wayne&wax

linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on

6.13.2005

the outrage continues (on both sides)



a couple weeks ago i received the following forwarded message from a friend in jamaica. i didn't post it at first since i wasn't sure it was real or not. in the current climate of intolerance on both sides, it's quite possible for rumors, exaggerations, and fabrications to circulate. and the implication that joey budafuco is now promoting reggae shows definitely raised my eyebrows. (turns out, it's not that joey buttafuoco.) at any rate, the content was by no means incredible:

> From: Kirk Bonin
> Subject: Re: Buju Banton In South Beach Memorial Weekend!!!
> Date: Wed, 25 May 2005 08:47:16 -0700
> To: "Ms. Tracii McGregor"
>
> Please remove me from any list having to do with
> this artist or any Jamaican artist actually.
_________________________________________________________________
> Kirk Bonin iTunes Music Store
> Manager, Artist/Label Relations
>>
> On May 25, 2005, at 5:05 AM, Ms. Tracii McGregor
> wrote:
>
> > For Immediate Release:
> >
> > BUJUMANIA JUMPS OFF IN SOUTH BEACH MEMORIAL
> WEEKEND!!!
> >
> > International Reggae Star Buju Banton to Host
> > Star-Studded Welcome to Miami Bashment & Headline
> 2ND Annual VP Records Memorial Day Concert
> >
> > (New York/Kingston/Miami - 25, May 2005) Gargamel
> > Music, Inc. is pleased to announce that
> international Reggae artist Buju Banton aka Gargamel will host
> the official "Welcome to Miami" pre-concert bash to be
> > held Saturday, May 28th at Pure Night Club in
> downtown Miami. On Sunday, May 29th, Buju will headline the
> VP Records Memorial Day Concert at Bayfront Park, his
> > first US performance in over a year.
> >
> > "Miami has waited a very long time to see Buju
> Banton on this stage," says Joey Budafuco, President of
> > Rockers Island, the company responsible for
> producing both high profile Reggae music events. "We are
> proud to be the first promoters to bring the Voice of
> > Jamaica back to America so he can continue
> delivering his uplifting music to the people." Performing
> > alongside Buju Banton at this year's show: Beenie
> Man, Capleton, Luciano, Sizzla, I-Wayne, Assassin and
> Edwin Yearwood. [...snip...]

the email, and some additional commentary (i.e., a press release by the offended), has now generated at least one genuine article (appearing, not insignificantly, in a black british news source), which has been picked up by a few caribbean sources. that it seems not to be circulating more widely perhaps speaks to people's weariness about the issue. the story set off yet another conflagration over at versionist.com, complete with bible quotations. while at the same time, though seemingly for another reason (i.e., someone objecting to anti-gay sentiments in sanchez's terribly catchy song, "frenzy"), the bloodandfire board also erupted into a flame(r)-war of sorts, in which some posters, including a local colleague of mine, burn fire on that which reggae songs and (limited?) interpersonal relationships have convinced them is an abomination while other posters plead for tolerance and others bemoan the whole stupid conversation. i think maybe more folks on all sides need to read elena oumano's piece from a few months back. shedding balanced and expansive perspective on the issue, elena tempers the conversation with information--hopefully without forestalling forward movement.

and maybe that's what this latest flare-up is about. but i'm not sure. feels more like going around in circles, only more frequently than we used to. is anyone actually learning anything in this exchange? are opinions changing? on a massive scale?

jamaican lit-critic and dancehall-defender carolyn cooper seems to think so. in her recent book, sound clash, cooper argues that all the noise about homophobia in (and out) of jamaica in the last few years has less to do with entrenching attitudes than the palpable imminence of cultural transition. she sees the public discussion, ever since buju's "boom by by" (cooper emphasizes the original spelling of the title to argue for its less-than-literal significations), as moving in a positive direction, as least insofar as "Jamaican society has been forced to confront openly the taboo subject of homosexuality" (p.167). an interesting possibility, for sure. at the same time, she advises that "The DJ must learn to censure herself or himself, otherwise someone else will do the censuring" (p.158). this gets a little close to condoning the dominant position (when does community consensus become tyranny of the majority?) and giving up on a vanguard position (or rearguard, as it may be) vis-a-vis the status quo, but it appears to be a pragmatic position that many DJs are taking. i have made a similar argument myself, at least in terms of how DJs will have to consider their options as they "market" themselves outside of jamaica.

