Thursday, December 27, 2012
Once again the Sankofa Team delivered on a brand going on some four years as expressed in the annual Christmas day stapler Santa's List. After it's major debut some four years ago, then closing of their group's official club home the Loft in Kingston, the revitalization of outdoor gay events especially water themed parties and beach events they two man team have struck gold while using a venue that has come to have some negative aura surrounding it but they managed to pull out a capacity crowd on that faithful night.
Additional patrons also arrived from an event miles down the road from a rival competitor who had to close down his party as unruly members of the homeless msm community who were not allowed to enter took matters into their own hands and literally stoned the event as it was in session, so serious the matter became that the police had to be called in to rectify the situation leaving the promoter in the red both in anger and in the numbers. The feeling of anger and rejection by the homeless msm community seems to be taking its toll as some seem to see others even those who just show some firmness as enemy number one or as against their plight so outbursts have been quite frequent as of late, this was something I had warned about some months ago as it may tend to affect how we socialise, seeing the men will find ways to get to events especially those close to their hangout spots.
The Sankofa team benefited from this move over by that intended audience but there was a feeling in the air of despondency following the news as it spread but that was soon dispelled with the music selection, the meeting and greeting of old and new faces, the simply yet fierce decor and some good drinks. The all white theme for the event as per usual was not followed by some patrons as dark colours dotted the mass of persons on the floor but others non the less followed suit and dress appropriately and as the hours passed the cooler temperatures on the outside has most persons remaining on the dancefloor as a centrally located and creatively conceived fireplace provided some warm air although not too hot as it was just enough to let persons still shake a leg around it as if it were an altar of worship with voguers and dancehall fans alike taking their turns as the music selections came, the queens served one with a broom in had as if to brush out the trash while others gallivanted with the featured head-top shenanigans with a pregnant drag queen grabbing some attention.
A white stalactite themed draped canopy with greeted patrons similar to last year's as they arrived dotted with red flannel Santa hats and blue with red and white Christmas stockings on each side. Strobe, lazer and flasher lights arranged in a falling positions pierced the occasional darkness noted for clubbing and the bass line from the speakers caused the intelligent lighting to respond thus feeding the rising charge in the atmosphere. The fog machine this time was placed most appropriately away from the main spaces so as not to overcompensate for the misty effect, annoy persons with respiratory issues and to block the view which worked well interacting with the lighting thus enhancing the backdrop and dancefloor a plus for the overall theme, there have been complaints before of the overwhelming thick smog at one place at events.
The fireplace I had mentioned was the highlight for some as well as persons took turns seating themselves around it in the loveseats provided and they got a chance to see all around the floor and DJ booths as it centrally located.
The bar was well stocked and arranged professionally, a feature commented on by many of the bar-flies as they made their trips to the watering hole, in fact it was the topic of discussion on the outside by a longtimer. The venue's outlay itself or its improvement thereof has come in for some sharp criticisms and some persons claimed that if it weren't the Sankofa team hosting they would not have come out to play. Something someone should suggest to the property's manager I hope.
Vybz master DJ David, Ravers and myself provided the beats and although I was beat from two sleepless nights in a row we did well enough, I had some challenges with my earlier set but all soon came together as the night progressed. Probably the drawback was the missing party animals who would have "vibed" the environment a little more but by 1:30am the club floor was packed, unusual these days for events as persons come out later and later, some had made their way to other end of the island for events there, the bar picked up steam as persons made repeated trips to refill their glasses and the vigilant security team checked arriving patrons, any indication that the event was not a small one was the car park. Of course organization is always a plus for this team one was never privy to seeing behind the scenes last minute shuffling as is a feature of some other events with mistakes made along the way, all was in place long before the patrons arrived and even one half of the team took up duties at the entrance making sure all was in place for their paying guests.
A who's who of patrons including members of the Pink Report team, noted fashion designers, entertainment managers from resorts who apparently took time off to attend, bloggers, older disc jocks from back in the day, other party promoters who came in support, the property's manager who darted about the venue inspecting the proceedings, longtimers and more. Noticeably absent were some of our same gender loving women party goers as in years gone by and other usual party goers seemed quite frugal this year in spending as economic times dictate the curving of that ever diminishing disposal income.
