Monday 4th February, 2001
Ministry of Sound,
103 Gaunt Street,
I’m writing on behalf of OutRage!, the queer direct action group, to express our disappointment and anger at your decision to invite Eminem to the Ministry of Sound.
As you know, the lyrics on his latest album, Marshall Mathers, are widely acknowledged to be hostile and aggressive towards the lesbian and gay communities, especially towards gay men. Although some lines are ambiguous and have been defended as dark fantasies, others – such as “You faggots keep eggin me until I have you at knifepoint” and “I was put here to put fear in faggots” – leave no doubt as to the performer’s attitude.
Whilst we respect any artist’s right to express themselves, we believe that these violent images can lead to homophobic attacks. A high profile club such as the Ministry of Sound should not be fuelling the flames of prejudice and intolerance.
If an artist advocated violence against black or disabled people, would you invite him to play at your club? Why is it still socially acceptable to advocate attacks on queers?
As you have reported on your own website, Eminem’s records have been widely criticised and even banned in some parts of the UK and America.
We call on you to take a stand against prejudice by cancelling your invitation to Eminem, and by issuing a public statement deploring his
homophobic and misogynistic lyrics.
BBC Radio London Live (formerly GLR) is the main sponsor of Buju Banton’s performance at the Festival of Peace and Love in London today, Sunday, 23rd July, 2000.
The festival at Three Mills Island in east London, being held to celebrate Jamaican culture and the life of reggae legend Bob Marley, includes a set by Banton.
Banton is notorious for, in 1992, writing and performing Boom Bye Bye glorifies the shooting of gay men, urging people to get a gun and blow out the brains of a “batty boy”, (pejorative Jamaican slang for homosexual). Subsequently he has said that gays should be treated like discarded tyres and burned.
The furore that arose in both this country and in the USA forced him to apologise on the Channel 4 programme The Word on 4th December, 1992: but not before massive cancellations of TV and other appearances on both sides of the Atlantic hit hard.
An interview published on the 29th May, 2000 in New Nation, a newspaper serving members of the black community, includes a reiteration by Banton of his homophobic views and a denial that he had ever recanted or changed these views.
In consequence of the intervention of OutRage!, of Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia, of Eurogay internet magazine, and of our approach to Jenny Abramsky (Director, BBC Radio), the Editor of London Live immediately stopped promotion of the festival on his station and obtained assurances from the Festival’s PR people that ‘Boom Bye Bye’ would not be part of Banton’s set. Banton’s own PR people, however, were not so forthcoming and give rise to concern that he may be planning to use the his mantra of hate at other venues, in the UK or elsewhere.
OutRage! and Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia are working with Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, (GLAAD), in the USA where Banton is planning a tour to promote his recent album Unchained Spirit. .