Pull up a seat and have a steaming cup with me as we discuss issues central to the west-indian community, the african-american community and the LGBT community.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I have a confession.

I love Reggae.

I do. What can I say? And not just Reggae, Soca, Rake n' Scrape, Calypso, etc. Basically any and all Caribbean music. Why do I love it? Other than the fact that it sounds good, it's part of my culture. Born and raised in the Bahamas, I was exposed to this kind of music before I was exposed to my ABC's. I listened to it all the time and recited the lyrics, all the lyrics - good or bad - with ease. Back then I didn't know any better but now that I do listening to some of it makes me feel nauseous and even worse, guilty. It's no secret Reggae and many other genres of West-Indian/Caribbean music, (but Reggae in particular) spouts homophobic lyrics more than Keith Sweat's lyrics spout, "baby don't leave me, baby come back to me, baby, baby please", so as a lesbian woman, I'm left cringing through most of the songs.

In recent years I've gone through my music collection and tossed much of the really bad stuff, the stuff that really boils my blood. But, if I'm completely honest, there are many cd's I've left untouched because it's just so hard to part with music or anything that re-connects you to your culture, (minus the anti-gay lyrics of course), especially when you're living in another country far from it. So I'm left to keep hoping and praying that talented artists like Buju, Beenie, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man and the rest would wisen up and realize that their homophobic lyrics are beginning to cause them good money in cancelled concerts all over the world and just stop hating. Maybe one day.

All is not lost though , I still have a lot of great Reggae to listen to in the meantime, The King Bob, Beres Hammond, Glenn Washington, Tanya Stephens and many more.
Not only is Tanya my all time favorite Caribbean female artist, she has always been socially conscious and has spoken out against racism, violence and homophobia through her music. Her example is refreshing and I'm sure it will be followed in the future or at least spark her young, Caribbean fans to think. My favorite Tanya album is Gangsta Blues but her last album, Rebelution comes in a close second. Tanya if you're out there, it's time for another album! Rebelution is going on two years old and we miss your words of wisdom on the Reggae scene! Here's a song from Rebelution called 'Do you still care?' that emcompasses her views on racism, homophobia and hate in general.

Where Bubba Grew Up, Kept his tobacco chewed up,And when they used to hang ropes, they always kep two up,Had crosses burnin all night like the church blew up,And if you didnt look like them, they would fuck you up.

Time passed, and Bubba turned 40 years old,And all them Jack Daniels started taking a toll,Seem like Bubba was about to make a final bow,None of his friends from the clan couldnt help him now.Family gathered at his bedside, ready to sing the blues,When the doctor rushed in and said "Ive got some news!!!""The good news is, Bubba, Ive found you a liver, only bad news is, it belongs to a Nigger"

Do you still care, about the texture of his hair or the cocoa brown colour of his skin,Do you still care, do you still give a damn now you're in the predicament you're in,Do you still care, does it still mean a lot now,You're the one who's needin the help,Do you still care, do you still find it hard to love your neighbour as you love yourself now,Tell me why cant you accept me as I am,Just as I am now.

Where Bigga grew up, boys were supposed to be tough,Girls were trophies every man always kept a few of,When he was hurt and the tears would sting in his eyes,His mother said "Stop di noise, yuh a girl? real boys dont cry!"He learned in order to be a man he had to know how to fight,And had some very difinitive rules bout whats wrong or right,He never had the luxury of being able to choose,So to him for being different, there was no excuse.

Bigga was hustling on the corner, makin some cash,When he bumped into some beef that he had from the past,He watched the guns raise and the bullets fly in disbelief,As his friends all jumped in their rides,Left him in the gutter didnt care if he died,He was rescued by a car with plates that said 'Gay Pride',It would have been fatal,A shot in your head,They saved your life, though you always said "Chi-chi fi dead!!"

Now do you care, bout the clothes that they wear,Would you rather if they left you there,Do you still care what your friends wanna think if they see you hangin out with a queer,Do you still care, does it still mean a lot now, you're the one who's needin the help,Do you still care, do you still find it hard to love your neighbour as you love yourself now,Tell me why cant you accept me as I am,Just as I am now.

And thats the reason why, war cant cease,If yuh nuh look like me, me ago pop mi piece,And thats the reason why we cant get along,If yuh nuh do it my way then you doin it wrong,And thats the reason why, Iraqui babies gonna cry,And more Palestinians and Isrealies gonna die,Thats the reason why the world is in pain,We say we want peace fi reign, but a bullets again,Now tell me why cant you accept me as I am,Just the way I am now,Tell me why cant you accept me as I am,Just the way I am woah................

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