Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton is better known in some circles for his anti-gay sentiment than for his music. His 1992 single “Boom Bye Bye,” for example, proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head with an Uzi. In 2004 he was tried and acquitted on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men.
This year, Banton was again booked to play a series of concerts in the United States, among them a high-profile concert at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. that drew the ire of activist groups in the city. Bending to increasing pressure in L.A. and throughout the United States, the tour has now been cancelled. Both AEG Live/Goldenvoice (the company that produces festivals like Coachella All Points West, and Bumbershoot) and Live Nation (the massive concert promoters behind 360 deals with Jay-Z, Madonna and U2) announced last night that they have canceled their respective concerts with Banton, who was scheduled to perform in major markets across the country through October.
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean said in a statement that “I hope this victory sends a deafeningly loud message to other promoters and concert venues that singers who glorify violence against LGBT people, or any group of people, should never be welcomed. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to pressure promoters to do the right thing; people like Banton should never have been booked in the first place.”
In recent years, Banton has attempted to distance himself from the lyrics of “Boom Bye Bye,” and now presents himself as a more spiritual and Rasta-centric songwriter. To some reggae fans, pressure to prevent Banton from playing amounts to censorship, while gay activist groups see Banton’s songs as hate speech, an example of an ugly undercurrent of homophobia in some reggae music.
For more go to http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/08/28/buju-banton/