other aspects of cooper's argument deserve attention here as well, as i think they represent a number of common, if somewhat specious (in my opinion), views. for one, she affirms the longstanding assertion that "homosexuality in sub-Saharan Africa is not socially constructed as normative" (p.165). but where in the world is homosexuality constructed as normative? some parts of san francisco? the cambridge city council? not many places, i'd say. this line of reasoning about cultural difference tends to overlook that, despite such "mainstream" moments as the red sox getting queer eye makeovers, a great many americans and jamaicans tend to agree in their condemnation of, discomfort with, and/or confusion about sexual practices that deviate from what they feel are traditional, heterosexual norms. thus, the following paragraph, in which cooper reproduces some well-worn notions about jamaican views of homosexuality, could easily be written substituting "America" and "Americans" for "Jamaica" and "Jamaicans":
In Jamaica, homosexuality is routinely denounced because it is perceived as a marker of difference from the sexual/cultural "norm." Further, many Jamaicans vigorously object to being labeled as "homophobic." Claiming their sexuality as "normative," they reject the negative connotations of the "phobia" in homophobia. For them it is homosexuality that is the morbidity--not their culturally legitimated aversion to it. (p.162)

not sure what exactly is so distinctively jamaican here, save perhaps that few americans are as vocal about their dislikes as jamaican artists and audiences. the online discussion among the international (and wired) reggae community demonstrates that there is at least as much sympathy as opposition to "the jamaican stance" on homosexuality. sometimes it seems strange to be making so much noise about jamaican homophobia when there's plenty of intolerance to deal with right here at home. toward that end, i think we need more work in the cultural realm, and less in the purely critical realm. although i've weighed in on this issue before in prose form, i still think my most persuasive argument is soggae.

incidentally, an article in the jamaica-star that mentions the badly-named event that served as partial inspiration for "soggae" (and is one of the few records of it happening--wish i took a picture of that sign), begins by discussing the rude reception staceyann chin was given when she tried to recite some of her poetry at a kingston night club a couple years ago. i was living in jamaica at the time that this happened, and although i was not at the event i was pretty surprised that an audience of jamaicans, despite their training at numerous shows to burn fire on anything faintly gay, would so denounce a fellow jamaican, and a famous one at that. sure, jamaican audiences are notoriously hard to please, and poor performances can easily result in someone being hit with a bottle (though stale bread seems like a nice substitute). but jamaican audiences are also difficult to top when it comes to national pride, so considering chin's accolades and recognition a farin, it is surprising that knee-jerk fiyah couldn't be put aside, especially at a club that caters to an uptown crowd.

at any rate, i'm pleased that this article brings these threads together because i see in the work of staceyann chin another powerful way to confront the stereotypes and tired performance styles that have locked jamaican music into a kind of stubborn pose. this week staceyann launches her new one-woman show "off-broadway" in new york. i am told by a friend and creative-consultant on the show that it is fantastic and that the previews have been quite promising. we're headed down to the big apple this weekend to catch it for ourselves. i wonder whether jamaica will change its tune if it sees that there is plenty to love about its queer heritage.



as far as iTunes and jamaican music go, no need to worry: apparently, they still offer plenty of reggae for download, buju included. babylon's not stupid, though a little self-censure might be in order, seen?

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an idiot...Bout Jamaica fi start 'love dem QUEER HERITAGE'...

Your blog and your support of country-come-to-town-and-turn-gay LESBOAZ like STACEY ANN CHIN is remarkably LAME.

5:04 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

not as remarkably LAME as your anonymous venom, prejudice, and abuse of capital letters.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

battyman

9:22 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

in your dreams

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yup...exactly what a battyman might say

8:29 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

what is this? grade school?

you need to sharpen your reasoning skills, bredda.

what's your affliction anyway?

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grade school? no. Its a shit 'jamaica' blog written by a stupid wannabe promoting battyman lifestyle.

There's no need to expand. Thats what it is.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that a confused, SCREECHING WITCH like Stacey-Ann Chin can go to a place like Treasure Beach; and rant on about her rancid slit pussy and the various objects she pushes in it ( with children standing around)... but she nah get haul off the stage like Sizzla and threatened with imprisonment?

Yet a SHE you a promote pan u BATTYGUY WEBBLOG?

God know, the world a go dung!

