Coalition seeks ejection of reggae stars over anti-gay lyrics

Gay and lesbian rights activists are calling for the deportation of two controversial reggae artists scheduled to perform in Toronto in the coming days.

Gay and lesbian rights activists are calling for the deportation of two controversial reggae artists scheduled to perform in Toronto in the coming days.

Jamaican singer Elephant Man, whose real name is O'Neil Bryan, arrived in Canada last week for a series of dates across the country and is scheduled to perform at Toronto club Kool Haus on Friday.

Fellow Jamaican performer Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, is scheduled to perform at the same club on Oct. 5.

Both artists have been criticized by gay rights groups in several countries for preaching violence against homosexuals in their music.

A coalition entitled the Stop the Murder Music campaign has called on Immigration Minister Diane Finley to deport the two performers.

"Homophobia has always been an issue, but because of [their]lyrics over the past 10 years — the period we're looking at — they've continually sang songs calling for [gays] to be killed, burned, drowned and basically stoned to death," group spokesperson Akim Larcher said in Toronto Tuesday.

Subsequently, he added, "We've noticed anincrease in mob violence."

The group has voiced its concerns to the Hate Crimes Unit of the Toronto Police, members of which are expected to be in the audience Friday for Elephant Man's concert.

In late 2004, Sizzla was barred from entering the U.K. for several concerts and was among a group of reggae artists who were being investigated by Scotland Yard for inciting murder through their lyrics.

Elephant Man and Sizzla were also among a list of reggae and dancehall artists targeted by gay and lesbian activists worldwide that year for what they say was the promotion ofhomophobia.

Also in 2004, Canadian organizers cancelled two concerts for Grammy Award-winning dancehall artist Beenie Man because of his "controversial lyrical content."

He was also removed from an MTV Video Music Awards-related concert and saw other U.S. and European performance dates cancelled. He later issued an apology for "those who might have been offended, threatened or hurt by my songs."