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#496544 - 10/08/14 06:10 AM UNIBAM Says Back Down Beenie Man
Marty Offline
If you watch the ads on the news, you probably know that Robert Lee, better known as Bobby Chin or "Black Chiney," is having his Birthday Bash Concert two Saturdays from now at the Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio.

But, now an advocacy group is trying to block him out much like how the Roman Catholic Church tried to block the reggae artist Alkaline 3 weeks ago. But, this time it's not the church, it's their arch-nemesis, the gay rights group UNIBAM - which, in a clever twist, is claiming common cause with the Catholics.

UNIBAM's attorney, Lisa Shoman today sent a letter to the principal promoter Jordan Zabaneh warning the promoters that they must commit to a clean show, or else UNIBAM will seek an injunction against them.

And what do they mean by a clean show? Well, the letter quotes lyrics from headliner Beenie Man and warns that both he or Bobby Chin will, quote "...make statements/sing, and/or perform lyrics and acts that incite, the murder of His Holiness the Pope, incite and advocate the hate/harm or murder of LGBT persons and promote harm and/or forcible sexual acts against women (and) girls and...are mysoginistic in nature." End quote.

UNIBAM demands that the promoters give an undertaking that at the show, none of the artists will sing any lyrics that speak violence against the Pope, gays or women. If the promoters do not agree to such an undertaking, UNIBAM will apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction to block them from having the performance.

It's a very strong position, and a precedent has already been set with the Alkaline challenge - which the court upheld. But that had to do with church business, and this case is different. Today, we caught up with UNIBAM's executive director to explain why now, since Beenie Man has come to Belize at least twice before:

Caleb Orozco, UNIBAM
"Collectively we were concern that sponsors are taking their social responsibility serious with regards to how violence impact the community and that artists who promote violence against women, gays, or the police. In fact there was a reference in one of the lyrics to murder the pope. How can we as a society being concern about violence when we are glorifying violence in the lyrics and having one of Belize's largest sponsor support that the lyrical violence comes from these artists without any regard to the impact of the psychology of those who go and attend from the communities which are Belizeans. It is important to us to bring to the attention of all parties including religious leaders to understand that once and for all we need to take a substantive stance on what the meaning of violence and the factors that influence this glorification in the country."

Daniel Ortiz
"While you consider it glorification, those who will probably attend this concert will see this as you making a flamboyant stance when it's just a lyric, it's just a song. Why is it more important than we question those things?"

Caleb Orozco, UNIBAM
"Well for those people who go and say it's just entertainment, I'd like to challenge them to be very happy when one of their relatives are shot. For those who go and enjoy the music, I like to challenge them and ask if they would be happy if one of their sisters were raped, or abused by another man. For those who go to the concert or who go to the event the issue is not stopping the event, the issue is for those artist to be conscious that they have a social responsibility to entertain people in a fun and positive way."

Since, we had no phone numbers to reach him, we tried to make contact with Bobby Chin through the social media, but up until news time, he had not responded. We also attempted to contact Troy Flowers, better known as "DJ Dallah". He is scheduled to be the show's host. We also were unable to reach him for comment. Via Facebook, he gave his opinions via an extended comment, basically, saying, back off, and if you don't like it don't attend.

Flowers said, quote,
"...What if an artist sing vulgar music? That's his or her business! You don't have to support the music you don't like but at the same time you don't have the right to be malicious about it.

What is this new rampage about this or that artist can't come to Belize? Promoters are spending their money to make money and let's be fair not because you dislike something means you will try to destroy it and deprive other people of enjoying it."

Channel 7

#496606 - 10/09/14 05:26 AM Re: UNIBAM Says Back Down Beenie Man [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Beenie Disavows Prejudiced Statements Of Youth

But, truth be told, the allegations of homophobia have dogged Beenie Man as a performer for over a decade now. Gay rights groups – especially in the United States – have been forcing promoters to cancel his shows since the early aughts. It’s affected him big time, and stopped his ascension to status as a marquee entertainment name. In 2012 – he made this statement to appease his critics. It’s relevant now in Belize, and we air it mostly unedited:…

Today local promoter Troy Flowers, professionally known as DJ Dalla wasn’t quite so contrite. He said in a statement today, quote,

“Stop trying to fight and stifle the entertainment industry…it's a growing industry that puts food on many tables….

