lie. There are thousands of people who take part in political protest because they are tired of people listening to the discriminating voices of others, and not to the voices of the people being discriminated against. GLBT have been subjected to numerous counts of hate crimes which not only affect them but their families and next generations to come. This is still a controversial issue because the discrimination against GLBT prohibits gay marriage in certain parts of the World. I also feel this topic is important for people to know about because one day an organization that they might be a part of will be discriminated against just because what they support is different.

In Jamaica, lesbians and gays are the victims of violent persecution which often turns into murder and the ammunition behind the persecution are popular reggae and dancehall songs with their demoralizing lyrics. A 28 year old man by the name of Richard stated in the article Black and Gay and Hunted, “It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban. I wake up in the morning not knowing whether today I will live or die (Tatchell, 2004). ” He considers considered himself one of the lucky ones as he hides the huge scars left behind from a machete attack while the police stood by and watched. There are horrific stories about people running into for their life and not being so lucky. One person ran into a Baptist church and pled for his life at the alter while a small gangs of Jamaican left him full of gun shots. Another man was beaten to death after being accused of looking at a man in Montego Bay. A gay pride march was schedualed in the capital of Jamaica, Kingston, and there for hundreds of people ready to fight for their belief and kill the “battymen” while waving machetes, clubs, guns, bats, knives and any thing they could throw at the participants. When the police finally showed up to the parade it wasn’t to help defend the people marching in the parade but to aim their weapons in disgust to the gays. Under Jamaican law queers who are victimized cannot go to the police for help because the officers are very likely to aid in the assault and in many instances end up arresting them for their own personal hatred. Amnesty International stated that gay and lesbian men have been “beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality (Padgett, 2006) ." Unfortunately as these victims make their way to the hospital are confronted with hostile medical attention if they’re fortunate, others are sometimes not even treated at al or left in the waiting room over night.

Family members have even turned on their own flesh and blood due to their homophobic mentality. In 2004 a teenage boy almost died after his father found out that his son was gay. The father took it upon himself to invite a group of people to lynch his son at his school. With no remorse he expressed his feelings towards his son about his sexual preference and in more ways than one let him know that it was not appropriate. In an article titled Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage the children of GLBT parent discussed how annoyed they were at people who feel that they should join support groups for gays and gay marriage when in reality they want nothing to do with their parent’s sexual preference.

The presence of dancehall music in Jamaica by many artist has left people un-doubtable living in fear for their life on a daily routine. According to Black and Gay and Hunted:

“Homophobic hatred and violence is whipped up by Jamaica's eight leading performers of dance-hall reggae, including Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, Buju Banton and Elephant Man. Their hit tunes urge listeners to shoot, burn, stab, hang and drown gay people. Buju Banton's song "Boom Bye Bye" exhorts listeners to shoot queers in the head, pour acid over them and burn them alive. A track by Elephant Man, "A Nuh Fi Wi Fault", goes: "Battyman fi dead!/Shoot dem like bird." And Beenie Man's "Han Up Deh" includes the incitement: "Hang chi-chi gal [lesbians] with a long piece of rope" (Tatchell, 2004). ”

This very music was played as two distinguished gay activists, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, were murdered and music blasted in the background as a crowd celebrated over Williamson's disfigured body.

One article called Bullers’ and Battymen talks about the primary song that is constantly brought up when discussing West Indian music it is a controversial song called “Boom Bye Bye” by Buju Banton. Two organizations called GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and GMAD (Gay Men of African Decent) joined forces to confront Buju Banton about his lyrics. Buju Banton refused to apologize to the people who took offense to his song because he is committed to “the ‘hardcore dancehall audience’ to whom Banton owes his success (Chin, 1997).” The author gathered information about this particular topic from books, articles about the organizations mentioned, as well as by following the current actions that took place in the Caribbean.

