Murder Music Campaign Suspended as Truce Offered to Gay Activists
February 7, 2005
By Ben Townley
The campaign against music that incites violence towards
lesbian and gay people could be on the verge of halting today, after
organisers agreed to a new partnership with representatives of the reggae
The ceasefire comes after a long running and high profile
campaign against many dancehall and reggae stars that are accused of calling
for the killing of lesbians and gay men through their song lyrics.
In the past 12 months, it has already resulted in
cancelled tours, revoked award nominations and the threat of prosecution.
The deal will see those organisations involved in the
Stop Murder Music coalition (SMM) creating a framework for “conflict
resolution” with key players in the reggae music industry.
These will include concert promoters and independent
The halt will be a tentative one though, with members of
SMM admitting they will relaunch their campaign should the agreement be
breached. However, they have pledged to recognise the work being done to move
forward on the debate of homophobia within song lyrics.
“This is the first step in an important process” said
the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group’s Dennis Carney today.
“We welcome this framework agreement and are suspending
the Stop Murder Music campaign,” Outrage’s Brett Lock added.
“We are giving the singers and the music industry an
opportunity to draw a line under the promotion of lyrics that incite violence
against lesbians and gay men.”
Artists involved in the campaign have apparently
committed themselves to not making anti-gay comments in public, and
subsequently not inciting violence towards lesbian and gay people.
However, one campaigner has said the fight is not yet
Brighton’s Green City Councillor and long time
supporter of the SMM’s campaign Simon Williams, says record stores must also
be involved in the stand off and should withdraw the offending albums.
He has already written to the major chains in Brighton
calling for them to do so, but has so far received no response.
“This agreement between some record production
companies, their artists and the Stop Murder Music Coalition, is a step
forward in the wider campaign against murder music,” he said today.
“However, the agreement does not affect the retail
“The big stores still refuse to agree to take music
off-sale containing lyrics that incite the murder—including the hanging,
burning and shooting of gay people and other groups in a city with a large
lesbian and gay community,” he said, adding that as well as change in the
retail sector, the government must also oversee better protection for LGBT
“The long-term solution is for the Government to
introduce legislation to protect all groups from incitement to hatred. But,
before that happens, the big record stores should take a moral lead and
withdraw from sale the small minority of tracks with murder lyrics that they
promote and sell.”
The gay councillor has now pledged to continue fighting
the record shops in Brighton and across the rest of the UK.
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