Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
I was one of those black women who immediately got upset with Buju Banton over his browning: "Mi love mi car, mi love mi bike, mi love mi money an ting/But most of all mi love mi browning." Quick to dismiss the youthful DJ as just the typical Jamaican man hung up on light skin, we let him have it.
After the first wave of vexation passed, we took consolation in the fact that we actually didn't want to be just one of a string of objects, however beloved. The unfortunate rhyming of the all-inclusive 'ting' and 'browning' reinforced the sense of the woman as mere commodity.
It took me quite a long time to emancipate myself from mental slavery and admit that the song wasn't simply a generic celebration of brownness as distinct from, and superior to, blackness. Buju was really singing the praises of a particular browning, his Lorna. Even more to the point, what Buju explicitly valued about Lorna was not her colour at all. It was her faith in his unquestionable love despite all the planning and scheming and conning of "di old viper dem - Pamela and Dawn, Suzette and Karen" - who were packing up her head with doubts about his integrity. Lorna stubbornly refused to listen.
Sensitive to the negativity the song provoked, Buju tried to do damage control: "Mi can't stop cry fi all black woman/nuff tings a gwaan fi unu complexion." Buju tried his best to kiss and make up. But we didn't want any condescending tears of sympathy: "Nothing no wrong wid wi, so wi no waan nobody sorry fi wi." Poor Buju: damned if he did and damned if he didn't. He was caught in a vice.
'Rastaman at di control'
These days, Buju Banton is literally imprisoned in the United States penal colony, charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. I don't want to believe a word of it. I've deliberately not read the damning affidavit because I'm like Lorna on this one: :All di rumour di informer dem a spread me just not listening."
I'm the first to admit that I am totally prejudiced in favour of Buju Banton's innocence. Completely. Irrationally. I've made a pre-judgement and I don't want any 'facts' to confuse the issue. Even if I were to see the video of the knife-licking, I would refuse to believe the evidence of my own eyes. In this instance, faith is not the substance of things hoped for or the evidence of things not seen. It is hope that there is no evidence that Buju was dealing in the substance.
The Mark Myrie I think I know is an honourable man. I've visited his Gargamel studio on more than one occasion and sat in on the reasonings that flow freely in the yard. The day I went to confirm arrangements for the launch of his Rasta Got Soul album at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in April last year, I got caught up for more than three hours in philosophical conversation on the meaning of life. 'Yu done know how Rastaman love fi reason - especially when dem got soul.'
And on that score, I must big up Dr Leahcim Semaj for lifting the level of talk radio in Jamaica over the last few months with his 'reasoning' programme. It is so inspiring to listen to an 'upful' public intellectual who is in touch with the masses of the people and yet doesn't think he needs to talk down to us to be popular. I also have to give 'nuff respects' to Mutabaruka for his brilliant new TV show. 'Two Rastaman at di control.' How things and times have changed in Jamaica!
'Hills and Valleys'
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at UWI, Mona, of the Report on the Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica, written by Rex Nettleford, Roy Augier and M.G. Smith. On the recommendation of yet another rastaman at the control, Dr Jalani Niaah of the UWI will host an international conference to acknowledge the anniversary: 'Negotiating the African Presence: Rastafari Livity and Scholarship'. The date of this historic conference, August 17-20, was chosen to celebrate the birthday of Marcus Garvey whose vision of African redemption is so central to the Rastafari movement.
A foundational theme in Rastafari philosophy is repatriation to Africa, whether physically or ideologically. Buju Banton's Hills and Valleys is a powerful evocation of this desire to return to ancestral homelands. In his present state of imprisonment 'a farin', the insistently repetitive lyrics are heartbreaking:
It hard, it hard, it hard
Let them know we waan go
home a we yard
It hard, it hard, it hard
Oh God, we waan go home!
Marcus Garvey offers Buju stern advice in the introduction to his poem 'The Tragedy of White Injustice': "The object I have in view is to get the Negro to accomplish much for himself out of his own thoughtfulness. To arouse that thoughtfulness, he must be shocked or otherwise he must be driven to see the unusual that is operating against him, and so this little pamphlet was written during a time of leisure in jail in 1927."
