Kingston, Jamaica – 25 July 2006 - The recently rejuvenated Caribbean Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (C-FLAG) is greatly disturbed by a recent development in the region which has made notoriously homophobic dancehall artiste Beenie Man one of the performers of the official anthem of the Stanford 20/20 Tournament sponsored by Texas Billionaire Allen Stanford – owner of Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun Airlines and organised by Kelly Holding Ltd. According to a Stanford 20/20 press release, the song will be played on radio stations across the Caribbean region and at every match during the tournament.
Stanford 20/20 is being promoted as unifying the Caribbean and being the new vision for West Indies cricket yet the decision to select Beenie Man seems extremely short sighted in the least, given the singer’s history of promoting intolerance and violence against lesbians and gays in his musical lyrics. Not to mention, the threat this poses to the great reputation of West Indies cricket, which can easily be eroded internationally by the ill repute of Beenie Man for inciting hate and disunity on the basis of sexual identity. And, according to Stanford 20/0 promotional materials, several Caribbean cricketing legends have given their support to Beenie Man’s involvement in the project.
C-FLAG believes artistes chosen for such an instrumental purpose should not only possess talent in their particular musical genre but also an untarnished track record of promoting non-violence, tolerance, respect and love for all, regardless of sexual identity. There are many other talented dancehall artistes who embody these principles, some of whom have openly spoken out against homophobia.
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C-FLAG strongly urges Allen Stanford and Kelly Holding Ltd. to take a stand against homophobia in the Caribbean by recalling the song from all radio stations and by discontinuing its play in original form as long as Beenie Man is featured in it.