Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Rappers 'Targets' For Prosecutors For Song Lyrics

An inquiry into homophobia in song lyrics and within the media has been launched by police and Crown prosecutors. The targets include four rap / hip hop artist.
The crackdown on offensive material has been set up following a growing number of complaints to police about allegedly homophobic language.
As part of the review, the Crown Prosecution Service is re-examining the lyrics of four of the most famous Jamaican dancehall artists who are accused of using homophobic language, including calls to kill gays, to consider charging them with criminal offences.
There has been growing frustration within the police and gay communities that despite apparently explicit lyrics and comments that are clearly homophobic, there have been no prosecutions.
The Metropolitan Police's racial and violent crime task force last night met the CPS to discuss allegations of homophobic and threatening song lyrics by the four artists Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man and Buju Banton.
The Association of Chief Police Officers is also drawing up a dossier on allegations of homophobia in the media, including newspaper articles, television and radio, and on websites. The joint inquiries aim to assess the scale of the problem and to establish what evidence is needed before a prosecution can be brought.
One of the main difficulties for the CPS has been to decide what constitutes freedom of speech and what is considered to be inciting a person to commit a crime of violence.
If a person or organisation is found to be using extreme homophobic language they could be prosecuted for inciting a number of offences including assault, actual bodily harm, and grievous bodily harm.
Gay rights groups have been particularly outraged by the 31-year-old artist Beenie Man, who real name is Anthony Moses Davis. In June, a concert in Hackney in east London was cancelled after he was stopped at Heathrow by detectives from Scotland Yard and questioned about lyrics such as, "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the queers".
Peter Tatchell, of the gay human rights group OutRage! said yesterday that his organisation had written to Virgin Records, and its parent company EMI, to protest over their signing and promoting of Beenie Man. The letter points out that four of Beenie Man's past songs urge listeners to "shoot" and "hang" gay people he abuses as "queers" and "faggots".
Mr Tatchell said: "Free speech does not include the right to encourage the criminal act of murder."
Boom bye bye inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Send fi di matic an di Uzi instead
Shoot dem no come if we shot dem
Guy come near we then his skin must peel
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
(Shoot a queer in the head
Rude boys don't promote queers
They have to die
Send for the automatic gun instead
Shoot them, don't help them
If a guy comes near we pour acid over him
Burn him like a tyre wheel)

Taken from Rap News Direct

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