Sit down, listen up and pay attention. You might want to find something to bite down hard on too, especially if you’re a Gwen Stefani/No Doubt fan.
Hands up all those who loved the first noises from No Doubt way back in the 1990’s. I know, I’m showing my age.
Okay, I’m guessing that’s quite a few of you. This was probably due to their biggest hit ‘Don’t Speak’ right? Good, that was a great track that really set them on course to be one of the sounds of the decade.
But who stuck around for the release of their fifth album ‘Rock Steady’ in 2001? I’ll bet some of you did, and I’ll bet that a lot of those adoring fans of Gwen Stefani had no clue that while they were listening to ‘Hey Baby’ from that album and jumping around like loons on a dance floor they were also listening to perhaps the most violently homophobic Jamaican “artist” ever to walk the Earth.
Yep, that song was a collaboration with Bounty Killer, a singer/songwriter who actively calls for the assault and murder of gay people.
You’ll love these lyrics (translated into actual English from the native Bullshit) “Bun a fire pon a puff and mister fagoty” (“Burn a fire on puffs and faggots”)
Gwen’s not exactly looking so hot now, is she?
I was checking this out when researching a general story on the rise of Jamaican culture in the USA, and this aspect of the piece came to light pretty early on. As we’re now waiting for the return of No Doubt with the hotly anticipated new album ‘Push and Shove’ to be released next month, it’s a great time to talk about it.
Even though there are now plenty of places you could go to see reports of the current homophobia protests in the USA (a certain foul fast food chain immediately springs to mind) little seems to have been said about No Doubt and their seemingly disinterested attitudes to working with dubious artists with homophobic opinions.
Now that mention of their slight against their own gay fans is out there in the open, lets move on to how things are going with the band right now, as they prepare their latest offering (one that I won’t be buying) and Ms. Stefani presumably returns to squeezing into tiny vests to show off her perfect abs (how does she do that!?)
Jamaican culture is one of the most violent in the world. Far from being the paradise it is often portrayed to be, Jamaica has rolling street violence on a daily basis – this was explained to me by a Jamaican native who grew up under instructions to stay within ten feet of her family home and NEVER EVER go into town. The murder rate in Jamaica is high, with gay hate crimes carried out in broad daylight and Police refusing to intervene. The corruption between Police and the gangs controlling the neighborhoods is pandemic, and any crime against a gay person is likely to be buried, covered-up or excused.
Of course, the musical culture of Jamaica is homophobic as a result of the society in general. Many artists incorporate hate-speech into their lyrics and promote violence towards the LGBT community.
Why is this a problem for us? Because Jamaican culture is being accepted and promoted, and it starts with bands like No Doubt back in 2001 accepting – and some would say promoting – the violent hatred of characters like Bounty Killer.
Lets make one thing perfectly clear – there is no excuse. I don’t give a damn if Gwen Stefani claims that she’d never heard those lyrics calling for gay people to be burned alive (what artist invites another artist to work on their album without being completely familiar with their work?) Ms. Stefani can tour gay clubs and pride events until her heels bleed and it wouldn’t delete the fact that she worked with a disgusting homophobic asshole. She could create entire fashion lines for Target promoting tolerance and acceptance, sewing every stitch herself, and it would not change the fact that she – her band – works with homophobic artists and helps to spread their disgusting views.
Acceptance of it is support of it, and fair-weather homophobia should not be tolerated in any form.
At the very LEAST their collaboration with Bounty Killer deserved a statement to the many millions of gay fans No Doubt had/have to explain their position. Yet the band was seemingly silent on the issue. Bounty Killer himself wasn’t silent on it, mentioning Gwen Stefani in a follow-up track to their little collab and mixing in some other hate-speech with it too. This seems to further associate Ms. Stefani with his own homophobia:
“Whateva dem a talk bout inna different scene, Phat Gwen Stefani a she was my queen, Mi ready fi go wipe out di faggot wid pure laser beam”
So perhaps we might have thought No Doubt would have learned from their error and viewed their collaboration with a violent homophobic hate-monger as something to be ashamed of and never to repeat again…
Well, sadly you’d be wrong.
No Doubt is set to release a new album next month labelled ‘Push And Shove’, and who do we have collaborating on that..?
Major Lazer make an appearance, and they seem to enjoy adding lines to their tracks like “me a zombie and me don’t eat gays, cos me don’t like the HIV”. They claim that such statements are intended to be “tongue in cheek”, but that really only works if you’re a gay man saying it. Personally I don’t imagine there are many gay men who would ever make a comment to belittle the millions of deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS all around the world (gay or straight, mother or child, white or black). To make this a little more clear, what they are suggesting is the equivalent of a white punk act making statements about black slaves and expecting it to be viewed as a joke. It doesn’t work that way!
Then we have the lovely Busy Signal making an appearance on the album too, perhaps famous for lines like “No batty boy nuh inna mi crew lu lu lu lu” (Batty Boy being a derogatory term for gay men).
So why does any of this matter? Well, for a start we’re still fighting for equality. There are still places all over the world where gay people are attacked, abused, criminalized, marginalized or murdered. If we’re pissed that we can’t get married in a Church we should count ourselves lucky! Laws are still being passed in “modern” countries criminalizing our lives, and while we might have it relatively easy ourselves, it doesn’t help when so-called artists are being accepted by the acts influencing our own society.
It’s actually pretty insulting when you have an artist like Gwen Stefani promoting tolerance on the one hand while STILL working with homophobes on the other – perhaps hoping that none of us would notice?
I’m sorry to break it to you, but while Gwen Stefani is signing up to support whatever gay rights issue is fashionable right now she’s also accepting violence and intolerance against many of her own fans. While people are screaming about a fast food chain being homophobic, what will be said about a much-loved American pop-princess like Ms. Stefani working with artists known for being homophobic?
I’m betting it’ll be overlooked, and that nothing will be said about it, just as nothing was said about No Doubt working with someone who calls for gay men to be burned or beaten to death.
Far from this being an attack on No Doubt, this is an attack on the acceptance of homophobia. It’s “homophobia by association”. It’s still just as dirty, just as nasty, and perhaps more insidious.
So tell me, will you be buying ‘Push and Shove’ when it drops next month? I won’t be.