Reggae stars told to miss Mobos

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The Independent Culture

Two Reggae singers were banned last night from appearing at a black music awards show after refusing to apologise for homophobic lyrics.

Two Reggae singers were banned last night from appearing at a black music awards show after refusing to apologise for homophobic lyrics.

Jamaican singers Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, whose songs have incited killing homosexuals, had their nominations at the Music of Black Origin (Mobo) awards withdrawn following protests from gay rights campaigners.

Both artists - who were on the shortlist for Mobo's best reggae act - have previously released songs describing violent attacks on gay men including Elephant Man's lyrics "Battyman fi dead!" ("Gays must be killed!") and Vybz Kartel's "Kartel buss one inna batty bwoy spine" ("Kartel puts a bullet in a gay's spine").

A spokeswoman for the awards said the singers' representatives had stressed the artists had "moved on" but neither had responded to requests to apologise for their earlier lyrics, despite assurances that they would do so.

A statement from Mobo said: "The Mobo Awards' position has been clear from the outset - they do not condone music that clearly incites violence to gay and lesbian people nor do they advocate censorship of artistic expression.

"The last thing Mobo want to do is encourage prejudice to any minority group. Any suggestions contrary to that are disingenuous and false. Mobo have not yet received written apologies as previously promised. We have therefore alerted the Mobo Academy to this situation and a decision has been taken to withdraw the nominations."

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