Skip Reggae On The River This Year


Several local news outlets including the North Coast Journal, Lost Coast Outpost, and the Mad River Union have reported that Jamaican reggae artist and outspoken homophobe Sizzla will be headlining this weekends Reggae on the River Festival in Sohum. Sizzla is well known for his violent anti LGBT lyrics. I think it’s fair to say that intentionally promoting violence against the LGBT community goes against some people’s values here in Humboldt. Naturally this has begun to stir up some local controversy.

Justin Crellin general manager of the Mateel community center said in a statement today that he “recognizes there are concerns within the community” and promises to “pull the plug” if Sizzla’s hateful lyrics and speech come out at the festival. This however does not go far enough. As a community we should take a firm stand and say this is not the kind of message we want to promote and not the kind of artist we want to support.

Let’s be clear, cannabis is a business, but it is also a social movement. Countless people have dedicated there time, energy, and money to promoting the ideas that sick people should be allowed to use cannabis to feel better, hemp should be grown for the myriad of environmentally friendly products it can make, and responsible adults should be able to enjoy cannabis legally just like alcohol. We know that drug laws targeting cannabis are disproportionately enforced against minorities. That has been one of the movements major arguments for legalization. As a movement cannabis is about freedom but it is also about tolerance.

As a business cannabis makes a lot of people a lot of money. As a social movement people involved in the local cannabis community should not use that money to support hate speech. Social movements have historically been more effective when they unite to help support each other. In our country we have seen unprecedented progress in the last ten years for both the cannabis and LGBT movements but make no mistake, it’s not over. Both movements still have progress to make.

People in the cannabis industry love reggae and that’s great. Reggae promotes a lot of things that fit well with cannabis: love, joy, freedom, community, struggle against adversity, and bringing people together. Those are things we should support. Those are things the cannabis movement should be about, not intolerance, hate, and violence against people who live in our community and work in our industry.

I know ROTR is fun. There is a bunch of great music, good friends, and swimming in one of Humboldt’s most beautiful rivers. But there are other festivals, other river spots and other great things going on this weekend that aren’t paying large sums of money to individuals who promote violence and intolerance. Ask yourself what is our community all about? What is our movement all about? Vote with your dollar.


Don’t like what I have to say? Disagree with me? Tell me about it in the comments section.

5 responses to “Skip Reggae On The River This Year

  1. This is total sensationalism, collectivism at its finest. Theres nothing wrong with sizzla, have tolerance. He is allowed to interpret gays anyway he wants too. Most of the problem here is that liberal group want to take over and consolidate the hippy culture up here and turn them all into “progressives” but many of them belive things other than what fits the mold for liberal hippies. Well here starts the hippy infighting war. Naturalist vs “babylon homos”. Since when do we let a small minority boss everyone around and cancel our music events and ruin our culture. We have ever right to have this music. Does the christian church stop your death metal concert that openly promots satan. Seriously in the free world of ideas and debate if your gay agenda was so great then you wouldnt have to censor opposing viewpoints you would be able to alow your argument to stand on its own, but its not working. Sorry you just cant force us to think the way you want us to think. I am proud humboldt is inviting sizzla back, we should bring every last rasta back to humboldt. We need diversity of ideas. Just cause someone says something you dont like doesnt mean you get to shut them down. Sorry if they are more influencial than you would like.


    • Turpledumplers, thank you for your comment. I agree that we need diversity and opposing viewpoints. These are things that make our country and county great. This post doest not advocate cancelling the performance or taking away anyones right to listen to or support the music they want. My intention is to call on people who do share similar values with me to act on those values.


  2. So has Sizzla physically threatened any individual ? No , you will have to ban the bible before you ban/boycott Jamaican artists due to songs lyrical contents. You are aware of leviticus 18:22? Well you know, that’s in the same book we have to swear on when we stand trial in court and give a testimony, right?? There’s also another thing you should be aware of….. bloodclaaat freedom of speech yu fucker!!!


    • jOHNNYs I am not advocating banning the bible. I am aware of the biblical book of Leviticus, a chapter later in Leviticus 19:27 it commands that you shall not trim your sideburns, 19:28 forbids tattooing your flesh. Would you suggest that individuals who shave or have tattoos are also trying to ban the bible? As for your second argument about freedom of speech I disagree with what you have to say but believe in your right to say it.


  3. It’s hard to reconcile a culture of peace and love with hate songs.


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