Update: Another Multinational Caught Promoting Rape, Violent Homophobia in Jamaica
Update: LIME has now disassociated itself from Potential Kidd, who is quoted saying in a release from LIME: “I do not support violence against women or homosexuals.”
LIME also said they would facilitate a meeting between the artist and people who were troubled by the lyrics.
A Caribbean mobile phone company is running a promotion aimed at children using a song which endorses the rape of women to prevent homosexuality.
LIME Caribbean, which is owned by the UK-based multinational Cable & Wireless, is using the song “A yah suh Nice” by Potential Kidd as its theme for its promotion aimed at Jamaican high schools’ athletics.
The words of the song convey the idea that being a rapist (of women) is preferable to being gay, with Potential Kidd singing:
“Before mi tun a battyman, mi wudda tun a raper.”
The promotion offers winning schools $100,000 for a project, two desktop computers and an all-expense-paid concert featuring Potential Kidd.
The chart-topping song has been the subject of criticism since it came out. In a letter to The Gleaner, T Roache wrote:
Do we listen to what we endorse? What message are we sending to our children by playing such songs, even if abridged, on radio?
Some of our artistes need to be more responsible and creative in their writing and discard negative messages. Don’t they have mothers, sisters and daughters? How would they feel about someone harbouring thoughts of raping a female family member?
We need to do better as a society and refrain from negative messages.
Wrote Jamaican blogger ‘constructed thoughts’:
The words fuel dangerous stereotypes and myths which already exist in the Jamaican society about women, their sexuality and the relation to rape. Chief among them the idea that a man’s sexual prowess must never be curtailed. Jamaica already records an alarming trend of rapes, abduction and sexual violence against our women, it is unacceptable for DJs to be suggesting that it is justifiable to rape.
The dancehall audiences that readily accept these lyrics must be called to task. Our people need to challenge our artistes to find creative ways of expressing themselves, without advocating homophobia, sexual violence and murder. These lyrics again bring into question the co-relation between dancehall and criminal deviance among our young people. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when artistes who are so revered advocate these kinds of behaviours, our youth are susceptible to accepting them as legitimate. Our society has to guard against this.
Cable & Wireless is not the first multinational company found promoting violence, misogyny and hatred of gays in Jamaica through its subsidiary.
Last year, Coca-Cola was criticized for promoting a music festival which featured ‘murder music’ singers — those who advocate the murder of gay people.
Photo: Activist Maurice Tomlinson at Stand against Homophobia, Emancipation Park, Kingston, 28 July, 2011. Picture by Maurice Tomlinson.