As I live and breathe George ‘GT’ Taylor popular party and stage show promoter of the Boom sponsored Extravaganza (not related to our gay ballroom ‘Xtravaganza parties and vogue off sessions from back in the day) and radio host on IRIE FM has once again thrown down the gauntlet as to artists lined up for his popular year end show Boom Extravaganza for performers to avoid lewd lyrics and anti gay songs.
As last year’s event on Christmas day he had a sign placed on the side entrance of the stage that read words to the effect to performers of no bad words, no offensive language towards anyone or groups with unpopular lifestyles; I will ignore the ‘lifestyle’ reference for now but there is some growth here on the part of Mr Taylor and maybe some intervention directly with him should suffice in opening his mind of the difference between lifestyle and sexual orientation issues.
Sizzla reportedly fumed and balked at the warning sign;
“So wah dem a seh? No bad words? Oooooh?” said Sizzla as he picked up one of the signs and examined it closely.
“No offensive language against certain groups? A wah dis?
Mi nuh inna dis I want to warn all promoters against de sponsors dem who want dem fe go easy on certain groups ........ but mi nuh inna it wid dem.”
Said Sizzla reportedly striving hard to control his rage.
(Translation: So what are they saying? No expletives ....... oh! It what is this? ....... I am not into this I want to warn all promoters against the sponsors who want artists to go easy on certain groups ....... but I am not into that with them.)
Taylor said it is a sign that has always been at the event not only last year.
“I am showing the standard is what I am saying ........ That’s all my sign is saying.”
When asked by a media house whether the sign was his doing or the sponsors demanding such restrictions he responded “That’s my rule ........ That’s my rule; I am saying that our music must be presented on a professional and a distinguished level. We cannot present our music on a derogatory level and I think that is one of the good things that’s hold Extravaganza.”
“I am for discipline and if you are going to present the reggae music, this music that I love that is one of the things why I stick with this show, because I want to help keep this culture alive; we cannot be spreading the culture and we are going to do it in derogatory fashion.”
“We must not disrespect our women and we must not disrespect people, so I put my sign up there and it has been up for quite a good number of years.” He also added that it is included in the performance contracts although there have been breaches and some have been overlooked he intends to be far vigilant than in years gone by. He also made his media house link and claims he has to keep it clean given his position and type of show he hosts.
“Anything I am doing in the business must be done with dignity and respect.” Taylor said. As for last year’s show and Sizzla he said he did not use any profanity and that he was protesting the sign. “Maybe he felt the sign was too bold but that’s it. You are going to see that sign there on Extravaganza.”
He concluded that the reason for the shows longevity is the quality of performances demanded by him when booking or signing/negotiating contracts and is hopeful Boom will remain so as to bring the event to another level.
Well the Red Stripe folks did the bold move years ago and others have been slowly following suit, now comes GT Taylor and I hope this is not a public relations stunt to avoid scrutiny by vigilant activists like myself who having been involved with the Stop Murder Music Campaign back in the day with then Programs Manager of JFLAG (when they meant something) Mark Clifford we are not deterred by nice sounding or flowery phrases. Sizzla is out of control as far as I am concerned from way back in the day when gentle persuasion did not work via SMM to get him to cooperate and or sign the symbolic Reggae Compassionate Act, RCA and for a Rastafarian he seems way out of line with the basic principles of his faith or is he a real rass? And what about Rastafarian men who are same sex attracted or gay sex practicing? I have had a few in my lifetime and they are good in bed too. But seriously if Haile Selassie is a representation of goodwill to all and non discrimination or a God in their eyes and given the Rasta’s own persecution they faced in the 60s to the late 90s from scorn in public by others has the oppressed become the oppressor in some respects? Rastas such as Sizzla need to remember the refusal by some to rent a man with locked hair (hence the song “dreadlocks can’t live in a tenement yard); relentless teasing of persons with locked hair to have lice or worse and discrimination by schools of children with locked hair as well where demands are made of them to trim the growth.
I am sure LGBT persons hardly if any persecuted Rastas as we have always had our share of poison thrown at us in this country and still do.
Let us watch this development and see where it leads.
Peace & tolerance