4:28 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

you need to chill with all the hate, man.

i don't think that either sizzla or staceyann should be hauled off for their artistry. and i think that parents should have frank discussions with their children about sexuality, about race and class, about religion, about just about everything. if artists open up such discussions, all the better.

i RATE sizzla, even if i don't rate every likkle thing he says. i don't rate everything staceyann chin says, either, but i support her right to do her thing.

just as i support your right to express your opinion, though i wish you would do it openly, without hiding behind an anonymous label. it's hard to be so nasty out in the open. and it's hard to have a productive conversation amidst such nastiness.

if you really read this blog, you would know that i am far from a wannabe and far from a battyman. yes, i engage critically with jamaican culture (not pseudo-intellectually, either), but it is motivated, ultimately, by my love for the place and its people. a little criticism here and there is necessary to forward movement. i think you would agree, judging by your judgement.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look up this word : FACINATED.

Thats you.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what BUJU would think of you posting that cheezy GQ pitcha of him up on a site that is also promoting OUTRAGE! and Stacey Ann Chin.

Think I may have to go point it out.

7:59 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

i'm well aware of what fascination is all about. and as a white guy who has been into hip-hop and reggae for a long time, trust me, i have done no end of soul searching about it. but at the end of the day, my commitment to and passion for talking about music, culture, and society (in an effort to challenge some assumptions out there) outweighs my reservations.

you should try being more generous, good sir. if you are who i think you are, you should know that i admire your work, but not your attitude.

not sure what buju would think, but he did pose for the picture. i think buju's a big artist, and i was singing one of his songs to myself just this morning, but it wasn't "boom by by" (which i also sometimes sing to myself, for better or worse).

for the record, i don't support censorship in any form, except maybe self-censorship which happens all the time in the creation of art at any rate.

i support buju, staceyann, gay people worldwide, the dancehall industry, and even you, my prickly interlocutor.

8:16 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

isn't it ironic that you're a flamer?

http://www.it.net.au/jargon-file/html/entry/flamer.html

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you know who i am? why dont you say so then?

Either way, its irrelevant but I'd like to see you TRY to call me out.

couple thing you need to remember while you fill up the internet with your from-afar-but-reads-david katz-so-i-must-be-an-expert-on-everything BLOG:

1) Your so called hippy bullshit desire to CHANGE ATTITUDES is one thing, grouping us all into one category is quite another. Especially as you 'challenge' what you perceive to be generic ideas about Jamaica and Jamaicans.

2) Nobody gives a fuck if you love your gay fren dem. But when you try to celebrate them publically, dont expect everyone to agree with you. Especially those of us who don't think SEXUALITY as PERSONALITY is VALID.

3) FYI, JAMAICA is by FAR the most tolerant country when it comes to tolerating BATTYMAN AND LESBIANS. Anyone who disagrees with this DOESN'T LIVE here. GAYS are EVERYWHERE in Jamaica. They control the media, the politics, the music and every fucking thing else. One trip to any Kingston nightspot will attest to this truth. So before you go spouting off your 'radical humanist bullshit', perhaps you need to check out what the TRUTH is rather than bowing to the uninformed BATTYMAN NETWORK that feeds your mindset.

4) Its BOOM BYE-BYE pussyhole...thats means GOOD BYE AFTER we SHAT yuh inna yuh head!

Quoting from Carolyn shit-for-brains Cooper nah validate nutten either. That why when u see her with ehr battyman husband at Heineken startime she ready fi sprint at the slightest distrubance. Shes a fraud.

%) BUJU may have posed for a picture, but i seriously DOUBT he would let you out of his compound without a good jamaica beating if he knew you were posting it in a place that defend OUTRAGE! and BATTYGYAL STACY ANN CHIN. Next time you come Jamaica and start go round studio fi get material for u likkle blog, you might be greeted with print outs of your own shit. Then lets see if you're so 'expressive'.

10:47 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

i see, you're both a coward and an informer. ok, then. big man, e?

i see we're not going to get anywhere with this conversation, so i leave it at this:

find the courage to identify yourself and engage in this debate with your head high or/and shut the fuck up.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

coward and informer yuh madda craches.

GET IT STRAIGHT WHITE BOY. I am nothing more than a native Jamaican who is making an opinion about your misinformed spew.

Theres nothing COWARDLY about not wanting my name appearing on this GAY website, but be rest assured that we know who YOU are and when we sight you back here we WILL identify ourselves to you before we kick off yuh fuckin face.

Then you will know who you you are talking to and there'll be no more confusion.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps. when i print this blog and pass it around to the very studios that you love chat bout so much, we will see if they think I'm an informer or a messenger.

2:19 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

who jah bless, let no man curse.

thanks for all the support. i will let my words and deeds stand for what they are. real recognize real.

please find another outlet for your anger, hatred, and machismo. this is not the place for such fuckery.

2:35 PM  

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