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Buju Banton jailed for 10 years

Buju Banton sentenced to 10 years

Buju Banton

Jamaican reggae superstar, Buju Banton, 37, has been sentenced to 10 years, followed by five years of probation, in the Florida District Court in the United States this morning.

US District Judge, James Moody imposed the sentence when Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, appeared in a Tampa Federal Courtroom this morning.

The pleas of family and supporters: "It has never been drugs," Buju Banton's son wrote

Buju was convicted February in the US Middle District Court, Florida Division, for conspiring to set up a drug deal in a Florida warehouse.

The reggae icon, who has been in custody since his arrest in December 2009, could have had a mandatory minimum sentence imposed, of 15 years to life in prison.

No new recordings for Buju

Published: Wednesday | June 22, 2011

Buju Banton
Reggae superstar Buju Banton will be barred from recording any new materials if he is sent to a United States (US) federal prison when he is sentenced in a Florida court tomorrow.

However, Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, might not have to cut off his trademark dreadlocks and will be allowed to practise his Rastafarian beliefs under strict supervision.

Chris Burke, a public affairs specialist at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC, said federal prison guidelines bar inmates from conducting "business activities" while they are incarcerated, but added that they do not "normally" require inmates to remove body hair.

Burke said a number of federal prisons have music programmes that include instruments which inmates are allowed to play, but made it clear that recording equipment is banned from these facilities.

"It (recording music) is on our list of prohibited activities for which inmates are subject to disciplinary action," he wrote in an emailed response to The Gleaner.

The bureau is the agency responsible for the custody and care of inmates being held in the 116 federal prisons in the US.

Buju was convicted in February on three of four federal drug and gun charges in the US Middle District Court, Florida Division, in Tampa.

He faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced tomorrow.

There has been concern that Buju, who converted to the Rastafarian faith in 1994 after the death of his friend, dreadlocked reggae artiste, Garnett Silk, could lose his locks if he is sent to a federal prison.

Courts spilt

US-based Jamaican law professor David Rowe triggered those concerns when he pointed out that US federal circuit courts are split over whether Rastafarians in custody should submit to prison grooming regulations.

He pointed to two cases (Gartrell v Ashcroft and Hines v South Carolina) where the courts upheld federal prison grooming policies to cut excessively long beards and hair.

In another case, however - Benjamin v Coughlin - the court ruled that a Rastafarian was not required to cut his dreadlocks for a prison photograph.

A US circuit court has also suggested that, if necessary, the federal government's prohibition of dreadlocks should be upheld for security reasons.

However, Burke emphasised that the bureau recognises the Rastafarian faith as a religion, and insisted that the agency does not force inmates to cut their hair.

In addition, he said arrangements about religious diets are discussed with inmates.

According to the bureau's website, the agency does not require inmates to indicate their religious beliefs.

The website said inmates may designate any or no religious preference during their initial screening.

That can, however, be changed at any time by notifying the chaplain in writing.

The Rastafarian movement began in Jamaica in the 1920s.

The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes the ritual use of marijuana, the wearing of dreadlocks, and vegetarianism.

Buju Banton leaving jail.

Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Reggae star's pretrial release at own expense raises questions

By ELAINESILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune Published: December 1, 2010

TAMPA - Buju Banton is spending more than $20,000 a month to stay out of jail while he awaits his retrial on drug trafficking charges.

That's how much Banton's lawyer says a private security company is charging to watch the Jamaican reggae singer around the clock – a condition of his bail set by U.S. Magistrate Anthony Porcelli.

The security guards are not there to protect the singer, who is also required to stay in his South Florida home with electronic monitoring. Rather, they are required to ensure Banton doesn't flee the country.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, could face up to life in prison if convicted. He spent 11 months in the Pinellas County Jail following his arrest last year and was released only after a jury deadlocked in his first trial in September.

His retrial is scheduled for February.

Banton is not the first federal defendant allowed to remain free before trial under conditions amounting to what some describe as a privately financed prison.

