Organizers of the Raggamuffin Music Festival in New Zealand have removed dancehall artiste Beenie Man from their line-up.
Best of Elite understands that the decision was made after the gay community in New Zealand, GayNZ, voiced their over Beenie’s appearance in their country for the show.
The Gays group has raised eyebrows to the artiste’s tolerance of the gay community and demanded clarity. A spokesman for the event revealed that the organizers offered Beenie Man an opportunity to publicly state his support of the gay community and retract his past homophobic comments and lyrics, but said the ‘King of The Dancehall’ deejay failed to answer questions about his past bashing gay lyrics and current tolerance on the gay community.
“Based on this, we have removed him from the line-up,” said Raggamuffin spokesperson Danny Leaoasavaii also known as Brotha D.
“We took the concerns of the gay community very seriously and sought to address them with Beenie Man. Raggamuffin is a family festival and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sexuality.”
Efforts to get in touch with Beenie Man for a comment were futile. Beenie Man has since been replaced by Jamaican songstress Diana King.
The lyrics to some of Beenie’s songs have been criticized for inciting the murder of homosexuals.He was removed from the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards after protests by gay-rights activists.That same year, Beenie Man was stopped by police at Heathrow Airport in London, after the cancellation of a concert in the United Kingdom.
He then issued an apology for the lyrics through his record company. In 2005, gay rights group OutRage! suspended their opposition to Beenie Man after he agreed not to play songs featuring homophobic lyrics, and he performed in London that year. The following year, he claimed his lyrics were anti-paedophilia, not against consensual homosexual relationships.
The singer, whose chart-topping hits have included Shy Guy and a cover version of Dionne Warwick’s I Say A Little Prayer, is widely known as the first Jamaican artiste to publicly come out as gay.
Raggamuffin is set for February 20, 2016 at The Trusts Arena in Henderson, Auckland.
Beenie Man married Michelle Downer more popularly known as “D’Angel” on 22 August 2006. They had a son together named Marco Dean, born in November 2006.