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Reggae stars ELEPHANT MAN and SIZZLA have been forced to cancel two concerts in Toronto, Canada, after locals protested against their homophobic lyrics.
Elephant Man was due to play at Kool Haus on Friday (05Oct07), but the gig was pulled following an outrage by the Stop Murder Music Canada coalition – a group of organisations seeking to have the Pon Di River star and his peers banned from the country because of their "hate propaganda".
Sizzla’s 28 September show at the same venue was also pulled over the controversy.
Akim Larcher, the founder of Stop Murder Music, says, "They shouldn’t have been allowed to get visas to perform in the country. It’s not about censorship or artistic freedom. That stops when hate propaganda is involved."
Carleton students cancel performance by artist who called for killing of gays
William Lin, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, October 02, 2007
A performance by Jamaican reggae dancehall artist Elephant Man has been cancelled after a public outcry over some of his song lyrics about killing gay people, organizers said Wednesday.
Elephant Man was slated to perform Thursday after he was invited by the Carleton University Students Association.
But strong opposition came from the community and a Toronto-based coalition that said the lyrics are hateful.
Canada’s Stop Murder Music coalition had sharply criticized the scheduled show, saying the lyrics have called for the killing of gays and lesbians.
In one song, Log On, Elephant man sings: "Join our dance and let’s burn out the queer man."
"The student association did the right thing and stepped up to the plate and did their social responsibility in holding up Canadian laws and values," said Akim Larcher, a spokesman for the Toronto-based Canada’s Stop Murder Music coalition.
"It’s unfortunate that they didn’t do the proper research and background information on the artist, that they had to make a decision after the fact."
The students’ association initially said the reggae artist has changed his views, and that he would not be performing any old songs. "He no longer holds those views," Osmel Maynes, the executive who organized the concert, said last week.
The artist sent the association a written statement indicating that he wouldn’t perform the songs in question and that any music he performs "should not advocate violence against any person or group of persons, as all human life is sacred."
Ms. Melanson said she hoped the turnaround would be seen as positive.
"We thought this was an opportunity to turn this into a positive event and use it to combat homophobia. Unfortunately, Stop Murder Music didn’t feel this way."
Mr. Larcher said Elephant Man has not made any public statements denouncing those views and continues to perform the anti-gay songs in Jamaica, where gay-bashing is a big problem, he said. This year alone in Jamaica, 98 gays and lesbians were attacked in 43 incidents, Mr. Larcher said. Four gay men were killed, while four lesbians were raped, he said.
On St. Valentine’s Day, three homosexuals were cornered in a pharmacy by a mob. "There were 200 or more people outside screaming and calling for their death. Police intervened and gunshots were fired and tear gas was sprayed in order to disperse the crowd," he said. Some people in the crowd were singing anti-gay lyrics from dancehall songs, he added.
Refunds for those who bought Elephant Man tickets will be available at point of sale with proof of purchase, the students association said.