A reggae artist by the name of Capleton will perform a show at BBKings in New York City tonight, Tuesday, September 14, 2004. He is part of a "One Love" reggae tour.
Love is not a word that Capleton should be allowed to use in his promotions!
Capleton part of a klan of Jamaican artists on the VP Records label that write and record songs glorifying violence against lesbians and gay men. Capleton and his klan have gotten so bad in their virulent homophobia that venues throughout Europe refuse to allow them to perform, and festival sponsors are threatening to pull endorsements.
Now that Capleton and his klan have started recent tours of the United States, gay rights groups in England are calling on Americans to speak-out against them.
Many of Capleton's supporters, including club owners and public relations people, are hiding behing the Freedom-of-Speech mantle, insisting that it is just an opinion of his and he has the right to express it. This is NOT a free-speech issue, nor is this a censorship issue.
In America it is a crime to advocate murder or violence against anybody. Capleton sings and brags about hating and hurting homosexuals, and calls on others to incite violent attacks on homosexuals. This is outrageous and criminal. People like Capleton and his klan are criminals, not artists. This is not a freedom-of-speech issue, this is an issue of crime and violence.
Below is the list of venues where Capleton will appear on this US Tour. If one of these is in your area, please consider calling and asking them if they know about Capleton's homophobic lyrics and ask if they support his right to sing those songs of hate from their stage.
Also below is a sampling of Capleton’s lyrics along with simple translations to the vernacular. These lyrics are not presented out of context. Viewing an entire list of his lyrics will show you that the spirit of hate is rampant.
Please contact BBKings TODAY and tell them you are opposed to them providing a stage for inciting hate and violence towards homosexuals.
To contact BBKings:
I hope you will take a moment to make the call or send the message. When we remain silent, we give our tacit approval. If we do not contact BBKings and other venues, they do not know we disapprove.
This klan of hateful reggae performers includes:
Beenie Man (Anthony Moses Davis)
Bounty Killer (Rodney Price)
Buju Banton (Mark Myrie)
Capleton (Clifton George)
Elephant Man (O'Neil Bryan)
Sizzla (Miguel Orlando Collins)
T.O.K. (Alistaire McCalla, Roshaun Clarke, Craig Patrick, Anthony Thompson, Xavier Davidson)
Vybz Kartel (Adidja Palmer)
Please boycott their products and speak-out against them. Any internet search for their lyrics will show not a spirit of One Love, but profitrering from hate and violence intertwined with trendy cliches about freedom. Even if one of them can deny homophobia, they are complicit until they speak-out against this hatred.
This is the message I sent to BBKings:
I am disheartened to see that BB Kings is hosting a CAPLETON show on 14 SEP.
Capleton's message is one of hate and intolerance. His homophobic lyrics might have a place in a repressive and hostile Jamaican culture, but they have no place in America, especially in New York City.
Have you listened to Capleton's songs? Do you know what message he preaches?
If he sang about black people the way he sings about homosexuals would you allow him to perform at BB Kings?
To allow Capleton to use your stage for your own profit is to profit from the continued harassment, discrimination and murder of homosexuals in America.
I would like to know your position on this controversial artist and why you are letting him use your venue to spread a message of hate, violence and intolerance.
This is the reply I received, which I allowed them to sanitize for publication:
If we here at B.B.King's thought for even a minute that any of our artists stood for ideals as appalling as those that discriminated against homosexuality please know that we would at least think heavily upon our decision of having them perform here- B.B. King Blues Club is a venue made up of individuals that represent a myriad of personalities, tastes and preferences- all of which we embrace. No one here, including the booking agent, is aware of Capleton being anti-gay. Perhaps you are thinking of another artist (I do know that as of late much controversy has developed in regards to Beanie Man's anti-gay statements and lyrics)...In any case, B.B. King's tends to take an appropriate position as regards hosting different artists that have different beliefs- by "appropriate" I mean to say that B.B. King's does not necessarily support every sentiment expressed by each of its performing artists but as a non-partisan venue we do give way to artists even if they do have different beliefs than our own. Richard, in all honesty, if we thought that any artist was due to convey anti- anyone sentiments from our stage, we would not book that artist. The Capleton show, however, is already booked (again, without any knowledge of his anti- gay stance) and we therefore are obligated to feature his performance (tickets have been sold, flights have been made, production schedules finalized, etc). Please do note though that B. B. King's expects nothing else that night but great reggae music, great food and great service. Of course, at anytime, feel free to contact me directly with any additional concerns you might have.
From all of us here we wish you and yours a wonderful day.
This is the reply I sent back:
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.
