Jewish Rapper Matisyahu Banned From Reggae Festival While “Burn The Gays” Singer Invited [UPDATE]

Jamaican dancehall singer Capleton, singled out for his "murder music," performed at Spain's Rototom Sunsplash on Wednesday

Matisyahu, the America singer who gained international attention as an observant Jewish hip-hop star, was disinvited from Spain’s Rototom Sunsplash festival last week because he wouldn’t sign a declaration condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

But Capleton, a Jamaican dancehall and reggae singer, performed at the Sunsplash on Wednesday—despite lyrics that encourage the murder of gays and lesbians.


In “More Prophet,” Capleton sings “Shoulda know seh Capleton burn battyman [gays]/ Dem same fire apply to di lesbian/ All boogaman [gays] and sodomites fi get killed.”

Organizers cited Matisyahu’s open support of Israel as cause for canceling his invitation, but didn’t put any other artist to a human-rights litmus test.

On Friday, though, festival producers changed their mind and welcomed him back to perform, which he did on Saturday.


“Today music wins,” Matisyahu posted on Facebook. “I have always believed in the power of music to unite all people, regardless of religion, politics or geography. This was an excruciating decision, as I felt that my core, essential being was being used as a pawn for political convenience. It is my deep conviction however that acceptance and the ability for rebirth allow us to move forward.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.