Buju's shocking imprisonment gives him the 'leisure' to reflect on his folly in mixing up himself with the wrong crowd; or worse, being guilty as charged - a possibility I do concede in moments of rationality. All the same, mi naa stop cry fi di Gargamel 'til im step outa Babylon prison an come back a yard.
Carolyn Cooper is professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Send feedback to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lesbian community specifically saw a continued onslaught of homophobic incidents with the so described and disturbing “Corrective Rape” cases continuing from 2008. We saw allegedly 5 cases in 2008 and a further 4 for 2009 with one couple who had relocated from another parish to restart their lives due to a previous homophobic attack of a different nature falling victims to this awful scourge.
Homophobic and related incidents
Gay persons murdered in 2009 rose to 7 from 4 in 2008 according to my information here with of course the three more prominent cases being that of British Ambassador Mr. John Terry, the founder of the adult entertainment website Rudejam who was found dead in his apartment in December 2009 with several stab wounds and the operator of Café Aubegine who was found with his throat slashed at his Mona address. Arrests have been made by the Police on the first and third cases aforementioned that of Mr. John Terry but the case stalled late in 2009 and should recommence in 2010. The alleged male tenant of the home of the restaurateur was arrested after evidence pointed to him having blood from the deceased on his hands, in his defense he has said he tried to stop the bleeding of the victim after hearing cries for help and arriving in the bedroom to find him on the floor with his throat slashed open, he used his hands to try to slow down the hemorrhaging.
The general public’s belief that the violence meted to gays are done by other gay persons has left an air of sinicism about the cases mentioned above so the interest in having them solved has waned greatly and they are overlooked in a sense by the relevant authorities or the pace has dramatically slowed as other societal issues take precedence.
Community based violence also increased in my estimation just by the reports with the two most prominent being the house attack in South Central Jamaica where a lovers quarrel ended up with a mob called in by one of the persons involved alleging that the other was gay and leaving the victim with bruises all over and the loss of personal items. The other very public gouging of the eye incident that has been followed closely by the mainstream media especially the Jamaica Observer, the accused has since been bailed and the trial continues despite the victim’s call the drop the charges and discontinuing the case which could not be done as the presiding judge explained that seeing a police report was filed and things set in motion that could not be undone. Other small skirmishes occurred but were not of major significance and the entertainment scene saw a leveling off of fights and incidents much to the delight of party goers.
Social support and other similar activities from the sole formal GLTBQ organization JFLAG waned significantly, the usual press release followed major incidents and commentary in the respective print media however many persons specifically the homeless MSM problem which came to a head in 2008 – 9 left an ugly scar on the landscape with controversy surrounding the snap resignation of the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s Executive Director due to a housing project meltdown and the decision by the NGO’s board to discontinue the activities with this group which included a safe house of sorts operated on the property. (See post following this) It is not yet clear as to JFLAG’s position on this issue as they have been mum as expected on the matter.
There seems to be a fear that issues must be kept secret from the rest of the community on general matters of interest. The ED of JASL at the time of this post was said to be travelling and could not be reached for comment. The homeless MSM saga became a sticky issue due to the lack of funds as said by JFLAG to adequately address the persons who fall in this category, it was the ED’s involvement in this matter that saw an upturn in the HIV/AIDS, behavior change intervention within the community and the impact was felt island wide however many are doubtful now and upset at the turn of events with mistrust re-emerging in as far as accessing testing/treatment services. This sensitive matter is being watched closely by ordinary gays on the ground as well as others in international circles including funders and concerned Jamaicans living abroad. Questions are being raised as to why it took JASL to do that kind of activity and not JFLAG fully?
Jamaican dancehall artists came under intense pressure and scrutiny from overseas GLBTQ groups specifically in the EU and the United States with emphasis under the Stop Murder Music campaign and similar typed activism. Many artists were blocked from entering countries and cities like Canada, The US (San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles), Luxemburg, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad, and Copenhagen to name a few. Mr. Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton of course made headlines from as early as June 2008 when his CD launch and subsequent tour dates were announced. He faced protests and a hazing incident at one of his concerts in Los Angeles over his lyrics in the song “Boom Bye Bye” (Inna Battyboi head) that advocated death by shooting etc on gay men. He eventually met with a group in San Francisco to work out a supposed compromise which turned out to be a public relations stunt to avoid further cancellations of his tour dates in the US which was bleeding millions of dollars. The lack of support from other dancehall acts openly was telling as it seems many were afraid of the impact it may have had on their careers and earnings from tours and CD sales if a backlash should occur.
