MTV pulled dancehall singer Beenie Man from the bill of a Saturday concert in Miami associated with Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards after gay activists announced plans to protest. The singer has recorded anti-gay songs, with such lyrics as “queers must be killed” and “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica/Come to execute all the gays.”
“We don’t want anything to overshadow what will be a great weekend of music events for South Floridians,” MTV spokeswoman Marnie Black told the Associated Press on Wednesday. The singer’s performance was to be part of the VMA Block Party, an event at the Club Row nightclub that will feature performances by Anthony Hamilton, Mase and New Edition.
“It’s disappointing to see artists use their talents as a tool for hatred and bigotry,” said Heddy Pena, executive director of SAVE Dade, a Miami-based gay-rights group.
Over the past few weeks, Beenie Man has canceled European concerts after gay groups protested. The singer had previously defended his lyrics, but earlier this month offered an apology for songs such as “Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man).” “Certain lyrics and recordings I have made in the past may have caused distress and outrage among people whose identities and lifestyles are different from my own,” he said. “I offer my sincerest apologies to those who might have been offended, threatened or hurt by my songs.”
Beenie Man is currently on tour behind his latest album, Back to Basics.
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This year’s MTV Video Music Awards will be held Sunday at 8 p.m. at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Performers include Usher, Kanye West, Jessica Simpson and a collaboration between Jet, Yellowcard and Hoobastank.