The Most Homophobic Place on Earth by Tim Padget discusses a man name Brian who is one of many to be subjected to multiple blows due to his sexual preference. Brian now wears sunglasses to hide his face so that way people don’t stare at his gray damaged left eye. He endured kicks and hits with a board from the Jamaican celebrity Buju Banton. Brian is a 44 year sold citizen of Jamaica and Buju Banton is a 32 year old and a declared homophobe whose song Boom Bye-Bye states that gays "haffi dead" ("have to die"). Brian told his story about how in June of 2004 Buju Banton and a group of people intruded into his home near Banton's Kingston recording studio and maliciously attacked him along with five other men. Human rights groups filed complaints and Buju was charged for assault but unfortunately shortly after the case was dismissed by the judge due to lack of evidence. After the case Brian then lost his landscaping job and lived in fear of giving out his last name. He then told the press “‘I still go to church,’ he says as he sips a Red Stripe beer. ‘Every Sunday I ask why this happened to me’ (Padgett, 2006). ”

Who's right? Human rights, sexual rights and social change in Barbados discusses Barbadian issues on homosexuality. The concept of “sexual rights” is being discussed but people are making their own assumptions about what “sexual rights” really means. The issue that arose from people comprehending “sexual rights” differently led to the issue of should sexual rights even be verbally discussed. As in, by discussing sexual rights are we just automatically asking for trouble. Do gay rights discussions provide advocates an open door to protrude through, in other words will anyone’s positive voice be heard. People also automatically believe that a discussion about homosexuality will immediately bring up a discussion of injustice, inequality and a complete lack for respect. The author acquired facts to write the article based on the few meetings that were held.

Another article titled, Toward a Nobility of the Imagination: Jamaica's Shame comments on the concept of homosexuality in Jamaica and inquires whether or not homosexuality can actually be accepted. It talks about how we as a society don’t know what the word humanity mean because by exiling homosexuals we are repeating modern day slavery. His findings for this article come from everyday social interactions between people who are gay and people who are not and by hearing things like, “We shoulda kill you the first chance we did get,” as well as “Gwan with that nasty foreign business.”

The graph above shows that in Jamaica people who are over the age of 35 have a higher tolerance for homosexual in politics than those who are between the young adult ages of 18 to 34. While the graph on the bottom shows that out of twenty four countries Jamaica has the lowest support for same sex marriage.

My next article was called Whose Caribbean?: An Allegory, in Part. It focused on a small group of people in Kingston, Jamaica who formed a social group called Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG). The primary focus of this group is to initiate some kind of change in Jamaica and try to expose people towards a more nonchalant, if not positive attitude; make an extent to broaden people’s efforts. The author obtained the material for this article by observing (J-FLAG) as well as asking them question about their intentions and goals as a group. In order to challenge homophobia GLBT Jamaicans asked the British gay group called OutRage! to organize an international solidarity campaign along with a plethora of groups across Europe and the United States. The first part of the campaign will deal with the homophobic music that is still being heard to this very day. The campaign has successfully cancelled dozens of concerts in both the United States and Europe and has cost this homophobic artist millions of dollars in concert sale tickets. Their ultimate purpose is to get the artist to change their anti-gay lyrics.

The whole concept of hatred towards GLBTs can be related to numerous topics follow the definition of social norm. GLBTs are socially exiled because they don’t follow the patterns of everyone else; because they don’t follow the rules that everyone else goes by. Since they do things a bit differently they are deemed as unnatural. The labeling theory, which involves negatively labeling a minority, can also be applied to the situation based on the results I found. I noticed that because people as well as anti-gay reggae songs automatically label GLBTs as something appalling that that is the way people subconsciously treat them. Last but not least the conflict theory mentioned in the text book can also be connected to the foregoing articles. The book states that this theory involves forcing a person to behave in a way via form of action, typically infliction of physical harm, in order to maintain social order. This theory applies to every hate crime and racial slur directed towards GLBTs.

I personally believe that society has a long way to go when it comes to accepting people for who that are. When people are taken from their comfort zone they have a tendency to shun things that are different which I find to be sad but true. One thing I wonder about is rather or not one day GLBT’s will be completely accepted for who they are. I have to come to terms with the fact that at the moment or probably not even in the near future, there is no answer for my proposed question. Some people are open about accepting gays GLBTs for who they are but in the back of my mind I feel that some people will never truly accept others for who they are.