The lack of support from the Jamaican GLTBQ community was also telling as the cancel Buju Banton website formed by a key player in the campaign has brought to bear that very few Jamaicans registered to be a part of the agitation from our supporters up north.
His subsequent arrest by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in December on alleged cocaine trafficking charges in Florida was linked by some as a “set up” by the powerful gay lobby who are using the issue to destroy his career. As it has now turned out both issues are unrelated and public support which was strong for him at first has down died down tremendously. JFLAG had tried to diffuse the rumour mill by publishing a letter to the Jamaica Observer and radio interviews on same.
Asylum seekers and professionals left in greater numbers in 2009 that probably any other time in our recent history as persons were distraught by the conditions they had to endure from bias to fear of violence in their communities. Others left because of economic reasons to pursue better opportunities in work and study. JFLAG and Women for Women lost its Co-chair and Chair respectively (one individual) in this grouping as well. Many took the opportunity to use the favourable asylum policies of some EU states in as far as homophobic threat was concerned and have been assimilating in the respective countries. It is hoped that links can be forged with those abroad to better agitate for rights based issues here at home and their financial support would be indeed welcomed. In trying to track the numbers it is estimated that more than 23 persons have taken the move some reluctantly as the possibility of return is not anytime soon, it is not yet known if JFLAG has a head count for this year or if they have been tracking it closely as some persons access them for information of the procedures necessary.
As it relates to law we saw the passing of the revised Sexual Offences Bill with the deliberate exclusion of gender and sexual orientation discrimination clauses removed after vigorous debate and lobby from the anti gay establishment chief among them Lawyers Christian Fellowship/Council led by chief homophobe Atty-at-Law Ms Shirley Richards.
There were no submissions from the gay lobby during this crucial debate along with the Charter of Rights roster as well. The government capitulated to this move by the group in a bid to sure up political mileage and pushed the well timed “No to Gay Marriage” smoke screen launched by Prime Minister Golding just before the US President Obama signed their version of the Act to make it a federal offence for crimes against persons due to sexual orientation and gender discrimination playing with public sentiments on homosexuality in general. The gay community in Jamaica never asked for gay marriage rights during the Charter’s or SOB debates. It seemed to have worked as we have been overlooked in both pieces of legislation.
The Charter of Rights in the meantime was passed in the upper house and has been sent back to the lower house for ratification within some days time (normally 60 days or so) it should be debated there again possibly gazzetted and sent back to the upper house for final passage. Sadly very little was done in the community to sensitize persons on the importance of such a Charter and the possible implications it may have on the Buggery Act and specifically male homosexual sex in general. The government is intent it seems on a theocracy becoming moral dictators for private citizens’ decisions.
Nearly all mediums of media had a thing or two to say or publish in 2009 on GLBTQ issues but in fairness most of the publications were fair and some even went as far as to examine Jamaica’s homophobic problem, strong articles by commentators such as Ian Boyne, John Maxwell and Martin Henry were crucial in that examination.
The juxtaposing of religion, sexuality and gender issues were refreshingly good to see coming from the aforementioned as prior t recent times their writings were somewhat of a biased nature. What was clearly lacking was the standpoint of the gay community on a whole and this is where JFLAG has been faulted for not adequately having a pubic presence except for the occasional letter to the editor and second hand reporting by journalists on conversations held with persons within the group, they came for heavy criticism yet again by the community for the poor editorial condition of their website and seeming lack of engagement with the GLBTQ community. Although there were negative letters, articles and editorials as well in some print media and gossip tabloids (notably the Xnews and Observer Chat) the strong articles helped to bring balance to the scene and the editors of the respective papers and news rooms clearly are realizing that people can’t be led anymore and that the issues are being looked at with more scrutiny. There is still more interest that needs to come from the gay community.
