Jamaica’s first gay pride celebration

This video from England says about itself:

30 June 2013

YO! Blessup, One Love and Real Rasta greetin’s to you, fellow follower of de Lord of Lords, de King of Kings, de most High…Rastafari.

Have ya heard of de latest roots reggae and dancehall sensation to come out of our island home? Well a mi fi tell yu! Rastatroll Battyboy Soundsystem, all di while dem depon di bashment, Lord a Mercy. Dis crew a been buss dancefloors up in Kingston, all over Europe, and Kingston again, ya see me? Big man ting, ya dun know.

Yes, ‘ere me now, Rastatroll Battyboy Soundsystem are a REAL Jamaican soundsystem, proud of our fabulous heritage and our broad, glistening shoulders and thighs. Rastatroll are not ashamed to look a man in his eyes while he heaves his hard muscled body against ours, whisperin’ sweet words inna our ears. Rastatroll do not apologise for quivering like a flower in his arms, groaning and writhing as he pushes forcefully inside, pumping us over and over until de walls shake and de eyes roll back inna dem head. And Rastatroll do not hesitate to share a ganja spliff wit him as we relax pon de beach afterwards, holding each other, and listening to de cool sea breeze tell its stories of the love our forefathers shared, in much de same way we do now.

Star, dis is our way of life. Worn down by centuries of slavery and homophobic subjugation – but not defeated. Slandered by de bloated, imperialist, Western music industry – but not silenced. Attacked by de colonial sheep and demons who spread lies about Jamaica, but never once forgettin’ de dignity of our ancestors who first spread de Rainbow over Kingston.

In de immortal words of Gloria Gaynor, Prophet of Carr: “Jamaica’s a sham…till it can shout out, I am what I am”


Dis video is some bless footage from de Rastatroll stage at London Gay Pride. Nuff respect and REAL RASTA blessings fi all de battybwoys and punnanygyals who came out to hear de Lion‘s roar inna Trafalgar Square. We were truly blessed to walk amongst you.

De 29th June will go down in history as de day Rastatroll assumed its rightful title of as de most respected Reggae soundsystem on de European Gay scene – a day dat will resound through de ages.

Even Babylon were struck down in awe by our fabulousness, begging us to have their photos taken with us and asking for more rewinds.

If yu have any pictures or video, feel free to share dem pon dis page and inspire de next generation of Rastatroll soldiers.

SELASSIE I. Praise be to de Most High, JAH CARRSTAFARI.

Battyboys inna London, set it set it set it.

From Associated Press:

Jamaica to hold its first gay pride celebration in the island’s capital

Weeklong event that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one of the globe’s most hostile places to homosexuality

Tuesday 4 August 2015 21.22 BST

Jamaica’s LGBT community is holding its first gay pride celebration in the island’s capital, a weeklong event that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one of the globe’s most hostile places to homosexuality.

Events in Kingston have included a flash mob gathering in a park, an art exhibit and performances featuring songs and poems by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans.

Jamaican gay rights activists said Tuesday the peaceful events are a clear sign that tolerance for LGBT people is expanding on the island even though stigma is common and longstanding laws criminalizing sex between men remain on the books.

“I think we will look back on this and see it as a turning point because many persons thought that it would never actually happen,” said Latoya Nugent of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, or J-FLAG, the rights group that organized the event.

For years, Jamaica’s gay community lived so far underground that their parties and church services were held in secret locations. Most stuck to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of keeping their sexual orientation hidden to avoid scrutiny or protect loved ones. A number of gay Jamaicans have won asylum overseas.

But while discrimination against gays remains pervasive in many parts of Jamaica and anti-gay violence flares up recurrently, Nugent said there’s an inaccurate perception overseas that homosexuals in Jamaica “can’t even walk on the streets because if you do you are going to be stoned or stabbed to death”.

“What we are seeing these days is more and more LGBT people willing to be visible, to be open, and to be public,” said Nugent, a co-chair of the planning committee for the events called PrideJa. “It’s remarkable.”

Still, some 80 incidents of discrimination, threats, physical attacks, displacement and sexual violence were reported to J-FLAG last year and the high-profile 2013 mob murder of transgender teen Dwayne Jones remains unsolved. There have been reports of targeted sexual assaults of lesbians. In a 2014 report, New York-based Human Rights Watch asserted that LGBT people in Jamaica remain the targets of unchecked violence and are frequently refused housing or employment.

