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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Mobo drops 'homophobic' artists
Elephant Man
Elephant Man has been accused of promoting homophobia
Reggae stars Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel have had their Music of Black Origin (Mobo) nominations withdrawn in a row about homophobic lyrics.

Mobo organisers had demanded the pair apologise for anti-gay lyrics in some of their early songs after complaints from gay rights campaigners.

The singers' representatives said they had "moved on" but no written apology had been received by the judging panel.

"The last thing Mobo wants to do is encourage prejudice," said a spokesman.

"Mobo has not yet received written apologies as previously promised. We have therefore alerted the Mobo Academy to this situation and a decision has been taken to withdraw the nominations for Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel."

The Mobo Academy decides who is nominated for each award, while the public votes for the eventual winner.

Gay rights group OutRage! said it was pleased about the decision to axe the Jamaican acts from the best reggae act category.

"The singers' refusal to apologise is indicative of their unrepentant violent homophobia," said spokesman Brett Lock.

Kanye West
Kanye West leads the pack with seven Mobo nominations

"We applaud the decision of the Mobos to drop these artists. Incitement to murder should never be rewarded."

OutRage! said Vybz Kartel's Bedroom Slaughteration, and Elephant Man's We Nuh Like Gay and A Nuh Fi Wi Fault, both advocated killing homosexuals.

Mobo organisers said their stance had been clear from the beginning.

"The Mobo Awards... do not condone music that clearly incites violence to gay and lesbian people nor do they advocate censorship of artistic expression."

Another reggae act, Beenie Man, did not make it on to the shortlist at all after the organisers wrote on the public ballot forms that they did not support music which incites violence towards gay people.

Beenie Man recently issued a statement through his record company, apologising for using homophobic lyrics.

Broadcast row

The Mobo nominations are chosen by a panel which includes record industry figures and music journalists.

Newcomer Kanye West leads the field for this year's awards, with seven nominations.

Award winners will be announced on 30 September - a highlights show will be broadcast on BBC One on 6 October.

OutRage! had previously written to the BBC asking them not to show the ceremony unless Mobo organisers withdrew the controversial nominations.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "The BBC will not broadcast any homophobic lyrics."

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