JLFAG presence on radio was light in 2009 in discussing issues such as the Buju Banton arrest in December, the John Terry murder case and the San Francisco protest of Buju Banton’s album tour.
One ugly media moment was the now infamous Raggashanti interview of an alleged drag queen who was arrested by Police in Central Jamaica after herself and a man were caught in a compromising position in a car in a public place. The police soon realized he was a cross dresser and the story made headlines. The Observer Chat carried a full photo of the assumed cross dresser and insinuated that the members of the Police were allegedly courting her for sexual favours. The exchange was irritating for some and many were very upset at the Chat’s article which named JFLAG in an alleged telephone interview saying that she was OK and never suffered any harm following the media’s interest in the story and the television footage. The mother paper to the Chat, The Jamaica Observer was however irresponsible in it’s handling of this story and published full face photos of the cross dresser.
Transgenderism was highlighted in a piece in the Jamaica Observer and its impact from dancehall culture, media in general has been slowly playing catch up on this issue as the public’s understanding and that of the gay community’s tolerance is still far behind.
Outlook and possible hot beds for 2010
All in all 2010 is already a dramatic year generally for our nation with the present economic woes facing us and the fledgling IMF deal the administration is trying to pin down with a letter of intent. The john Terry, Rudejam Founder and Restaurateur murders are to be watched closely this year as the respective trials and investigations proceed.
The Homeless MSM situation at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and its outcome are also of concern. It is hoped that there will be some compromise reached between the Board and the Executive Director who has tendered her resignation or maybe a new organization formed to deal with the issue of these men who clearly need all the support possible at this time. She is known to have powerful connections to funders having herself worked with major agencies in her tenure elsewhere, details of these possible new initiatives are being held close to the chests of those involved but if it comes to fruition let us hope that it may serve the men in the group for their development.
The intervention strategies by JFLAG, The Ministry of Health in as far as HIV/AIDS and social support are to be watched too as some funding should be available for this year for them.
Transgender interventions and initiatives are expected and more informative activities such as workshops and seminars are urgently required to bring into focus the widely misunderstood group.
If anything was left out let me know please and thanks.
Here is wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for your continued support, comments and suggestions. Please keep on supporting this blog and other similar typed initiatives.
Peace & Tolerance
Bad Man Nuh F*** Batty (Masculine Men Don't F*** Ass) (The Fear of The Feminine in JA) 16.04.15
Dr Shelly Ann Weeks on Homophobia - What are we afraid of?
Former host of Dr Sexy Live on Nationwide radio and Sexologist tackles in a simplistic but to the point style homophobia and asks the poignant question of the age, What really are we as a nation afraid of?
Dancehall has certainly been very clear where it stands when it comes to this issue with various songs voicing clear condemnation of this lifestyle. Currently, quite a few artistes are facing continuous protests because of their anti-gay lyrics. Even the law makers are involved in the gayness as there have been several calls for the repeal of the buggery law. Recently Parliament announced plans to review the Sexual Offences Act which, I am sure, will no doubt address homosexuality.
Jamaica has been described as a homophobic nation. The question I want to ask is: What are we afraid of? There are usually many reasons why homosexuality is such a pain in the a@. Here are some of the more popular arguments MORE HERE
Dr Shelly Ann Weeks on Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation
HYPOCRISY FROM THE PULPIT ON HOMELESSNESS IN THE MSM COMMUNITY?
Days later the same paper in the print edition only carried the cartoon as done by its resident cartoonist Clovis on December 11, 2013 parodying Tiana Miller transgender spokesperson for the JFLAG We Are Jamaicans Campaign and another member of the homeless MSM in New Kingston
The Reverend Father Sean Major-Campbell washes the feet of two Jamaican lesbians, Jalna Broderick (in the background), director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, and Rochelle (surname withheld) during an observance in celebration of Human Rights at Christ Church in Vineyard Town, St Andrew, Photos by Rudolph Brown/Photographer
When Same Gender Relationships go Bad
A JAMAICAN WOMAN was remanded to Dodds for a month today after being charged with causing serious bodily harm to her live-in female companion.