What if an artist sing vulgar music? That's his or her business! You don't have to support the music you don't like… When it's convenient for you, you want to book us for your parties, events etc. and then it's all fine cause you have Mr. Top Artist/Dj at your event! Yes, when it's convenient to you because you have some self given right to more or better than the rest of us Belizeans.” End quote.

He closes, quote

“Back off! Leave us to live and eat, we have enough challenges as it is AND we're not doing anything illegal...”

Hon. Lisa Vs. Bobby & Beenie

Yesterday, we told you about the letter that attorney Lisa Shoman wrote to the promoters of the Bobby Chin Birthday Bash Concert, which will take place at Cahal Pech Resort on October 18.

The promoters will bring in Jamaican Dancehall Superstar Beenie Man as the headline event, but UNIBAM is demanding that all artists put on a clean show for the concert-goers. The organizations says that Beenie Man or Bobby Chin may, quote, "...make statements/sing, and/or perform lyrics and acts that incite, the murder of His Holiness the Pope, incite and advocate the hate/harm or murder of LGBT persons and promote harm and/or forcible sexual acts against women (and) girls…." End quote.

Today we asked Shoman, to explain the legal basis for what, essentially, is censorship:

Lisa Shoman, Attorney UNIBAM

"It's not about gay people, it's about violence. This addresses violent lyrics and the violence can be expressed towards the police, it could be expressed about the pope, it could be expressed about women, it could be expressed about gay people. So the focus is not the LGBT community, it is a call for there to be no violence, no violent lyrics song, no violence expressed and I think that is a reasonable call. It is not censorship because UNIBAM is not asking for anybody to be censored. It is not saying that Beenie Man shouldn't come, it's not saying Bobby Chin should not come. It is saying come, but we don't want you to sing violent lyrics, we don't want you to express sentiments like, bun this one, bun that one, this one needs a piece of rope. It shouldn't be said about the police, about the women or about LGBT persons. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. UNIBAM as an organisation expressed it's opinion and it has not sought to go to court first. It as made the request and if we get the under taking, written or verbal, we will gratefully accept that under taking. If we don't, then the organisation has said it will reserve it's right, including the right without notice to go for an injunction. That decision has not yet been made, but it will be studied if that isn't forth coming."


"What about the fans of the artists, what about their position that they might like this artist and like the songs that he sings. Whether violent or not or whether it perpetrates violence against the pope, police or gay people. What do you say to that?"

Lisa Shoman

"Here's the thing, I like Beenie Man. They are members of UNIBAM who really like Beenie Man. It's not about liking the artist, it isn't even about entertainment. What it is, you are not allowed by law to say or sing or express things that call for violence against anyone, that insight people to violence. I would like all promoters to know, that I do not believe that any of them wish to make their living by promoting or advocating violence. So this isn't against promoters. Every responsible promoter in this country has to obey the law and the law is very clear about inciting, advocating or promoting violence."

As we've told you, UNIBAM wants an undertaking, written or verbal that they performers will give that clean show or else they will go to the Supreme Court to get an injunction to block them from having the concert.

The promoters have invested thousands of dollars to get the concert to happen, and as you have guessed, they are not happy with this move. Even though UNIBAM's attorney says that it's not an attempt at censorship, they assert that it is.

Today, we caught up with Bobby Chin, the man who's throwing the event for his birthday. He says that he had intentions of putting on a clean show, so he didn't need UNIBAM to pressure him:

Robert Lee ak.a Bobby Chin "Black Chiney"

"I did read the letter and was disappointed. Somethings were said in the letter that's outrageous. She said something about me killing the pope, me inciting violence against police and that I want to kill gays. Nothing like that is true. If I have an event, I have to hire police, so what am I going to do, hire them and kill them? That doesn't make any sense, first of all. The pope, I can't kill the pope, not even the whole of Belize together couldn't kill the pope, he's a very powerful man. I'm anglican and he's catholic. I've never ever said anything bad about the pope. Now as far as gays, why would I kill a gay? That is their beliefs, my beliefs might be different but i'm not a violent person, it just upsets me."

