Iconic entertainment manger Copeland Forbes says Jamaican music lost the war against the homosexual community.
According to Forbes, the war was unnecessary and only served to set back reggae and dancehall music for decades.
The manager, who has worked with a long list of icons including Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs, The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Ziggy Marley, Sugar Minott and Luciano, was speaking to the media at the recently concluded International Reggae Conference hosted at The University of The West Indies. He believes it will take a strong level of professionalism for Jamaican music to bounce back.
"I used to tell my artistes you don't need to go down that road, leave that alone. You don't need to go on stage and address homosexuality because it existed before you, and it will exist after you are gone. The sad thing is that our entire music industry was affected," he said.
Shabba Ranks was blacklisted by several companies in the '90s, after the deejay stated in an international interview that he did not support homosexuality. Forbes believes Jamaican genres suffered a similar fate.
"Look pan Beenie Man, he did a duet with Janet Jackson and that went nowhere because the homosexual community was going hard against him at the time and the record label pulled away. They lost because over a million dollars was pumped into the production of that song. You don't need to address dem because a lot of them are in the record companies and you are shaking their hands and you don't even know. So leave that alone, homosexuality existed before you and it will be here when yu gone, yu don't have to bring that inna yu music," he said.
The manager further stated that recording artistes who stayed away from such topics were still affected, because Jamaican music was branded as 'hate music'.
"I see even Beres Hammond suffer the consequences of that and Beres never have any part in it. He had five shows cancelled in one year, the only person I think escaped was Luciano. Beres even lost his band that year because when his shows were being cancelled, the band members were forced to go their separate ways. The fight was not only against some artistes, but the entire genre and that was the problem. I'm sorry I never bring the signature to show you today of four prominent men who signed to say they were not going to sing against homosexuality. Many of the artistes did it secretly," he said.
The International Reggae Conference was held from February 11-13 and conveniently falls under the Reggae Month celebrations endorsed by JaRIA.