Two controversial reggae stars have been kicked off the British Mobo Awards after they refused to apologise for their homophobic lyrics.
Jamaican singers Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, whose songs incite killing homosexuals, had their nominations for best reggae act withdrawn yesterday following uproar from gay rights campaigners.
Organisers of the Music Of Black Origin awards had demanded written apologies from the pair and axed them when they were not received.
The move was immediately welcomed by the gay human rights group Outrage! Who said the decision was an example to all.
Spokesman Brett Lock said: “The singers refusal to apologise is indicative of their unrepentant violent homophobia.
“We applaud the decision of the Mobos to drop these artists. Incitement to murder should never be rewarded.”
Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel had been shortlisted by the Mobo’s voting academy for their latest music, which does not incite attacks on gays.
But campaigners had called for action because of lyrics in earlier releases.
A spokeswoman for the awards said the singers’ representatives had stressed the artists had “moved on” but, despite assurances to publicly show that, no written apologies had been sent.
A statement from Mobo organisers said: “The Mobo Awards position has been clear from the outset – they do not condone music that clearly incites violence to gay and lesbian people nor do they advocate censorship of artistic expression.
“The last thing Mobo want to do is encourage prejudice to any minority group. Any suggestions contrary to that are disingenuous and false.
“Mobo have not yet received written apologies as previously promised. We have therefore alerted the Mobo Academy to this situation and a decision has been taken to withdraw the nominations for Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel.”
The Mobos were first launched in 1996 and work closely with the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group.
Controversial singer Beenie Man, who has also been accused of homophobia, did not make it on to the reggae artist shortlist this year after organisers emphasised on the public ballot forms they did not support music that clearly incited violence towards gay people.
OutRage! Had previously written to the BBC calling for it not to show coverage of Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel if they were not removed from the awards.
On last night’s decision, Mr Lock added: “The Mobos have taken a lead and we hope other promoters, sponsors and record companies will follow their positive example.”
The awards are due to be announced on September 30 with a highlights show broadcast on BBC1 on October 6.