As I’ve been discussing, Jewish singer Matisyahu was banned from the Rototom Sunsplash reggae music festival in Spain after the organizers demanded that he issue a declaration in favor of Palestinian statehood. The festival organizers, however, appear to be hosting an artist called Capleton, who has been cited by Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, GLAAD, and the Southern Poverty Law Center for his lyrics espousing violence against gays and lesbians.
Last month, two Canadian radio stations pulled their sponsorship of an upcoming Edmonton reggae festival over the participation of Capleton and two other artists, due to lyrics that “encourage violence against the LGBTQ community,” according to CBC News. In May of 2014, the group Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand (JAHS) in New York City protested Capleton’s performance at the BB King Blues Club & Grill, stating:
Jamaican reggae performer Capleton is known for his songs that call for LGBT people to be killed and makes comments from the stage calling for LGBT people to be killed. Capleton signed the Reggae Compasionate Act agreement (an agreement to not promote hatred and violence) in the middle of 2007 and broke the agreement on 12/24/07.
In 2010, several of his performances in the US were cancelled after GLAAD, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, called on promoters to take action. GLAAD wrote that “Capleton continues to perform songs with virulently anti-gay lyrics that promote committing violent acts against the LGBT people, including murder.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center confirms that Capleton is one of eight reggae singers considered to be part of the “murder music” trend, and that although Capleton signed the Reggae Compassion Act pledge to cease such violent lyrics in 2007, he did not keep that pledge.
According to Time magazine, here are some of Capleton’s lyrics:
Shoulda know seh Capleton bun battyman [burn gays]/ Dem same fire apply to di lesbian/ All boogaman [gays] and sodomites fi get killed.
The producers of Rototom Sunsplash, however, don’t seem to have any issue with Capleton, as he is featured in their lineup and scheduled to perform on Wednesday the 19th.
It’s certainly not the first time that we’ve seen anti-Semitism and homophobia go hand in hand. I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Thanks to Ike Aramba @shmarxism on twitter for the lead and to Gilead Ini for the lyrics.