The beautiful island of Jamaica was once referred to as one of the most homophobic countries in the western hemisphere. Other countries were actually warning their homosexual citizens not to visit Jamaica or to be very careful if they did visit the island. Dancehall music, a sub-genre of Reggae Music was even labeled as “murder music” because of the genre’s denunciation of homosexuality.
Up until 2018, the island with the most churches per capita was still considered to be very homophobic. So much so that when Jamaican, Dalton Harris, won the 2018 X-Factor, his victory was not celebrated in Jamaica because earlier in the competition a photo of him sitting in another male contestant’s lap went viral. As a result of the photo, Dalton’s sexuality was brought into the question and it led dancehall superstar, Bounty Killer, who once supported Harris to withdraw his support.
2019 seems to have brought in a sea of change into Jamaica where acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle is concerned. It is difficult to tell what is behind these changes but anyone paying attention can see them clearly.
It all started when Buju Banton who was once an enemy of the gay community because of his anti-gay song Boom Bye Bye, basically apologized for the song and welcomed homosexuals to his shows.
“I affirm once and for all that everyone has the right to live as they so choose,” Buju Banton said. “In the words of the great Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends.’ I welcome everyone to my shows in a spirit of peace and love. Please come join me in that same spirit.”
Not even a month after Buju Banton’s statement, Joe Bogdanovich, the owner of the Reggae Sumfest brand announced that Dalton Harris would be performing on Reggae Sumfest 2019. Some reggae fans were against Harris performing on the show but Bogdanovich made it clear that he was only looking at Harris’s talent and not his sexuality.
“There’s a lot of interest in Dalton. He’s one heck of a singer. Come on. You don’t need any other reason to want him on the show,” Bogdanovich said.
In 2019 the National Family Planning Board also claimed that they conducted a study that showed that HIV was rising at an alarming rate in Jamaican prisons. The study claimed that Jamaican male prisoners were the highest group infected with HIV only behind gay and transgender men. The alarming part of the study was the fact that these men were contracting the virus while they are in prison. Whether the study is factual or part of an agenda to let Jamaicans believe that even the “rude boys” are having gay sex, is not exactly known. What is known is that no independent third party has verified this study.
Just this week, female dancehall star, Shenseea, released a photo of herself lying half-naked in bed with her female lover. Some people argued that it was just a publicity stunt while others say that the deejay is bisexual. Regardless of what the story behind the photo is, one thing is for certain; Sister Nancy or Sister Carol could not have gotten away with that in the 80s and Lady G or Lady Saw could not have gotten away with it in the 90s. This just shows how rapidly Jamaican acceptance of homosexuality is rising. Homosexuality lifestyle acceptance in Jamaica might rival the acceptance of marijuana in the United States. One should not be surprised if the buggery law in Jamaica is overturned before marijuana is legalized on the national level in the United States.
We are barely halfway through 2019, but when the history books are written, it might go down as the year when homosexuality was forced onto Jamaicans. The irony of it all is that the same music that was used to teach Jamaicans that homosexuality is wrong is the same music that is teaching them that homosexuality is right.