Kerreon Ishane Kelly, 25, of Barker's Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, was not required to plead to the charge of doing serious bodily harm to Tishana Alphonso of the same address, with intent to maim, disfigure or disable her on January 8 this year.
I was also made to understand that the alleged attacker later apologised for the vicious attack on Instagram.
She allegedly wrote: "Sometimes we let ignorancy get the best of us n we tend to do stuff we don't wanna do and then having regret ... today (Saturday), I did the most cruel thing of all my life and I just want to take a minute to just say how truly and deeply sorry I am. I never really get the seriousness of it until my fren send me a pic ... I want to make a public apology to my ex. I wouldn't wish such a evil act on anyone."
War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?
Urgent Need to discuss sex & sexuality II
Following a cowardly decision by the Minister(try) of Education to withdraw an all important Health Family Life, HFLE Manual on sex and sexuality
Calls for Tourism Boycotts are Nonsensical at This Time
(2014 protests New York)
Calling for boycotts by overseas based Jamaican advocates who for the most part are not in touch with our present realities in a real way and do not understand the implications of such calls can only seek to make matters worse than assisting in the struggle, we must learn from, the present economic climate of austerity & tense calm makes it even more sensible that persons be cautious, will these groups assist when there is fallout?, previous experiences from such calls made in 2008 and 2009 and the near diplomatic nightmare that missed us; especially owing to the fact that many of the victims used in the public advocacy of violence were not actual homophobic cases which just makes the ethics of advocacy far less credible than it ought to be.
See more explained HERE from a previous post following the Queen Ifrica matter and how it was mishandled
Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14
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Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide
a 2009 Word focus report where the history of the major explosion of homeless MSM occurred and references to the party DVD that was leaked to the bootleg market which exposed many unsuspecting patrons to the public (3:59), also the caustic remarks made by former member of Parliament in the then JLP administration.
The agencies at the time were also highlighted and the homo negative and homophobic violence met by ordinary Jamaican same gender loving men.
The late founder of the CVC, former ED of JASL and JFLAG Dr. Robert Carr was also interviewed.
At 4:42 that MSM was still homeless to 2012 but has managed to eek out a living but being ever so cautious as his face is recognizable from the exposed party DVD, he has been slowly making his way to recovery despite the very slow pace.
Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
- Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public
- Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
- Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially, temporary shelter(my home) and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please view labels, post list or exit.
Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
This blog is not designed to provide medical care, if you are ill, please seek medical advice from a licensed practioner
Thanks so much for your kind donations and thoughts.
As for some posts, they contain enclosure links to articles, blogs and or sites for your perusal, use the snapshot feature to preview by pointing the cursor at the item(s) of interest. Such item(s) have a small white dialogue box icon appearing to their top right hand side.
Recent Homophobic Incidents
CLICK HERE for related posts/labels and HERE from the gayjamaicawatch's BLOG containing information I am aware of. If you know of any such reports or incidents please contact email@example.com
What to do if you are attacked (News You Can Use)
Try to reason with the attacker: Establish communication with the person. This takes a lot of courage. However, a conversation may change the intention of an attacker.
Do not try anything foolish: If you know outmanoeuvring the attacker is impossible, do not try it.
Do not appear to be afraid: Look the attacker in the eye and demonstrate that you are not fearful.
This may have a psychological effect on the individual.
The police 119
Crime Stop 311
Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it
Sexual Health / STDs News From Medical News Today
Alleged Gay Vice Principal Story & Securing Personal Digital Data
some angry residents reacting to the matter nearing the school
He says the images have been tampered with.
Dervon Wellington, Acting Principal of the Christiana High School in Manchester speaking to Nationwide’s Abka Fitz-Henley said but the shots looked quite clear to most and not photoshopped as is being contested.
In the meantime the Chairman of the Board of Christiana High, Calvin Lyn says a meeting was being organized then in December to address an issue which he says has implications for the institution.
All in all the gentlemen involved have since relocated overseas to avoid issues but a word to the wise is sufficient secure ones personal digital materials so that they do not get leaked, or hacked or stolen and then inadvertently find themselves online.
Peace and tolerance
SEE the CVM TV report HERE