CommunityPam's House Blend

LIFEbeat continues its support of homobigoted performers

LIFEbeat issued a statement regarding the invitation of Beenie Man and TOK to its benefit concert — the organization will not back down from supporting performers who call for the murder of gays and lesbians in their lyrics. It’s all about outreach, you know.

The ignorance — and arrogance — take my breath away.


LIFEbeat’s mission is to utilize the power of music to raise awareness and educate in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Caribbean American community has been tremendously affected by the HIV/AIDS virus and has long kept silent about the epidemic’s effect on their community for fear of being stigmatized.

When planning the upcoming Hearts & Voices Reggae Gold concert, LIFEbeat’s staff and board knew this event might raise concerns by some in the gay community and required careful consideration before proceeding. LIFEbeat’s staff and board do not condone anti-gay lyrics or violence against anyone; they are an organization dedicated to promoting life. The staff and board also strongly believe that dialogue opens doors, creating the opportunity for enlightenment, growth and change amongst all involved. We all have an opportunity to look to the future, not the past, and join together in solidarity to educate, enlighten, be a part of positive change and save lives.

Jody L. Miller
JLM PR, Inc.
580 Broadway, Ste. 1208
New York, N.Y. 10012
p: 212.431.5227
f: 212.431.6818

Stirring up controversy and getting press trumps doing the right thing. They have no problem giving a platform to those who spew hate and advocate violence? Priorities are clearly not in order here.

Keith Boykin heard from openly gay board member of LIFEbeat, Emil Wilbekin, and his take was that since the vast majority of artists in the reggae genre are homophobic, so it is too difficult to find performers who aren’t bigots. Come on. That doesn’t excuse booking people to play who make a living singing about killing gays and lesbians.

Terrance spells it out for the empty heads at LIFEbeat:

There is an undeniable connection between that violence and music that celebrates shooting gays in the head, hanging them, or burning them alive.

These artists have not repudiated the violence in their lyrics. They have blood on their hands, and LIFEbeat has blood on its hands by association if they promote these artists and doesn’t use its influence to encourage the artist to repudiate the violence in their lyrics.

This is not a game LIFEbeat; gay AIDS activists have been killed. No one is saying that Beenie Man and TOK don’t have the right to sing about whatever they want — but your organization doesn’t have to endorse the spread of bigotry at an event that is supposed to promote education and tolerance.

Why is this contradiction so difficult to understand?

And where is LIFEbeat advisor Hilary Rosen on this? I hear crickets chirping…

Hilary B. Rosen
BermanRosen Consulting
office 202.354.8210
fax 202.354.8201

Remember, no one would let a right-leaning organization off the hook for doing something egregious like this. These folks are supposed to be our allies.

Where are HRC…GLAAD? Don’t they have any comment?

HRC Press Resources

Luis Vizcaiño
Communications & Marketing Director
e-mail Luis

Jay Smith Brown
Director for Communication Strategies
e-mail Jay

Brad Luna
Director of Media Relations
e-mail Brad

Michael Cole
Senior Communications & Media Center Manager
e-mail Michael

GLAAD’s “incident report” form:
phone: (212) 629-3322
fax: (212) 629-3225

More coverage:
* DKos
* Why Straight People Should Care about Gay Rights

See my earlier posts here and here.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding