LIFEbeat – The Music Industry Fights AIDS, wants the Caribbean American, AIDS activist and gay communities to know that we remain deeply committed to utilizing the power of music and the music industry to fight AIDS and we have learned many lessons while organizing the Reggae Gold Live concert. “In our desire to do something positive within the Caribbean American community, we didn’t realize the depth of the hurt in the GLBT community around the lyrics of these artists,” commented John Cannelli, Executive Director of LIFEbeat. “Once we saw how deep and real it is, it became very clear that canceling the concert was the right thing to do. We want to extend a heartfelt apology to those we offended and thank the individuals who raised their voices and helped us to see a more effective way to realize our mission. We also want to clarify the concerns of violence we felt. Those concerns didn’t stem from any threats from activists or members of the Caribbean American community. They stemmed from threatening phone calls our office received from random individuals that led to concerns for the safety of our staff and others.”
Moving forward, the concert is cancelled but the issue still exists. * “We’re not giving up and are continuing our commitment to this community,” Cannelli adds. “The issues of homophobia, sexism, racism and poverty, key factors in the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS, need to be addressed openly. In looking at the bigger picture with the lessons we’ve learned, this concert wasn’t the right forum for this important topic. Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to key members of the Caribbean American community and to AIDS organizations to join together in creating an appropriate forum, where our individual strengths as activists and the power of coming together under one important cause can make a real difference in this community.”
* LIFEbeat will have no involvement in nor benefit from any attempted resurrection of the Reggae Gold Live concert by any parties.
The apology came a few hours after a press conference held by the New York State Black Gay Network.
The conference was scheduled before LIFEbeat’s cancellation announcement yesterday. Keith has was at the conference and has more on the organizations involved including Gay Men of African Decent, the New York AIDS Coalition, Unity Fellowship Church, and the New York Anti-Violence project.
Keith’s post also included the story of black lesbian couple murdered in Jamaica just weeks ago.
The bodies of 20-year-old Candice Williams and Phoebe Myrie, 22, were found dumped in a pit at a home they shared in Taylor Land, Bull Bay, last week Wednesday, and police investigations are now confirming rumours of a ‘murder of passion!’
As a result, police are now on the hunt for the father of the one-year-old child of Candice Williams, Dwayne Lewis, who is wanted for questioning in the matter.
Police who were on the scene when the bodies were found, say the evidence found at the scene, suggested that the killer might have been angered by their suspected lesbian relationship.
LIFEbeat’s latest statement seems to finally open the door to actual dialogue, and the press conference identifies some of the organizations they might consider working with to avoid controversies like this in the future and to work more effectively with the communities they’re looking to serve.