The Scissor Sisters' summer dance hit "Let's Have a KiKi" was the song for the night as no matter how many times it was played and whatever version it came as it was well received Santa's List made it to one of the good ones for 2012 and another feather in the cap for the Sankofa Team, upcoming events as advertised on the event's closure include more outdoor gigs and teaming with other brands for newer offerings in the coming year.
They did say they are raising the bar and they have been doing so if ever so steadily. The after party event at the home of one of the team members was another matter, fun was to be had by all there with the popo showing up lol, so much for fun.
Peace and tolerance
By Byron Buckley
"AND THE Scribes and the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. They asked him, 'Do you agree with the law of Moses that she should be stoned to death?' And Jesus, looking at the promiscuous woman, was full of contempt and scorn for her. Full with righteous indignation, he commanded the crowd to stone the trembling woman to death, himself casting the first stone."
This is, of course, a corruption of the incident recorded in the eighth chapter of the gospel of St John. But that could have been the outcome if Jesus had reacted differently to the taunting and entrapment of the religious leaders of his time. And based on the utterances of some contemporary religious leaders about homosexuals, that is how they would expect Jesus to react!
RESORTING TO VIOLENCE
Indeed, one of the society's low points in 2012 was the mob-incited beating of a suspected gay student by security guards at an institution of higher learning. It's not the first and only incident of violent attack on persons suspected to be other than heterosexual in Jamaica. In fact, this year a mob in Trelawny killed and maimed relatives of a person alleged to have buggered two boys found dead. These are all sad and tragic incidents that point to the urgent need for the disparate elements of the Jamaican society to come together to address our general tendency to resort to violence and, in particular, against sexual minorities.
My prayer and wish for the new year is that the heterosexual majority - especially members of the faith-based community - and members of sexual minority groups will embrace, rather tolerate, each other going forward. Each side will have to respect each other's sensibilities and coexist. It's not a zero-sum game: it's not practical for straight people to cleanse the society of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT). We can't kill off all the 'b-man dem'. Likewise, the LGBT community should not expect people to abandon their deeply held values about sexual correctness, for example, the non-public display of sexuality. The gay lobby must not make the tactical error of equating the legal/values system in the United States with what obtains in Jamaica.
In the coming year, we have to begin the conversation about ending discrimination of sexual minorities and produce a home-grown solution - one that reflects Jamaica's proud international record of championing the fight against racial discrimination in Apartheid South Africa, one that underscores the spirit of our national motto: Out of Many, One People. In the 1970s, we ended discrimination against children born out of wedlock -'no bastard no deh again'. Forty years later, we should be able to end discrimination and stigmatisation of sexual minorities.
The stance and role of the Christian community is critical in finding a solution to the straight-gay conundrum. The Jamaican church community, it appears, doesn't want to be seen as being soft on homosexuality, so it frequently preaches vehemently against the practice. Some clerics utter hateful sentiments against gays as DJs of spurious moral standing do. The Church has been largely reactive, rather than proactive, in the gay-rights debate.
There are some lessons from how Jesus dealt with the case of the woman caught in adultery.
Firstly, he pointed out that her sin of adultery WAS NOT more reprehensible than the sins of persons accusing her. 'If any of you are sinless, cast the first stone', Jesus challenged the religious leaders and congregants in the temple. Many Christians, using flawed theology, make homosexuality a special sin - one that deserves special condemnation as evidenced by the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Except for references to anal sex and bestiality, which it prohibits, the scriptures classify homosexuality as fornication or sexual promiscuity. As grotesque as the act of anal sex is, morally it is no worse than other sins to God. The prophet Ezekiel explains that it was a slew of sins that triggered God's fiery judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah, including pride and not taking care of the poor and needy. In fact, an overarching Judaeo-Christian value, as the prophet Isaiah pointed out, was to "rebuke the oppressor, relieve the oppressed, defend orphans and provide for widows". These have high weighting on God's moral scale.
By proclaiming homosexuality as a special sin, Christians are guilty of feeding stigma and discrimination. The Church must stop this now, as a first step towards finding a national solution to the peaceful coexistence of the heterosexual and LGBT community.
