NEWS & MEDIA COVERAGE
Ceasefire as Stop Murder Music Group and Ourtage scrap their anti-reggae campaign
Blink can reveal that the black-led Stop Murder Music group will announce tomorrow a ‘suspension’ of their campaign against eight reggae performers.
Pressure will now focus on Peter Tatchell of gay rights group Outrage! over whether he will respect the ceasefire.
Blink has learnt Tatchell walked out of negotiations between black gay campaigners and reggae promoters before the talks concluded.
Dennis Carney, spokesman for Stop Murder Music and chair of the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group, confirmed a deal had been reached with a consortium of concert promoters and record labels in Britain and the United States.
Carney told Blink: “We’ve agreed a number of proposals for dealing with any future conflict. What has changed is that both sides are talking to each other and we’ve both agreed a framework for settling any differences that arise on both sides.”
The conflict resolution agreement was struck with promoters including Jammins, Apollo Entertainment, and labels including VP Records, Greensleeves and Jetstar Records.
Carney said: “The issue is much more about the music that’s actually being released. We’ve secured a deal with the record industry and the promoters to limit the scope of this music.”
Full details of the agreement have yet to emerge but it is likely to concentrate on ensuring that reggae artists do not perform homophobic songs at live gigs, and do not record any more offensive tracks.
It is not expected to involve the recalling of records featuring songs alleged to contain anti-gay lyrics which have already been distributed.
It will now prove difficult for Tatchell to keep up his campaign against reggae artists in opposition to black gay groups. Delma Pryce of the Black Music Council called on Tatchell to give a public guarantee he will abide by the spirit of the deal.
She said: “I hope for the sake of moving on Peter Tatchell now gives up his campaign. We realise there’s an issue. What we need to do is to sit around the table and find a compromise that is suitable to everybody.”
Media strategist Glen Yearwood, who led negotiations on behalf of the music industry, welcomed the outcome and said he was confident that all parties can “build on this framework that will help shape a new and positive future.”
Gay activists and the music industry agreed to series of meetings and will review the terms of the agreement in three to six months time.
Carney said: “The campaign [against reggae artists] ceases. Stop Murder Music does not cease to continue.” The two sides describe the deal as a satisfactory understanding, and the first step in an important process.
Last year the MOBO awards were marked by protests by reggae lovers angry that Tatchell had pressured MOBO chief Kanya King to remove Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel from the nomination shortlist.
Other artists targeted by Tatchell include Capleton, Buju Banton, TOK and Bounty Killer. Pressure on venues and police has led to the last-minute cancelation of scores of gigs in Britain, Europe and America.