Reggae artists SIZZLA KALONJI and Buju Banton will be singled out by the British International Development Minister at a Caribbean conference aimed at combating homophobia in music.

While MP GARETH THOMAS believes free speech should be promoted, he fears homophobic lyrics are deterring people from being tested for HIV and AIDS - diseases widely believed to be associated with gay sex.

Thomas is expected to tell audience members in St Kitts, "A number of artists are effectively contributing to the spread of HIV by producing reggae and rap songs actually encouraging discrimination against those who have AIDS and encouraging violence against minority groups such as men who have sex with men.

"These artistes include Buju Banton, Sizzla Kalonji, and others."

British police are continuing to examine the lyrics by eight artists, including Beenie Man, Elephant Man and VYBZ KARTEL, after they received complaints from gay rights group OUTRAGE!.

22/11/2004 17:30