Over the past couple of months, five Jamaican dancehall musicians have had their shows in Ontario cancelled because of virulently homophobic lyrics calling for the murder of queers.
Dancehall is an offshoot of reggae, a more dance-oriented version with the addition of hip-hop beats and a more urban focus.
And like reggae, many dancehall musicians are Rastafari, a religion as homophobic as fundamentalist Christianity. The movement adopted many of the teachings of black nationalist Marcus Garvey — regarded as a prophet by many Rastafari — who preached black pride and pride in African heritage. But Rastafari also adopted many of the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity, although with their own unique interpretations.
Rastafari believe in a strict interpretation of the Old Testament, which is why they believe that smoking ganja is a sacrament.
The belief is taken from several Biblical verses, such as Genesis 3: But "Rastas and homosexuality and christianity" have also interpreted Biblical proclamations on homosexuality — such as Leviticus Rastafari believe that homosexuality is a product of Babylon corrupt modern society Rastas and homosexuality and christianity will not be found in Zion the black homeland and birthplace of humanity.
While Rastafari are not numerous — estimates say about a million — most are found in Jamaica and their effect on the country is profound, especially when coupled with the fundamentalist Christianity prevalent in Jamaica. As well as believing in racial segregation, bobo Rastas go in for a fire-and-brimstone reading of the Old Testament that makes Jamaican Christianity look liberal.
Sizzla and Capleton are two of the artists recently stopped from performing in Canada. Bobo Shanti Rastas, the sect to which both belong, follow a lifestyle based on the Old Testament, including rules for menstruating women that limit interaction between the sexes. When it comes to homosexuality, they believe that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their tolerance of homosexuality.
The fire is self-awareness and self-control. You must stay away from self-serving immorality. The Forum reports that 98 queers have been attacked this year in 43 mob attacks as of July, and that between andat least 10 queers were murdered.
So are dancehall lyrics, inspired by Rastafari religious beliefs, responsible for those murders?
Type of correction required Factual error in content Spelling mistake or typo Rights and permissions Other. Where have all the spaces for queer women in Toronto gone? Get Xtra in your inbox Xtra Queer.
Women Where have all the spaces for queer women in Toronto gone? Xtra Video Nov People Like Me Everything Sucks!