by Ryan Burns
This time, in a concert scheduled for Election Day, the performer is Beenie Man, a Jamaican dancehall icon with a history of making reluctant, passive-aggresive quasi-apologies to international consumers, only to backpedal and backslide when he's in hotbeds of homophobia such as Jamaica and Uganda.
As with the Capleton concert, next week's Beenie Man show was arranged by local promoter Beau DeVito of Bonus Man Entertainment.
Local gay rights activist group Queer Humboldt is planning a "peaceful, loving protest" to be held outside the Ocean Grove Lodge on the night of the concert.
According to that group's co-founder, Todd Larsen, Trinidad City Council members Julie Fulkerson and Mike Morgan spoke to Ocean Grove Lodge owner Ron Fleshman yesterday, expressing their concerns about the event.
"He listened but basically said Beenie Man has said he won't play those songs in the U.S.," Larsen said. "I'm like, 'Well, what about the rest of the countries and all the money he makes on Amazon?'"
A call to Ocean Grove Lodge Monday morning was not immediately returned.
P.S. (Capleton update): Some local Capleton apologists were annoyed by the protests, which helped convince the owner of Eureka's Red Fox Tavern, the concert's originally scheduled venue, to cancel the show. These folks claimed that Capleton has grown out of his homophobic youth and no longer performs hateful songs.
According to firsthand reports, Capleton did indeed lay off the homophobic material while performing here in Humboldt County. But nine days later, performing back in his native Jamaica, Capleton reportedly performed one of his signature hits, "Slew Dem," which calls for the burning and death of gay men.
UPDATE 3:20 p.m.: Fulkerson said that she and Morgan were not representing the city when they visited with Fleshman yesterday. She described the encounter as "a fairly friendly conversation, given the situation." She said Fleshman pointed to Beenie Man's 2007 signing of the Reggae Compasionate Act, which he has since violated repeatedly, and tried to justify dancehall's rampant homophobia by saying, "Well, it's cultural."
"Mostly I just wanted to have a conversation with him," Fulkerson said. "I think it's important to have that."