Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Anti-gay reggae singer dropped from Oakland festival

NEWS


s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com

Anti-gay reggae singer Capleton won't be performing in Oakland this weekend.
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A reggae singer whose repertoire has included calling for gays and lesbians to be killed won't be performing in Oakland after all.

The singer, Capleton, had been scheduled to perform at the Ragga Muffins Festival at Oakland's Fox Theater on Saturday, February 20.

But in a Sunday, February 14 e-mail to the Bay Area Reporter, Moss Jacobs, a co-producer of the festival in Oakland, wrote Capleton had been "removed from the Festival(s) and will not be performing in Oakland next Saturday. He was also removed from our Long Beach and San Diego events, and my understanding is that now none of his California performances will be happening."

According to the Stop Murder Music campaign, Capleton's lyrics have included lines that translate to "All queers and sodomites should be killed" and "All queers who come around here/This mama earth says none can survive."

In a phone interview last week, after being read the translations, Jacobs, president of Moss Jacobs Presents, said, "We didn't set out to have a show with an artist who is singing these lyrics."

Jacobs did not respond to an e-mail this week asking why Capleton had been pulled.

The Stop Murder Music campaign lists Capleton's real name as Clifton G. Bailey. Under the name C. Bailey, Capleton apparently once signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which he's allegedly violated. Among other things, the act says, "[T]here'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 include hatred or violence against anyone from any community."

Asked last week about reports that Capleton had violated the act, Jacobs said, "We've been attempting to determine factually if and when that happened, and that's something we're still trying to determine."

Allen Scott, vice president of Another Planet Entertainment and a co-producer of the Oakland festival , said if Capleton was "currently advocating violence against gays ... we would cancel him from the show."

Jacobs said, "We've had Capleton post-RCA with no issues," and the singer hadn't performed any songs advocating violence against gays and lesbians during at least one previous show.

The Web site www.renegadeshows.com included a message Wednesday, February 17, that said, "The Capleton/Cocoa Tea Tour Has Been Cancelled." It wasn't immediately clear from the site where Capleton had been scheduled to perform on that tour, or what the relationship might be to the Ragga Muffins Festival.

Many, including San Francisco blogger and activist Michael Petrelis and people in Humboldt County, where a planned show by the singer was canceled, had scorned Capleton's scheduled appearances.

But local reaction to Capleton was more muted than the fiery response to plans for a San Francisco appearance by Buju Banton last fall.

Banton performed last October hours after meeting with San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty and other gay rights advocates. Banton (real name: Mark Anthony Myrie) has drawn protest worldwide for anti-gay lyrics, most notably in his song "Boom Bye Bye," which promotes violence against and the murder of LGBTs.

Before news of Capleton being dropped from the Oakland festival went out, Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan, an out lesbian, said Oakland's LGBT community has greater needs to address than protesting a concert. She noted that the city does not have an LGBT community center and lacks many services targeted to LGBT residents.

"Who is protesting?" Kaplan asked, saying she had not heard of any complaints about the singer's performance. "I think we have actual work to do on actual things that matter."

Last month, gay Oakland resident Sean Sullivan had been one of the main people calling for Oakland city officials not to reappoint Lorenzo Hoopes to the board of the Paramount Theatre. Data on the secretary of state's Web site indicate that Hoopes, a former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Oakland Temple, contributed $26,000 to support Prop 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, in 2008.

But in an interview before Capleton was dropped from the Oakland festival, Sullivan said that he didn't know anything about the singer. After the B.A.R. sent him some information, Sullivan wrote in an e-mail, "We are deeply saddened that someone who advocates violence against any group of people is performing at Oakland's historic Fox Theatre. Sadly, both the Fox and Paramount Theatres, Oakland's cultural jewels in our downtown, have poor history of reaching out to Oakland's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community despite our continued patronage of many of their acts and the Bench & Bar's proximity to them."

The Bench & Bar is a longtime gay bar that recently relocated in the revitalized uptown area.

In a phone interview, Claudette Kemp, Capleton's manager, denied that the singer called for the killing of gays and lesbians, and said he's had lyrics that were based on the Bible. She indicated his words had been mistranslated, but it wasn't clear if she was referring to lyrics that had been translated by Stop Murder Music.

"He did not call anyone to kill no gays," said Kemp.

Matthew S. Bajko contributed to this report.






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