One of the most (among the many) irritating things about LIFEbeat’s statement concerning the cancellation of the concert featuring violently anti-gay artists was their claim that “threats of violence” were part of the reason for the cancellation. The language of the statement clearly implied that those “threats” came from the “select group of activists” who had the temerity to hold them accountable for their decisions.
Well, evidently James Cannelli decided to get honest about that claim and some other issues in this Gay City News article.
Cannelli acknowledged that the violent threats they claimed to have received were anonymous, not from the leaders protesting his inclusion of these artists. He said that he had no evidence that Beenie Man and TOK had made amends for their profiting from anti-gay songs, but said, “I feel that any artist that agrees to perform for free at an AIDS concert is making a statement.
So the threats of violence came from anonymous individuals. As for the rest, if Cannelli wanted evidence that the artists in question hadn’t “made amends” for advocating violence and murder against gays & lesbians, if he’d just asked — you know, like, engaged in a dialogue with the community before going off half-cocked — he might have learned more about that, and LIFEbeat might have avoided the controversy they claimed to have foreseen and given “careful consideration” before proceeding.
There is still a chance for LIFEbeat to turn this around. And if they reach out this time, they might just find a community willing to help them get it right and accomplish what they initially set out to do.