Yet after listening to the justification against GLBT rights I must honestly admit that this research leaves me thinking twice about my own personal distaste for those who dislike gays. People have stated that they are absolutely not tolerant of gay behavior because they feel that it will then lead to man and animals engaging in sexual activity. There is no real limitation on sexual preference thus they feel it is their job to maintain the norm and not let immoral activity spill over the brim of the cup of indulgence. Although I am highly against bestiality someone might say that since its ok for two people of the same sex to mate then why is it not ok for two creatures of the opposite sex to mate. All and all there is justification for everything in life and all these different path that one can choose but unfortunately there is no one definitive path, and even if there was who is to say that that specific path is indeed the right one.

Lyrics

Artist: Buju Banton
Song: Boom Bye Bye

World is in trouble
Anytime Buju Banton come
Batty bwoy get up an run
At gunshot me head back
Hear I tell him now crew

(Its like) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead

(Two man) Hitch up on an rub up on
An lay down inna bed
Hug up on another
Anna feel up leg
Send fi di matic an
Di Uzi instead
Shoot dem no come if we shot dem--
Don't want Jackie
Give dem Paul instead
Dem don't want di sweetness
Between di leg
Gal bend down backway
An accept di peg
An if it really hot
You know she still naw gon fled
A some man
Still don't want di
Panty raid
Pure batty business dem love

(Me say) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote the nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead

(Woman is di) Greatest thing
God ever put pon di land
Buju lovin dem from head
Down to foot bottom
But some man a turn around
Where dem get that from
Peter is not for Janet
Peter is for John
Suzette is not for Paul
Suzette is for Ann
Where the bobocloth
Dem get dat from
Here come the DJ
Name Buju Banton
(Come fi) ((Straighten yuh talk?))

(Boom boom boom) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote the nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
Dem haffi dead

(Caw me say) Dis is not an bargain (Me say)
Dis is not a deal
Guy come near we
Then his skin must peel
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
gwaan buju banton yuh tough

(Me say) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote the batty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
(Hear what now!)

(Two man) A hug up on an kiss up on
An lay down inna bed
Hug up on another
Anna rub dung leg
Send fi di matic an
Di Uzi instead
Shoot di batty boy come if we shot dem--
Dem don't want Jackie
Give dem Paul instead
Don't want di poom poom
Between Patsy leg
All dem want
Is the body from Fred
But dis is Buju Banton
Me say

(Me say) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead

Caw woman is the prettiest thing
God ever put pon di land
Put pon di land (Pu-pu-put pon di land)
But some man a turn around
Where dem get dat from
Peter is not for Janet
Peter is for John
Suzette is not for Paul
Suzette is for Ann
Here come di DJ name Buju Banton (Come fi)
Give di massive
Satisfaction
Happy how yuh lovin (Ju fi)

(So just) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
Dem haffi dead

All a di New York crew
Dem no promote Batty man
Jump an dance
Unno push up unno hand
All di Brooklyn girl
Dem no promote batty man
Jump an bogle
Anna wine yuh bottom
Canadian gals dem no like batty man
If yuh are not one
Yuh haffi push up

(Me say) Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
Dem haffi dead

Bibliography

Chin, Timothy S. "`Bullers' and `Battymen.'" Callaloo 20 (1997): 1-9.

Chin, Timothy S. "Jamaican Popular Culture, Caribbean Literature, and the Representation of Gay and Lesbian Sexuality in the Discourses of Race and Nation.Find More Like This." Small Axe: a Caribbean Journal of Criticism 5 (1999).

Glave, Thomas. "Toward a Nobility of the Imagination: Jamaica's Shame." Small Axe: a Caribbean Journal of Criticism 7 (2000): 122-133.

Glave, Thomas. "Whose Caribbean?: an Allegory, in Part." Callaloo 27 (2004): 671-681

Gutzmore, Cecil. "Casting the First Stone!" Interventions: the International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 6 (2004): 118-134.

Miles, K. (2009). Queer kids of queer parents against gay marriage. WorldPress, http://queerkidssaynomarriage.wordpress.com/2009/10/

Murray, David. "Who's Right? Human Rights, Sexual Rights and Social Change in Barbados." Culture, Health & Sexuality 8 (2006): 267-281.

Tatchell, P. (2004, October 04). Black and gay and hunted. NewStatesman, http://www.newstatesman.com/200410040017

Williams, Lawson. "Homophobia and Gay Rights Activism in Jamaica." Small Axe: a Caribbean Journal of Criticism 7 (2000): 7-15.

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