The second lesson from Jesus' handling of the accusation against the woman caught in adultery is that he did not condone her behaviour ('go and sin no more'), but neither did he condemn her to a lost, irredeemable fate. An important point to note is that if Jesus had agreed to her death, he would be supporting injustice and a kangaroo trial, because the law requires her and the husband she was caught with to be both stoned. By not bringing the offending husband to book, the religious leaders were guilty of gender discrimination.
It is these principles of fairness, justice and nondiscrimination that I expect the Church to champion as the society seeks to work out a solution for the harmonious coexistence of the sexual majority with sexual minorities.
Byron Buckley is associate editor at The Gleaner. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the same publication comes a letter from one of those religious ignoramuses, Yes I used the word as the series of pieces he has been penning to the papers clearly reflects such ignorance and self righteous crap:
Monday, December 24, 2012
Bearing in mind also he had a show cancelled in Belgium:
Sizzla cancelled yet again in Belgium from GLBTQJA on Wordpress
Other antigay acts such as Beenieman and Buju Banton now incarcerated on drug charges in the US have used to "long time ago" excuse to say they have moved on years after recording the offensive materials and supposedly signing the symbolic Reggae Compassionate Act but still the songs are available on platforms for sale such as Itunes, played on minibuses exposing them to a younger generation who for the most part use these alternative modes of transport for the hype they bring with the loud music and the lucrative bootleg music industry still thrives in some instances on marketing such materials on cheap $100 per copy CDs everywhere.
See: J-FLAG Stands Behind Dancehall, bats For Reformed dancehall artists
And with the troubles Sizzla has found himself in lately with the Rastafarian order chief among them the twelve tribes and his supposed seizing of power of leaders of one of the tribes of Israel using seals and all to appoint power to himself at the anger of the elders, threats being issued to administrators and elders alike in alleged rival groups of the order and even passed alleged transgressions of gun crimes at his camp in August Town he would never qualify in my book as a reformed Rastafarian when he seems so full of himself and having a god like status accorded to him.
Others are said to be in fear of him and his followers in the Nyabingi order that he descries in the Gleaner article below as a theocracy. One can recall his legal woes some years ago when guns were found alleged in his infamous "Judgement Yard" spot where he had a recording studio at the time along with a sound system.
Here is the article that speaks to the "Olive branch" rejection by him:
Thanks, But No Thanks - Sizzla Rejects J-FLAG Olive Branch
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
While Sizzla Kalonji may not be one of the artistes gay lobby groups have called 'reformed', the reggae crooner has strongly rejected the olive branch from the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), offered to support Jamaican entertainers, who despite toning down their anti-gay rhetoric, have continued to come under attack from gay lobby groups abroad.
J-FLAG recently came out in support of entertainers, who in their judgement, were reformed dancehall artistes who they believe have demonstrated greater levels of tolerance to the homosexual community.
However, Sizzla has no intention of accepting any support from the local gay lobbyists.
"I, personally, as Sizzla and president of the Nyabinghi theocracy, I don't want no sponsor from no homosexual," he declared.
"We are a people of the Almighty God. We are a biblical people. Jamaica is a Bible island. We live by the principle of the Almighty and in our Bible that we read, in the Hebrew Bible, we totally abandon homosexuals. We are against it. So we don't need no support from them. Fire bun!"
Dane Lewis, J-FLAG executive director, in a story published in last week's Sunday Gleaner, said the organisation was concerned about the recent spate of protests and the stance taken by many of the groups who mobilise these actions.
"The truth is we aren't even involved in these anti-murder-music campaigns today and, in most cases, we are alerted of these protests through our local media," Lewis was quoted as saying.
"Every now and again, some protesters might email asking for clarifications on songs and the general situation regarding LGBT Jamaicans. But, to our knowledge, far less hate music is being produced, and even sponsors have been responsive in the effort to make this type of music a thing of the past."
However, J-FLAG's position means very little to Sizzla Kalonji, whose position is one of 'thanks, but no thanks.' In the title track of his 1997 album Praise Ye Jah, a then 21-year-old Sizzla sang:
I see how yuh constantly building churches but while you church defend di slackness as usual rasta no mix up with homo ...
Fifteen years after that song was released Sizzla's stance, clearly, has not changed.
Now I only do house and vogue femme indeed house music was founded by gay DJs back in the day so the connection I guess is inevitable.