“Yes, there’s still ridicule on the streets and some people look at you and laugh, but it’s not as violent as it was and we will insist on living our lives. There is a certain change going on,” 26-year-old Nas Chin told the Associated Press after dancing at a secure pride event.

Many Jamaicans consider homosexuality to be a perversion from abroad and a newspaper-commissioned poll has suggested there is overwhelming resistance to repealing anti-sodomy laws. In late August, a young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought an unprecedented legal challenge to the anti-sodomy law withdrew his claim after growing fearful about possible violent reprisals.

But Human Rights Watch has noted that there’s been a “groundswell of change” in the way Jamaica is responding to human rights abuses against LGBT people.

In recent days, Kingston’s mayor and the island’s justice minister have even publicly supported the weeklong pride activities, a major change in a nation where politicians once routinely railed against homosexuals and former prime minister Bruce Golding vowed in 2008 to never allow gays in his cabinet.

Jamaican mountains become World Heritage site

This video says about itself:

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park | Jamaica travel guide

4 July 2015

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is a national park in Jamaica. The park covers 495.2 km2 and accounts for 4.5% of Jamaica’s land surface. The park is globally known for its biodiversity. This park is the last of two known habitats of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio homerus), the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere and also the habitat for the endangered Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar nigerrimus), a refuge for the Jamaican Boa (Epicrates subflavus) and the Jamaican Hutia (Geocapromys brownii). The park was nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site for mixed criteria (cultural and natural) in 2011.

For more detail please visit here.

For the John Crow Mountains, there is the history of the famous anti-colonial past.

For the preparation of the anti-colonial movement in Jamaica this is a reminder of the late 1600s; then, African slaves fled into hiding in the John Crow mountains.

From Wildlife Extra:

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains become the country’s first World Heritage site

The Blue and John Crow Mountains has become Jamaica’s first World Heritage site, following advice from IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, UNESCO World Heritage Committee has announced.

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains has been inscribed as a “mixed” site, recognising the complex interplay between the area’s natural and cultural values. The local Maroon communities share a strong identity with the area and are actively engaged in its management.

“The Blue and John Crow Mountains in Jamaica is a jewel of the Caribbean displaying exceptionally pristine nature,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “We are delighted that a site so valuable in the eyes of the local communities has been recognised for its importance to the whole humanity. This inscription also helps to build a World Heritage list which can represent the world’s regions in a more balanced way.”

Combining Jamaica’s highest peak with a contrasting limestone plateau, the site boasts the greatest diversity of ecosystems and habitats on the island, which are also among the most intact in the Caribbean region.

It overlaps with one of the world’s 78 most irreplaceable areas for the conservation of amphibian, bird and mammal species. Half of the flowering plants growing at 900 to 1000 metres in the John Crow plateau cannot be found anywhere else in the world, while unique montane tropical forests hang on the steep slopes and rugged landscape of the Blue Mountains peaking at 2,250 metre. The site also hosts globally significant populations of bird species.

Reggae musician Mista Majah P against homophobia

This reggae music video says about itself:

Maverick Mista Majah P “Closet Is Open” LGBT Community Music Video

13 October 2013

Maverick Mista Majah P breaking the taboo in reggae, telling gays that it is OK to be yourself, no more hiding, come out of the closet, be who you are, be happy.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Reggae star’s LGBT rights stand hailed

Friday 10th April 2015

A JAMAICAN singer was hailed by LGBT rights activists yesterday for his lone voice attacking the homophobic “murder music” of his reggae peers through song.

Mista Majah P has relaunched a two-part music video for [his] single Karma, which attacks the homophobic songs of top dancehall singers like Bounty Killer and Buju Banton.

Many artists in the genre are notorious for their anti-gay lyrics and beliefs, with Shabba Ranks infamous for once stating that LGBT people should be crucified.

Majah P’s music turns the tables on them with lyrics warning that they will reap the hate and violence they sow and suggesting that they could be homosexual themselves, uncomfortable with their own sexuality.

His lyrics have also appealed to parents not to reject their LGBT children, spoken out against gay bullying and in support of same-sex marriage and adoption rights.

