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Time for T&T to join the modern world
There are people in the UK who are wary of coming to the Caribbean because of its reputation for homophobia.
Recently, a world map was published online with countries where homosexuality is illegal marked in red. There were a few pockets: the Middle East, parts of Africa and these paradise islands.
It seems ludicrous that such an idyll can still produce hate of any kind, let alone hate inspired by other people’s love. Men loving other men and women loving other women. It doesn’t fit with the elements the modern Caribbean brands itself with—freedom, equality, hedonism.
I’ve never researched Bob Marley’s views on homosexuality. I don’t want to know. If he was homophobic, would that mean I’d have to stop listening to his records? I don’t want to imagine that Bob, with his redemption songs about getting together and feeling all right, could have hate for anybody. Unlike Buju Banton and, more comically, Shabba Ranks.
In 1994, when the Buju Banton song Boom Bye Bye was banned in England, Shabba appeared on a music talk show. When asked if he was a Buju Banton fan, he made what was possibly his worst PR move ever, forgot that he wasn’t supposed to be homophobic on national television.
“Most definitely,” Ranks growled, “if you forfeit the law of God almighty you deserve crucifixion.” But Ranks, having dug his trench, was determined to bury himself. He further said, “I live by the concept of the Bible. And the Bible say man must multiply. Multiplication is done by a male and a female...”
Clearly having offended a great many people, his records never sold successfully again in England. Boom Bye Bye went further than homophobia. It reduced gays and lesbians in Jamaica to the lowest status in society, worthy of death, creating a climate of constant fear for gays and lesbians.
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