I understand and accept that you do not think that Capleton will sing homophobic songs from the stage at BBKings; but that doesn't mean he does not sing songs that advocate violence against homosexuals.
This is the issue that concerns me: BBKings is OK with paying him as long as he doesn't sing those particular songs, but in BBKings opinion he has the freedom of speech to sing whatever he wants elsewhere.
I think this position is hypocritical at best, and promotes violence against homosexuals at worst. (Even if you don't intend it.)
Beenie Man is taking the heat right now, but gay groups in Europe are urging Americans to speak-out against the homophobia in the songs of all the VP Records stable of artists.
Some of Capleton's lyrics are listed below. I have not posted the entire lyric of each song, but I assure you there is no way these lines are taken out of context in anyway. These are references to gay men and lesbians, and the lyrics specifically call for violence against them.
I hope that BBKings will consider taking some public position on this issue beyond the 'freedom of speech' stance that is so often put forth when discussing homophobia in American culture. I repeat what I said in our phone call and my previous email: if he was calling for violence against people of color you would not give him a voice on your stage. I challenge you to apply the same test to homophobia that you apply to racism.
Next, I contacted The Atlantic Connection, in Martha's Vineyard:
Dear Altantic Connection staff:
I see from a concert tour list that you are renting your stage to Capleton, on Thursday, September 16, 2004.
Capleton is one of a number of Jamaican artists on the VP Records label that has written and recorded songs that call for violence against lesbians and gay men. Capleton and his cohorts have gotten so virulent in their hatred of their fellow human beings that venues and sponsors around the world are refusing to be affiliated with them. Capleton and his cohorts are touring the United States and human rights groups are calling on Americans to speak-out against them.
This is NOT a censorship issue. In America it is a crime to advocate murder or violence against anybody. Capleton sings and brags about hating and hurting homosexuals, and calls on others to incite violent attacks on homosexuals. This is outrageous and unAmerican. People like Capleton and his cohorts are criminals, not artists. This is not a freedom-of-speech issue, this is an issue of crime and violence.
Below are a sampling of Capleton’s lyrics along with translations into the American vernacular. These lyrics are not presented out of context, they represent a horribly violent attitude that has no place in the United States.
I know it is unlikely that you would do anything to stop this show, but I hope you will read the lyrics of Capleton’s songs and confront the artist about what he intends to do with your stage. I am opposed to you providing a stage for inciting hate and violence towards homosexuals, and I also know that you are in this for the money, not the love. I am not asking you to be spokespeople for gay rights, but please read the lyrics of Capleton’s songs and please consider confronting the artist about his message of violence and hate.
If he was singing these lyrics about people of color or women, would you grant him a voice at your venue?
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I received this reply:
1st amendment right to free speech. Accept it. Please do not e-mail again."
Since Atlantic Connection is so dismissive of this issue, please write them at this address and demand they explain themselves: Send e-mail to Michjmv@aol.com at Atlantic Connection
At least BBKings had the decency to engage in a dialogue, even if they exposed themselves as more concerned with profit than the safety of fellow Americans and the protection of our Constitution from outsiders who would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights.
Please speak-up about this issue. If we continue to let people hide behind the Bill of Rights while they call for the murder of American citizens, we will see a future filled not with love and harmony, but discord, violence and death.
Capleton Lyric samples:
"Bun Out Di Chi Chi"
Bun out ah chi chi, Blood out ah chi chi
(Burn out a queer, Blood out a queer)
Batty dem ah fuck and ah suck too much pussy
(Queers are fucking and sucking too much pussy)
/In Jamaica, pussy can refer to oral sex in general, which is also considered sodomy/
Blood out ah chi chi, Blood out ah shitty
(Blood out a queer, Blood out a shit (fucker)
/Blood out: as in chop, cut, stab, this is a particularly violent expression/
Sadomite and batty man mi shot up...Whoa
(Sodomite and queer man, I shoot up)
Shoulda know seh Capleton bun battyman
(You should know that Capleton burns queers)
Dem same fire apply to di lesbian
(The same fire applies to lesbians)
Seh mi bun everything from mi know seh dem gay
(Say, I burn everything as long as I know that they’re gay)
All boogaman and sodemites fi get killed
(All queers and sodomites should be killed)
"Hang Dem Up"
Yow...String dem up and hang dem up alive
(String them up and hang them up alive)
Bare batty man come round yah
(All queers who come around here)
Dis mamma earth sey none can survive
(This mama earth says none can survive)
Outrage! message board entry
Q-Online list of lyrics
UK Blackout website article
Chicago Independent Media Center article
Party Spress Message Board thread
Toronto Star article
New York Times article (may require registration)
Jamaica Observer article