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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 10:12 GMT
'Anti-gay' lyrics inquiry starts
Beenie Man
Beenie Man is one of the world's biggest reggae stars
Detectives are investigating claims that lyrics penned by eight leading reggae artists incite violence against homosexuals and are therefore illegal.

Lyrics by Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Bounty Killer are among those being scrutinised by Scotland Yard.

Gay rights group Outrage! complained in September 2003 but it was dismissed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Now the case into an original three has been reopened and the lyrics of five other artists are being examined.

We feel that some people will take these lyrics as an indication that it is fine to be violent towards gay people
David Allison, Outrage! spokesman

Transcripts of the lyrics of three of the artists in the original Jamaican patois, and an English translation, were passed to the police, according to Outrage! in 2003.

But the CPS deemed there to be insufficient evidence for prosecution.

The investigation has now been extended, with the lyrics of the five other artists - who are all Jamaican - being considered.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are awaiting a translation as to the exact content of the lyrics.

"We will be working with the CPS to determine whether any criminal offence has been committed."

OutRage! says the singers have lyrics that tell listeners to do things like "murder dem fast just like a Federal Express".

Mobo row

David Allison, a spokesman for Outrage!, said: "Reggae is very popular to a wide cross section of people.

"We feel that some people will take these lyrics as an indication that it is fine to be violent towards gay people.

"It is illegal to incite hatred against a minority group - this must stop."

Beenie Man is the best-known of the eight, with four top 20 singles in the UK.

The artist has apologised for some his past lyrics.

In September Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel had their Music of Black Origin (Mobo) nominations withdrawn in a row over alleged homophobic lyrics.


SEE ALSO:
Mobo drops 'homophobic' artists
08 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
Singer sorry for 'anti-gay songs'
03 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Police study 'anti-gay' reggae claims
18 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Jamaica's musical independence
02 Aug 02  |  Entertainment


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