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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 09:39 GMT
Ban threat aborts Sizzla UK tour
By Tom Bishop
BBC News entertainment reporter

Sizzla
Sizzla was due to begin his UK tour in Milton Keynes on Wednesday
The government is considering banning reggae star Sizzla from the UK as police investigate "anti-gay" lyrics.

All five dates on Sizzla's UK tour were cancelled on Wednesday after gay rights campaigners protested against the star.

"We have received representations against the visit and we are considering those representations," a Home Office spokesman said.

Scotland Yard is examining lyrics by eight reggae artists, but they would not confirm that Sizzla was among them.

Prolific artist

The Home Office added: "We do not discuss an individual's immigration status with third parties."

Born in Jamaica as Miguel Collins, Sizzla has released 25 albums since 1995 and is credited with taking dancehall music back to its reggae origins.

One of his most controversial songs, Pump Up, contains the Jamaican patois lyrics "fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind", translated by gay rights group OutRage! as "burn the men who have sex with men...".

OutRage! head Peter Tatchell
Supporters of gay rights group OutRage! protested against the tour
He was due to arrive in the UK on Tuesday night, to perform in Milton Keynes, Bradford, Birmingham, London and Bristol.

Venues said Sizzla had signed a contract which prevented him from performing homophobic, racist or sexist lyrics in concert.

Nevertheless spokesman for the Stratford Rex venue in east London said it called off Saturday's Sizzla concert as a result of "circumstances beyond our control".

It said: "We will continue to support reggae and hope to rearrange concerts with popular and established artists from Jamaica."

'Incited violence'

Sizzla's promoters were not available for comment.

The Metropolitan Police's Racial and Violent Crime task force is investigating lyrics by Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer and five other reggae artists after a complaint from OutRage!

The group urged its supporters to ask venues to re-think staging Sizzla's proposed concerts, on the grounds that the star "incited racist and homophobic violence".

OutRage! member Brett Lock described the cancellation of Sizzla's UK tour as "a triumph".

"We are glad that those who stood in the way have come to their senses and that all the thousands and thousands of people who took up the call have been successful," he said.


SEE ALSO:
'Anti-gay' lyrics inquiry starts
03 Nov 04  |  Entertainment
Mobo drops 'homophobic' artists
08 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
Singer sorry for 'anti-gay songs'
03 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Jamaica's musical independence
02 Aug 02  |  Entertainment
Reggae's changing message
19 Jun 99  |  Americas


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