Next Wednesday, Thanksgiving evening, the notorious "kill the gays" performer Beenie Man is being given the stage at a near South Side venue called "The Shrine" at 2109 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago.
We wish it were possible to say that Beenie Man performs music that is simply engaging entertainment with a great beat and sometimes gritty lyrics. Sadly, he has a long history of frequent calls for violence against gays and lesbians.
Such calls are anything but "entertainment" when directed against a vulnerable and oppressed minority. Two of Beenie Man's songs call for "hanging lesbians with a long piece of rope" and "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays."
Despite years of appeals to change course, he has not repudiated these lyrics, and continues to sing them. In 2009 he performed a "kill the gays" song in the capital of Uganda, a country that has seen a wave of anti-LGBT violence stoked by local politicians and Western evangelists.
Under pressure, in recent years Beenie Man has at times sounded a conciliatory note. He even signed the anti-violence statement, The Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), in 2007. However, he later denied signing the RCA.
As for any apology to gays, in a May 23rd video statement Beenie Man said, "I Never Apologize To Gays." This summer, in what was billed as an "apology," he granted an interview to the national gay magazine, The Advocate. However, in the same interview he said that the only homosexual activity in his native Jamaica involved older, wealthy men preying on heterosexual youth. This narrative is not only directly contradicted by LGBT Jamaicans, but also uses the pretext of protecting youth from sexual predators as an excuse for the country's endemic anti-LGBT violence.
The Shrine has so far ignored the Gay Liberation Network's offer to meet with them to discuss these issues.
We urge you therefore to call and email them today to express your disgust with their giving a venue to a performer who repeatedly calls for lynching LGBTs or any minority. Please demand that they cancel the November 22nd performance of Beenie Man.