This is an issue that bothers me almost every time I attend a Caribbean fete and so I've decided to address it on my platform. This is a PSA to Caribbean DJ's to please stop playing homophobic music. At the time of writing this blog we are at the tail-end of Pride Month in the year 2021 and yet this IS still happening.
I've been partying on the Caribbean scene a loooooong time - save your old jokes lol - we all know that there's a pattern to crowd engagement and DJ mixes. There is almost always a segment at every party where there's a throwback to some old-school dancehall and everybody sings along and it's all good vibes and koombaya except that the lyrics that people are mindlessly singing is about shooting and killing someone because of their sexual preference.
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Dem haffi dead
Even Buju Banton has recognized that words matter and has stopped performing this song since 2007 and has removed this song in particular from his catalogue of music. In his own words:
“I affirm once and for all that everyone has the right to live as they so choose. In the words of the great Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends.’
But yet it persists. And this of course is not the only song. Dancehall / Reggae is definitely not the only offender. Why is this still happening? Homophobia is not a culture. Hate is not something we promote. I would like to think that we have (hopefully) progressed as countries, as people, in our ideologies.
As someone who has planned events, I always make it very clear to DJ's that I hire that any song that has homophobic lyrics are never to be played at my event. I implore event producers, fete promoters, party planners, to write this into your contracts, and to have the conversation.
The optimist in me does not think that these songs are played with malicious intent. It's just something that we've grown accustomed to, something done by rote, an easy gimmick to get a crowd response. But it's absolutely something we should become more mindful of. And if you have any talent as a DJ your repertoire of hits is surely more extensive, you can pull more tricks out of your crate (there I go showing my age again).
Change begins with us. Make a conscious decision to act out of love, empathy and compassion. As patrons we need to CALL IT OUT, make some noise, let them know it matters to us.
Here's a link to my Instagram post that was shared wildly, and the keyboard warriors came for me! Ask me if I care. I'll continue to advocate for human rights and for everyone to live their full, authentic lives without shame and ridicule!
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