iTunes Canada Removes Murder Dancehall Music

Jim Burroway

April 7th, 2008

iTunes.ca has pulled several Jamaican dancehall songs with anti-gay lyrics from its online store, including songs by Buju Banton, Elephant Man and TOK. This action followed a campaign led by the Canadian LGBT rights group Egale and Stop Murder Music. The songs include advocating or approval of killing gays:

“iTunes is exercising its corporate responsibility by pulling this murder music and raising the bar for other retailers and distributors to do the same,” says Akim Larcher, founder of SMM. He calls iTune’s decision a victory for the gay community in Canada and in the Caribbean.

The groups wrote to iTunes in January asking that the anti-gay tracks to be removed, citing three songs which promoted violence against gays. iTunes not only removed those tracks, but they also removed entire albums which contained the songs.

I looked around on the U.S. iTunes, and I wasn’t able to find Elephant Man’s “Log On” (Lyrics: “Dance wi a dance and a bun out a freaky man” — Join our dance and let’s burn out the gay man), or Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye Bye,” or any of Beenie Man’s three targeted songs.

Outrage! U.K. has a complete dossier (PDF: 348KB/9 pages) for the Stop Murder Music campaign. Some of the songs are still available via U.S. iTunes. Maybe some of our Canadian readers can provide us with the songs which are still available there as well. Please leave what you find either in comments or via email.

Update: The following murder music is still available via iTunes here in the U.S.:

Bounty Killer:

  • Man a Badman (“You know we need no promo to rub out dem homo” — “You know we don’t need a prom to kill a homo.”)
  • Look Good (“Mi ready fi go wipe out this fag wid pure laser beam” — “I’m ready to wipe out this faggot with a pure laser beam.”)

Capleton:

  • Bun Out Di Chi Chi Man (“Bun out ah chi chi, blood out ah chi chi” — “Burn out a queer, stab or chop up a queer.”)
  • Whoa! (“Sadomite and batty man mi shot up… Whoa!” — Sodomite and queer man, I shoot up… Whoa!”)

Vybz Kartel:

  • Pussy Jaw (“From yuh faggy Waterford/A wet yuh up wid di Maggy” — “If you are from faggoty Waterford, I shoot you with a Magnum.”)

queerunity

April 8th, 2008

Outrage has been very succesful at cancelling many of these singers events but it doesn’t seem to curtail their anti-gay message which I really don’t understand at all.

I. LeSage

April 8th, 2008

What about free speech. It isn’t nice music, but I get worried when more people start to get censored

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2008

These so-called “artists” are free to make whatever music they want. And iTunes is free to refuse to sell their music in the interest of public safety. Worry all you want about the niceties of speech; I’ll worry about people who are and have been murdered in Jamaica and elsewhere. Besides, “censorship” is a canaard — there is no government censorship here. This is all about free enterprise and the civic responsibility that iTunes has laudably undertaken.

gordo

April 8th, 2008

good grief! Does no one take Civics anymore?!

Everytime an issue like this comes up someone whines about “freedom of speech.”

Jason D

April 9th, 2008

I LeSage,
This isn’t censorship and certainly doesn’t violate the freedom of speech.

What would? if the government said that certain artists could not write, perform, record, or distribute their music at all. That’s censorship.

These artists are free to write, perform, and record their music. They can make deals with venues to perform and shops to sell their goods. The government is not preventing either.

Should a business be forced to sell a product that violates their own conscience and principals?

Don’t worry about censorship until the government steps in to stop someone from saying something.

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