Older anti gay tracks like this however still get a full fawud (rewind request from patrons via loud shouts or applause) and the artists as Sizzla and Beenieman (All Battyman fi Dead) refuse to separate themselves from the materials although their supposedly non performance of the tracks live they still have a life of their own. The Stop Murder Music campaign overall has to be careful it is not viewed as a censoring mechanism or stifling free speech but there is free speech and then there is responsibility for such made, as I said in a previous post and elsewhere I won't be satisfied however until the artists remove the songs from their repertoire and completely disassociate themselves from such materials then and only then I will accept that they are serious.
This requires a conviction far more than just the symbolism of non performances of the damning tunes when the songs are still pulling in royalties (no matter how large or small) in the artists and producers coffers and shows that the artist/original performer sanctions the work and the evil actions the tunes prescribe, for the most part sanctioning violence, mobbings and executions of homosexuals.
To say one is a Rastafarian and to promote execution of persons just because of difference when the teachings of Rastafari are supposed to espouse purity of heart, livity and other "clean" aspects of life and most of all love and tolerance also bearing in mind Rastas at one point faced extreme prejudice in this country (an older Reggae track says "dreadlocks can't live in a tennament yard") now to see them turn on a minority.
Here is a 2009 podcast I had done on the matter:
Where is the love?
Where is the unity?
Out of Many One People ........... where????
In one breath they preach love and on the same tone prescriptive death is directed at homosexuals.
The paradox that is Jamaica, homosocial yet homophobic.
HOMOSEXUALITY - A biological reality
HOMOPHOBIA - A lifestyle choice
UPDATE December 26 a vox pop showed:
The controversial Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is offering to help dancehall and reggae artistes respond to efforts by gay-rights groups overseas to boycott their performances and music. The Gleaner asked a number of dancehall acts how they feel about the offer.
J-FLAG has been working with artistes for years, a just because dem never public with it 'til now. Some artistes are saying dem a bad man and bun out certain things, etc, but I can tell you that 25 per cent of them are gay and 95 per cent of them perform oral sex. I do not want J-FLAG to represent me. Mi nah walk round and look no representation. Throughout the years when me did a look fi people fi represent me, nobody never a help me, so a now dem waan come? Mi nuh want dem sorry fi me. If they want to represent people, they can do so, but do not bring homosexuality into this business. I do not have the right to say who gives a helping hand in the industry, I am not a dictator or politician, so I will not choose no side.
I think it is a good gesture. It is J-FLAG and these other organisations that put it out there to the public that dancehall was simply about hate songs. A lot of those assertions were made by J-FLAG so they know the truth, so now they can clear it up. Is dem start it, so make them continue and clear the air where our music is concerned. The hate songs were sporadic in reggae and dancehall, so when they use those few drops to tarnish the entire industry, that is unfair! But I welcome this initiative.
J-FLAG put them in that problem and now want to solve it. If people are making murder music, then target those people because now it has affected the entire industry. Artistes sell zero in Jamaica and in other parts of the world now. They created this problem. I never made a song like that because that lifestyle does not concern me. I would not teach my kids about that because that lifestyle does not affect me. What these lobbyists are doing should not affect me, but it does. I have been saying to these artistes that they don't need to be doing these songs, but dem feel like dem bigger than life and now the entire industry is suffering.
Patrick 'Curly Lox' Gaynor of Twin of Twins, LEAD (Leadership for Empowerment of Artistes and Dancehall)
I must say at this time, this sudden change of heart on the part of J-FLAG will, quite understandably, be met by not only us with scepticism, but by a good majority of the dancehall fraternity, as it relates to what J-FLAG's motive or agenda is. Largely due to the fact this is one of the groups responsible for the present state of disrepair that dancehall is experiencing. While we welcome this initiative from any group or individual whose sole objective is the preservation of dancehall and its slowly fading, once-vibrant culture, I must say that the biggest threat we face as dancehall is a severe lack of unity in dancehall based on pettiness and ignorance. We are yet to establish a united body. The gays united against dancehall, a disorganised bunch of convenient scapegoats and dancehall remains blind to the urgent need to unify against all foreign or domestic threats against its survival. No one can help someone who doesn't want to help themself.
Peace and tolerance
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure 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.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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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