Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rhyming For A Reason

This is just cool: In a giant leap to "bring peace, love and respect back to reggae music," three major musicians in the genre (Sizzla, Beenie Man and Capleton) have signed The Reggae Compassionate Act.Those who sign the Act must adhear to three rules of thumb:

In the Reggae Compassionate Act the three singers pledge to:

■ “respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without fear of hatred and violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender”;

■ “there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia”;

■ “we agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community”.

The article goes on to describe how "artists promise to not sing lyrics or make public statements, in Jamaica or anywhere else in the world, that incite prejudice, hatred or violence against lesbian and gay people."

I think this is awesome. The media constantly infiltrates our lives, and creating a pact that will effectively remove bigotry and violence, has the possibility of actually shifting the status quo. When radio host Don Imus made his notorious remarks about the women basketball players, much of the mainstream music industry began whispering about this type of anti-hate mantra. Now the reggae world is moving towards it...let's hope it trickles down to all other radio-play areas.

Because let’s face it, music and movie stars have a lot of clout in society, and young (and older) kids may formulate some of their beliefs based on the singer or actor’s message – others may find that they have allowed for a self-fulfilling prophecy to churn their well-being. I know there is a lot of talk about freedom of speech, but there has to be a line that says, hey, you are infringing on the rights of others with your hate-filled speeches; you are inciting violence against those who are not straight, rich, or so on. Sure, people will still get their values from their household – which I contend is where most of the morals stem from in young people’s lives; not the music or movie industry – but it would be nice to curb some of the prejudice on the airwaves.