Daniel Ortiz

"They're demanding a clean show from you, a legal undertaking or else they trying to go to court to block you from doing that performance. Are you going to abide? Or are you going to ignore it?"

Bobby Chin

"I'm going to ignore it, I'm going to abide by my rules. My rule from day one, I told every sound this, if you come to my birthday party and you play a bad word or you play anything against any group, you're not going to get paid. That's just my rule, I'm use to these things from long time. I have corporate sponsors and I respect the sponsors them. They never ask me to do it, but every birthday party I do, I have my little rules. I've been in Europe before, you know in Europe you cannot play certain songs. In Jamaica where i'm from, Red stripe have a contract that you sign before you play at any party if you working for red stripe. It says you can't play any songs about any group whether religious, sexual, what ever. So we're use to these things."

Daniel Ortiz

"Beenie Man has written songs which have been inflammatory in the past. What's your reaction to them, presenting as evidence why your show should not happen?"

Bobby Chin

"I have about several girl friends in the past that cheated on me. Should I disrespect them now? That is in the past, what a man does in his past, as long as he changes it. Beenie Man has songs that are little bit on the other side but that is in the past. About 2 years ago he made a video to clear up all of that. So you can watch that video. I could keep a birthday party in my house and have a little piñata and make Beenie Man come and beat the piñata and still someone would have a problem."

Daniel Ortiz

"The letter, will you respond?"

Bobby Chin

"I won't respond to the letter, but I'll invite Lisa Shoman for lunch, I'll pay for it and we can talk about things. They didn't have to go around and send a letter to everyone in the country because that will not effect Bobby Chin."

Channel 7

#496649 - 10/10/14 05:56 AM Re: UNIBAM Says Back Down Beenie Man [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Bobby Chin Charmed Caleb, Says UNIBAM Wonít Go For Injunction

The Bobby Chin Birthday Bash, which has been in the news because of the controversy over objectionable lyrics, will go ahead unchallenged.

That's because as we showed you last night, Jamaican Artist, Robert Lee, better known as "Bobby Chin" or "Black Chiny", responded to UNIBAM's criticism that they might incite violence at their concert. Bobby Chin told us that he did not need UNIBAM to pressure him into a doing a clean show, because that is the standing orders at any event he hosts or performs, and that it has been a long-standing practice of his.

Well, UNIBAM says that the they've gotten the verbal undertaking they wanted from him, and so, they are not going to the Supreme Court to get any emergency injunction to block the concert from happening.

In a statement released today, the organization said, Quote, "UNIBAM thanks Mr. Lee and notes with care, that as the main promoter, he has publicly stated, quote, 'My rule from day one, I told every Sound man this, if you come to my birthday party and you play a bad word, or you play anything against any group, you are not going to get paid. That's just my rule...'" End quote.

UNIBAM also saluted Lee saying that his restraint while performing abroad is something that all concert promoters and sponsors in Belize should consider doing.

And in relation to sponsorship, the Belize Cancer Society sent out a release today in which the NGO distanced itself from the Bobby Chin Birthday Bash.

Laura Tucker-Longsworth, the President of the Cancer Society, writes the principal promoter Jordan Zabaneh saying, quote, "We have no arrangement with your organization to become a sponsor. We did not receive any request for Belize Cancer Society to be listed as a sponsor."

She continues, "You are instructed to remove the name of our organization from all promotional material and announce public that the Belize Cancer Society is NOT a sponsor."

Lonsworth concludes by nothing that they've sought legal advice on the matter, and their attorney has been instructed to preserve the integrity of their organization.

This evening, we were able to reach Bobby Chin by phone for comment on the letter from the Belize Cancer Society, and he told us that they are indeed not a sponsor. He said that he would get in contact with Laura Longsworth to clear this issue up.

He called us back a few minutes ago to set the record straight that it is he who approached the Belize Cancer Society to make a donation to them after the ticket sales for the Birthday Bash show. He said that there has been a misunderstanding, and he did not approach them for sponsorship. He added that if - and he did stress "if" - Belize Cancer Society's name ended up on any promotional material, it may have been error of the person who printed the flyer, which will be corrected. We went looking for comment for from the Cancer Society, but we were informed that Laura Longsworth was unavailable.

Channel 7


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