"The Abominable Crime" Film about Jamaica, 'most homophobic place on Earth' heads

"Imagine being shot for your sexual preference. For one Jamaican woman, it’s a reality. A gay man, Jamaica’s most prominent gay activist had to escape because of death threats. In fact, Jamaica has been called “the most homophobic place on Earth.” The Abominable Crime, a film by Micah Fink about shocking anti-gay violence in Jamaica, closes out the AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange TV series."

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The seventh season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Exchange concludes with The Abominable Crime, a film that gives voice to gay Jamaicans forced to flee their homeland due to endemic anti-gay violence. The film will air on WORLD Channel on Monday, February 16, at 8 pm ET/10pm PT as the final episode of the innovative documentary series on contemporary art, life and culture in the African Diaspora. AfroPoP is hosted by actress Yaya DaCosta, executive-produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT).

In 2006, TIME Magazine posited that perhaps Jamaica was “the most homophobic place on Earth.” The island nation is renowned for its anti-gay violence, with homosexuals facing assault, stabbings, rape and even murder. The bias translates into the law, with 91 percent of Jamaicans opposed to repeal of the anti-buggery (anti-sodomy) law, according to an opinion poll conducted by Jamaica’s The Gleaner newspaper in September 2014.

Micah Fink’s The Abominable Crime, named after the Jamaican law that criminalizes homosexual acts, takes viewers beyond the headlines to the real-life individuals affected by anti-gay violence. Simone, a single mother shot for being a lesbian, faces the heartbreaking choice of hiding with her daughter in Jamaica in constant fear for their lives or escaping alone to seek safety and asylum abroad. Maurice, one of Jamaica's leading human-rights activists, challenges his country’s anti-sodomy law, only to receive a flood of death threats that force him to flee to Canada. But with other lives at stake, will he risk it all to return to continue his activism? The film was made possible by a grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

“My hope is that The Abominable Crime will help shatter stereotypes about gays and lesbians, said Fink. “We encourage viewers to take a deeper look at homophobia, including some of the long-term impacts of it on individuals and on the Jamaican society at large, including on the battle against the HIV pandemic.”

“Micah has brought an extraordinary human touch to the issue of anti-gay sentiment and attacks in Jamaica by introducing audiences to two brave souls deeply affected by it,” said NBPC Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. “Their courage in the face of life-threatening violence will be an inspiration to all.”

Additional films in the series—which can be seen on public television stations around the country as well as online on WORLDChannel.org, local public station websites and blackpublicmedia.org—include Maggie Betts’ The Carrier, Hélène Harder’s Ladies’ Turn, Keren Shayo’s Sound of Torture and Terence Nance and Barron Claiborne’s AFROPUNK presents The Triptych.

The Carrier is a heartening exploration of the lengths to which a woman and a community in Zambia will go to stop HIV from infecting the next generation. Ladies’ Turn follows a team of girls and young women fighting against misogynistic and religious sentiment for a chance at playing soccer. Sound of Torture is a harrowing tale of Eritrean refugees who escape an oppressive regime at home, then land in Bedouin camps where they are tortured, raped and otherwise abused. A triptych is a series of three connected works of an artistic, literary or musical nature, and AFROPUNK presents The Triptych is an artful portrayal of a trio of today’s most celebrated visual artists: Sanford Biggers, Wangechi Mutu and Barron Claiborne.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is produced by Angela Tucker and directed by Duana Butler.

In addition to the WORLD airings, APT will distribute AfroPoP to the full public television system in February 2015. To find out more about the series, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org. For information on when and where to watch, including additional air dates for each of the episodes, check your local listings or go to www.APTonline.org or www.WORLDchannel.org.