Human rights lobbyist Peter Tatchell said: “Such lyrics are unprecedented in the hard-man world of Jamaican reggae and dancehall music, where eight of the best known performers have, for over a decade, made homophobic murder music a staple part of their repertoire — variously inciting and glorifying the shooting, burning, hanging and drowning of LGBT people.”

Since releasing his pro-gay music, California-based Majah P has received numerous death threats and has been warned to not return to Jamaica.

He said: “As long as there are homophobic people, hatred, bigotry, death and no equal rights for the LGBT community I will continue to use my talent and speak out about injustice.

“I’m seeking to challenge ignorance and reach out to gay people.”

He is working on [his] third album Gays Belong In Heaven Too.

This music video from Italy says about itself:

For the first time in Italy, reggae music takes a stance against homophobia. Luciano and The Jah Messenjah Band came out in support of gay rights and the 2009 national LGBT Gay Pride to be held in Genova, Italy on 27 June 2009. The concert took place on the international day against homophobia (17 May) drawing a crowd of 3-500 revellers. Special guest: Carrol Thompson.

USA: Hateful Bigot Mike Huckabee Totally Fails At Basic Civics In Long, Idiotic, Anti-Gay Rant: here.

Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin killed in the USA

This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

The Death of Trayvon Martin

A compilation and interpretation of concrete video and audio evidence from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL. Security camera footage from The Retreat at Twin Lakes clubhouse is synched to George Zimmerman’s 311 call, and to selections of the 911 calls reporting the shooting. After an introductory set-up, the video proceeds in real time. Animated maps are provided to illustrate the movement of George Zimmerman’s truck and the arrival of the police, as revealed by the “light events” in the security footage, and the comments of the 911 callers.

This evidence combines to establish that George Zimmerman was untruthful in a variety of his statements to the police regarding the shooting.

There is a long stretch of the video where not much happens. I have left it unedited to preserve real time both a) for evidenciary purposes – it establishes that traffic inside RATL was minimal that evening other than Zimmerman’s driving around, and I didn’t want to be accused of editing anything out :-), and b) I want to provide viewers the opportunity to feel just how long Trayvon Martin was standing under the mailbox awning before Zimmerman showed up, to understand just far fetched some of Zimmerman’s claims are in terms of the passage of time.

The research and analysis presented in this video is a collective project of contributors to BCClist.com.

Note: The little box on the right mis-identifies the music used on the soundtrack. It links to the correct artist and album — ‘Half Mute’ by Tuxedomoon — but the track in the video is “KM/Seeding the Clouds” not “Midnite Stroll.”

From the Jamaica Observer in Jamaica:

Trayvon Martin déjà vu in Ferguson

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ON Monday, a United States grand jury decided that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted on any charge for the fatal August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson was never arrested, charged or subjected to any disciplinary action.

The grand jury announcement further jangled nerves already frayed by police killing of a 12-year-old black boy holding a toy gun in a playground in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, and the unpunished killing, earlier, of Trayvon Martin who was armed only with candy and a soft drink. The widely expected verdict in this sordid affair reignites the unresolved debate about racism in policing in America.

The announcement came after the St Louis County Grand Jury met in secrecy 25 times and heard from 60 witnesses before deciding. In a CNN poll, 32 per cent of Americans thought Mr Wilson should be charged with murder and another 25 per cent that he should be charged with some kind of crime. It comes as no surprise that in the latest round of HuffPost/YouGov polling, 64 per cent of black Americans said Mr Wilson was at fault, compared with just 22 per cent of whites.

The whole process has been handled badly, starting with the mayor and the governor whose primary concern was to maintain law and order. Immediately after the Martin and Brown killings, the respective police departments started to supply the media with information suggesting that both youngsters were gang members and were so stupid that they attacked armed officers. Yet no weapons of any kind have been found.

Irrelevant and insensitive comments were made by people, including former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani who said that the shooting was an exception, because 95 per cent of African-Americans are killed by other blacks.

Some 74 per cent of black Americans saw the Brown shooting as part of a larger pattern and not as a freak accident. The number is probably higher in Ferguson, Missouri. The Attorney General’s Office, in a report on racial profiling, found that 86 per cent of traffic stops in Ferguson targeted African-Americans in 2013. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with 707 per 100,000 and African-Americans make up 40 per cent of the almost 2.1 million male inmates in prison, although they account for 12 per cent of the American population.

