January 11, 2008 – Many legendary and up coming reggae artists are banned in various places worldwide because of their use of violence-laced anti-gay lyrics in their music. Members of the LGBT community feel victimized by the lyrics, while the artists feel that they are being censored. Several artists have been asked to defend their position on homosexuality, but repeatedly back away from the topic. Consequently, concert promoters run the risk of having to cancel concerts because of the possibility of being rejected by certain venues when they book some of these acts. Meanwhile, there is no voice from the record labels that reap the benefits of album sales. So what are the boundaries of free speech? Where do we draw the line when anti-gay lyrics are used in reggae music?
ZYNC TV, organizer of the forum, has compiled a group of people from the reggae community, LGBT community, and higher education to open up a dialogue where they can address the myriad of issues surrounding this topic. While the historical and social context of homosexuality in Jamaican culture will be discussed, the panelists will tackle issues such as the double standard involved in banning reggae artists, race, and up-and-coming artists using anti-gay nuances in their music.
Panelists include : poet and activist Staceyann Chin, Sirius Satellite radio personality and programmer Pat McKay, professor of Caribbean literature Dr. Kelly Baker Josephs, IRIE JAM 93.5 FM radio personality Roy Walters, Executive Director of the Anti-Discrimination Project at Gay Men of African Descent Donald Powell, Contributing Editor to Everybody’s Magazine and producer/co-host of Reggae Roundtable on Labrish on WBAI Stan Evan Smith, and Reggae Carifest promoter/record producer D’Niscio Brooks.
The forum will be held at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Thursday, February 7, 2008 starting at 5:30pm with a reception to follow.
It will be videotaped by ZYNC TV and CARIBBEAN LIFESTYLE MEDIA (CLM TV) and broadcast over several weeks as a special series.
ZYNC TV started in 2005 as a Brooklyn-based community news and entertainment show that focuses on events and issues in New York City. From film festivals to celebrity interviews and everything in between, they also serve as a conduit for the exchange of cultural ideas and events from areas in the world that are influenced by the Afro-Caribbean culture. ZYNC TV’s NEW YORK LINKZ, the weekly half-hour show, airs on NYC Channel 73 on Sunday afternoons at 12:30pm as part of the Caribbean International Network (CIN) programming, and on BCAT on Saturday nights at 11:30 pm on Cablevision Channel 69/Time Warner Channel 56.
CLM TV is a one-hour television program that showcases successful business entrepreneurs, overachievers and celebrities living in the USA. The show, which also airs on CIN Channel 73 on Sundays at 9:30am, has made a noteworthy impact in bringing forth the best of the Caribbean Diaspora.
Local media are strongly encouraged to arrange pre-interviews with the organizers of the forum. As producers of the forum, ZYNC TV reserves the right to deny any form of videotaping by media during the forum.
Reporter, ZYNC TV
Co-Producer, ZYNC TV