Jamaican dancehall star Beenie Man has voiced his support for gay rights, despite finding fame with songs inciting homophobic violence.
‘Let me make this clear and straight. I have nothing against no-one,’ he said in a video statement.
‘I respect each and every human being…regardless of sexual preference, including gay and lesbian people.’
The artist, otherwise known as Anthony Moses Davis, gained infamy with tracks featuring anti-gay lyrics such as ‘Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope’ and ‘Tek a bazooka and kill batty-fucker’.
But he now begs people not to attack him for songs he made 20 years ago.
He said: ‘There’s no-one in this world is the same person as they were 20 years ago – I know I am not.
‘I was a kid and I come from Waterhouse, which is a small community. I never know what the world is like and what the world is all about. But now I know that people live in this world that live their life differently from my life. I still have to respect and love human beings.’
Beenie Man signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, intended to stop homophobia among leading reggae stars, in June 2007.
Peter Tatchell, one of the activists behind the Stop Murder Music campaign which led to several stars signing the act, told Gay Star News he welcomed Beenie Man’s apology but called it ‘very suspect’.
‘After years of pumping out songs that glorified violence against LGBT people, in 2007 Beenie Man signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, where he promised to halt all homophobia.
‘With weeks he turned around and denied signing the RCA. He then went on to record a new song, "I No Apologize", where he further abused LGBT people. Thereafter, he continued to sing homophobic lyrics.
‘Given this record of dishonesty, duplicity and double-dealing, I see no reason to trust him this time.
‘Beenie Man has to do more to convince us that he has really changed and that this apology is not just a cynical PR move to end the boycotts and cancellation of his concerts.’
Beenie Man joins other high profile rap and hip-hop stars such as Jay-Z and T.I. in backing LGBT equality.