Wilson has expressed no regret, claiming that his life was in danger and that he acted in accordance with his training. Some eyewitnesses have stated that Brown had his hands up at the time of the fatal shot. If the “no remorse, I have done nothing wrong, I was defending myself” justification seems familiar, it is because neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman used it to exculpate himself in the killing of Martin.

Racial profiling is not only in the former confederate states. In Oakland, California, it is reported that 37 out of 45 officer-involved shootings between 2004 and 2008 were of blacks. None was white. One-third of the shootings resulted in fatalities. Although weapons were not found in 40 per cent of cases no officers were charged. One report claims that there is an extrajudicial killing of African-Americans by police and security guards every 28 hours in the US.

Something has to be done about the killing of unarmed young African-Americans by white cops, and it must start by holding them accountable.

Ferguson Thanksgiving: A Former Slave Proposed the Holiday 55 Years Before Lincoln. Why His Version Matters Today: here.

More than 300 arrested in Los Angeles during Ferguson protests: here.

Cleveland police released a video Wednesday of the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by a police officer this past weekend. The video clearly shows that a police officer shot Rice within two seconds of pulling up to a park gazebo where he was sitting: here.

The Obama Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will not press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the February 2012 slaying of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement declaring that “a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here.” Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, criticized the decision in comments to reporters following the announcement, which came on the eve of the third anniversary of the killing of the 17-year old in the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated community in Sanford, Florida: here.

New conservation Internet site

This video from Jamaica says about itself:

Protecting Pedro – Building Conservation Capacity

24 July 2012

Starting in 2005, The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, has been working on the Pedro Bank to develop conservation solutions; including thorough environmental and social assessments, a management plan and the establishment of a fish sanctuary surrounding Southwest Cay (Bird Cay).

From BirdLife:

New online resource to help meet global conservation challenges

By Martin Fowlie, Tue, 30/09/2014 – 20:45

A new online resource, capacityforconservation.org has been launched that aims to support and strengthen conservation organisations and help them to achieve – and sustain – their conservation and organisational development goals.

The free online tool, created collaboratively by BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Tropical Biology Association and the University of Cambridge, will help conservation organisations to build and expand on existing knowledge and skills, ultimately helping them to better accomplish their conservation goals.

Capacityforconservation.org already contains tools, resources and case studies gathered by the world’s leading conservation NGOs from around the world. It encourages users to upload their own practical tools, resources and case studies covering various aspects of strategic conservation planning, from finance management, fundraising and communications to organisational governance and project development. These tools allow users to learn from best practice, while sharing their own examples so conservationists around the world can learn from each other, ultimately helping to address the complex conservation challenges faced today.

Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson, BirdLife International’s Interim Chief Executive said, “many organisations within the BirdLife Partnership are seeking to become an even stronger force for nature conservation, both nationally and internationally. I believe that capacityforconservation.org is a fantastic platform to help BirdLife Partners to continue to develop and grow, and achieve their organisational goals.”

Two hundred and forty people have already registered on the website, logging on from 103 countries, from Antigua to Zimbabwe. Resources are available in 18 languages, with more being added by users, and work is underway to translate the site into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Capacityforconservation.org was created by with support from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK.

Stop British government deporting bisexual refugee

This video from Britain is called State of Limbo – Short Documentary; about refugee Orashia Edwards.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Asylum seeker threatened with deportation before judicial review

Tuesday 24th June 2014

IMMIGRATION officials are attempting to deport a Leeds asylum-seeker a week before a judicial review of his case is held.

Campaigners in the city have rallied to support Orashia Edwards, 32, a Jamaican who fled his own country after being persecuted for being bisexual.

He settled in Leeds and applied for asylum. He has won many friends and carried out campaigning work in the city.

But asylum has been refused. He was arrested on June 12 and granted bail. The judicial review has been set for July 9 but Mr Edwards has been issued with “removal directions” for July 2.

Leeds No Borders group has mounted regular protests and demonstrations in his support and is urging campaigners to take action, including by protesting to British Airways. Details are available on the Leeds No Borders website.

The next protest against Mr Edwards’s deportation will be held outside Leeds town hall at 4.30pm on Thursday.

GAY, lesbian, bi and transsexual activists condemned “Ukipisation” of British politics yesterday as they kicked off a campaign against migrant discrimination: here.