Dancehall artiste Beenie Man has been removed from the Raggamuffin Music Festival’s line-up after protests by New Zealand’s gay community, Hype Life Magazine has learned.
Beenie Man has been replaced by Diana King. King, best known for her hit song Shy Guy, is the first Jamaican artiste to publicly come out as gay.
Labelled the largest reggae and urban festival in the southern hemisphere, the annual festival is scheduled for the Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand on February 20.
According to organisers, concerns were raised by GayNZ about Beenie Man’s appearance on the show, given his past anti-gay utterances.
The Grammy-winning deejay was offered an opportunity to publicly state his support for the gay community and retract his past lyrics. His failure to do so saw him removed from the bill.
“We took the concerns of the gay community very seriously and sought to address them with Beenie Man. Raggamuffin is a family festival and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sexuality. After being made fully aware of his past comments and lyrics, and continued homophobic attitude, the Raggamuffin team made the decision to remove him from the festival line-up,” said Danny Leaoasavaii, a festival spokesperson.
Beenie has since admitted to the New Zealand press that his homophobic lyrics were wrong and that he is a changed man.
In 2012 he made an apology of sorts on YouTube where he stated that he had nothing against gay people.
“I have nothing against no one. I respect every human being regardless of which race, creed or which religious belief… regardless of which sexual preference you have including gay and lesbian people,” the artiste said at the time.
But it is clear his apology holds no water with the gay activists who claim his post was about self-interest and was insincere.
Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton and Queen Ifrica are just a few Jamaican artistes who have been bashed by international gay communities for their homophobic lyrics.
Beenie Man is among the Jamaican artistes who have retracted homophobic comments made in the past.
Earlier this year, Jamaican pop artiste Shaggy also made headlines when he referred to himself as “the biggest lesbian” when quizzed about his stance on the LGBT community.
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