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Guadeloupe: Remove murder-music artist Admiral T from name of school

Guadeloupe: Remove murder-music artist Admiral T from name of school

Since 2013, an elementary school has been named after a dancehall artist who has called for gays to be murdered. Here is a petition against the murder-music legacy of Admiral T.

Admiral T in front of the elementary school that was named after him in 2013 (Photo courtesy of Christy Campbell aka Admiral T).

COMMENTARY

French singer Admiral T, a notoriously homophobic dancehall and murder-music artist, has been collecting royalties for 20 years for a song in which he presents homosexuals as a social scourge. At the same time, an elementary school in Guadeloupe has been named after him, without a word from the French Education Ministry.

Even if the idea is far from unanimous among LGBT+ people of Caribbean origin, from a moral point of view, there is reason to question the relevance of attaching the name Admiral T to a place of transmission of knowledge and non-discrimination, even when it is an initiative of the inhabitants.

Since 2013, the name Admiral T has been affixed to an elementary school in Boissard, in a working-class district of the conurbation of Pointe-à-Pitre where this dancehall singer, well known for the homophobic filth he infused in the Antilles, is originally from.

Today, the abundant “poetic” logorrhea of these songs can be found on social networks, including lyrics like “We came to burn fags,” “If killing fags was sex, I’d be a nympho,” and “Fags are cigarettes, burn them like cigarette butts,” in the song “Batty Boy Dead Now” (2001).

Admiral T
Admiral T

Indeed, in 2024, Admiral T is still collecting royalties from the French Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (Sacem) for one of the songs that made him famous, “Gwadada,” in which he presents homosexuals as one of the island’s many social scourges, on a par with armed robbery and unemployment.

Is it morally desirable that a place of education in overseas France, where students are meant to learn respect and tolerance, can bear the name of an individual who today derives part of his income from his homophobia?

And even if families, parents, the neighborhood, big brothers and “the West Indian street” demand it, is it right? Is it good? Should the fact of being Guadeloupean, of being Caribbean, in societies with little leniency towards LGBT+ people exempt us from reflection, or absolve us by voluntary amnesia from a certain reserve, with regard to this homophobic musical heritage imported from Jamaica?

The other objection that often comes up is that Admiral T has apologized for his outbursts against the LGBT+ community, and that it’s all ancient history purposely maintained by associations to create a bad buzz.

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Indeed, in December 2006 in Paris, under pressure from Louis-Georges Tin (founder of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, celebrated every year on May 17), Admiral T, advised by his legal team, issued a timid press release to avoid the cancellation of his concerts and the inherent financial loss, realizing “that hatred and violence towards homosexuals brings nothing.”

However, even though he eventually urged his fans “to move in the same direction,” he never put his money where his mouth was to reduce the stigma, by removing some of the offending songs from his musical catalog. By way of comparison, the French hip hop band Sexion d’Asssaut withdrew “On t’a humilié” from its repertoire of Sacem works, following the controversy raised by LGBT+ associations in 2010, thereby relinquishing income from the song.

It is undoubtedly immoral to enrich oneself with royalties on homophobic songs for over 20 years, for the scale and hierarchy of values of our West Indian society. It might be time to see the name of a Jean-Pierre Sainton, a local historian and academic who died in 2023, engraved in the marble of our schools and public services, in place of Admiral T.

This is a version of commentary published in French on the website of the French advocacy group Stop Homophobie.

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