In the continuing series of facepalm moments that is the race to become New York City's next mayor, much has already been made this morning of Democratic candidate Anthony Weiner's appearance at the West Indian America Day Parade. The parade, often noted as New York City's largest, goes well through Brooklyn, and is always a jubiliant, raccous party. Of course, during an election season, it becomes yet another thing for candidates to walk through and show their "support" for the community they're marching with.
And it's not that other candidates didn't march through the West Indian Day Parade, too—they did. But most of them weren't where Anthony Weiner was: On top of a float, dancing, and calling out to the crowd in an attempted Jamaican patois.
A candidate for office making a fool of himself for votes is nothing new, even if they are making that "Fo! Fo! Fo!" noise every misguided human to ever attempt imitating a Jamaican dancehall artist has made (as you can see Weiner do, above).
But then, there's this:
It's not Weiner calling out to people in a bad accent and dancing that's absurd so much as the soundtrack—dancehall artist Capleton's "Bumbo Red."
A sampling lyrics of "Bubo Red":
"Lick a shot inna a battyman head!
Lick a shot inna a lesbian head!
All sodomite dem fi dead,
All lesbian dem fi dead."
In the event you didn't know or can't tell, "battyman" is a derogatory slang term for homosexuals. And one of Weiner's opponents, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn—who was in the parade, atop the float of Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz—is very publicly and proudly gay.
It's not that there's ample evidence of Anthony Weiner's massive, hidden homophobic streak. This is someone who recently railed against laws that ban gay men from donating blood.
But homophobia in dancehall music has long been less of a problem and more of an unavoidable fact, even after artists like Beenie Man and Buju Banton have attempted apologies (and then, dialed back on those apologies). It's the unfortunate and needless dark streak in what's otherwise an incredible culture of music. And in a campaign like Anthony Weiner's—where anything that can go wrong seemingly has—it's neither surprising nor unexpected.
Complex reached out to Weiner campaign spokesperson Barbara Morgan for comment via email. She did not immediately respond. We'll update here if she does.
UPDATE: Weiner's spokesperson, Babara Morgan, responded via email: "Obviously Anthony can't be expected to know the all the lyrics of songs played by a dj at a parade, however he strongly condemns homophobic songs and intolerant singers." She didn't answer any of our questions about who the DJ was (and if they were hired by the Weiner campaign).