Controversial rapper Beenie Man has cancelled his forthcoming UK tour, amid pressure from gay rights groups who oppose his homophobic lyrics.

The Jamaican star was due to perform five gigs, but four have been axed.

No reason has been given for the cancellation, but British gay rights group OUTRAGE! has denied responsibility - insisting they were hoping for dialogue with Beenie Man and the reggae community about what they deem to be offensive song lyrics.

OutRage! spokesman BEN LOCK says, "We regret the cancellation of this tour.

"OutRage! and the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group were looking forward to meeting Beenie Man and building bridges with reggae artists.

"We want to work with them to explore ways that dancehall music can be a positive social force against prejudice and for the upliftment and liberation of the black nation - gay and straight."

Outrage targetted Beenie Man and dancehall contemporaries SIZZLA, VYBZ KARTEL and Elephant Man last year (04), but both sides reached an agreement in January (05).

Lock adds, "We intend to honour the agreement with the industry and we hope that reggae music fans understand that Beenie Man's concert cancellations were not called for by us, nor does it have anything to do with the lyrics inciting the murder of lesbian and gay people."

18/03/2005 17:31