Most notably, Bernard Madoff stayed out of jail after his arrest in a massive Ponzi scheme, holed up in his swanky Manhattan home with security guards paid for by his wife.

Another New York Ponzi scheme defendant, lawyer Marc Dreier, was released from jail pending the outcome of his case after his relatives agreed to pay $70,000 a month for private security guards.

And in Tampa, 79-year-old family therapist Charles Jackson Friedlander avoided jail pending trial after the court accepted a proposal by his lawyer that he be guarded by retired law enforcement officers.

Friedlander was later sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for trying to beat and sexually molest two prepubescent boys whose father he met on the Internet.

Allowing defendants to gain pretrial release by paying for private security is an example of the justice system giving advantages to the wealthy, said Robert Batey, a professor at Stetson University College of Law.

"I do think there are obvious problems," Batey said. "People with a lot of money can do better in the legal system."

But Friedlander's attorney said the security arrangement was good for the defendant and the government.

"There's no doubt that he would be in jail if he couldn't afford private security," George Tragos said. "Somebody has to pay for that pretrial supervision, and I would rather the person charged with the crime pay for it than my tax dollars."

Pinellas County charges the federal government $80 a day to incarcerate pretrial detainees, sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said. That's less than one-eighth the amount Banton says he is now paying for his private security detail.

To help pay for Banton's security, as well as for his legal defense and other expenses, lawyer David Oscar Markus got court approval for the four-time Grammy nominee to perform in concert in Miami, likely in December or January.

Porcelli denied the request, citing his concern about the risk Banton might flee. Markus appealed to U.S. District Judge James Moody, who granted permission after Markus provided an affidavit from the security company detailing how the singer would be guarded during the concert.

Banton's manager, Tracii McGregor, said, "There has been a lot of talk about benefit concerts" by other musicians to raise money for Banton. But, for now, the focus is on the planned show.

McGregor said Banton has experienced financial hardship as a result of his incarceration.

"He is a family man with children who have school fees and numerous other expenses to be paid," she said in an e-mail via Markus. "He has a full band (and tech staff) who have played with him exclusively for 15 plus years and who rely on his steady stream of international bookings for their own incomes."

Two men indicted along with Banton, including the singer's driver, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Banton maintains he was set up by a well-paid government informant. But prosecutors argued during his trial that recorded conversations showed Banton was an experienced cocaine trafficker who was trying to invest in another deal.

Dick Carelli, spokesman for the nation's federal courts, said requiring defendants to hire security details as a condition of bail is rare but not unheard of. It's authorized by federal statute, which requires judges to set conditions of pretrial release that ensure the safety of the community and that defendants don't flee.

Carelli said it's highly unusual for the arrangement to be proposed by a judge – as in Banton's case – rather than by the defense or prosecution.

Stetson's Batey said the arrangement highlights a troubling issue.

"This is a problem that affects the criminal justice system from beginning to end," he said. "Rich people do better."

Judge Denies Buju Banton’s Request To Perform At Live Concert

Posted on November 25, 2010 Featured in News, Politics & Law

Dancehall/reggae artiste Buju Banton, who has been out on bail but under house arrest pending retrial in February 2011 on drug conspiracy charges, apparently made an application to perform at a live concert in Miami on December 26, but this request was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli yesterday. The judge reportedly said that whatever financial pressures Banton faces do not outweigh the risk that he might flee.

According to Banton’s lawyer, the artiste’s designated security detail does not object to him doing the concert, and would be present for the show. His lawyer reportedly asked the judge to reconsider, saying the 24-hour security detail ordered to monitor Banton as a condition of his release costs a hefty US$20,000 a month, not to mention the cost of preparing for his upcoming retrial. In other words, Banton needs to earn some money, and this concert would’ve been a good way to do so.

Jamaica Cleans Up Hate Music


A government-led crackdown on violent and explicit sexual lyrics seems to have stalled reggae music's 20-year slide into what has been dubbed "murder music".

Nineteen months after Jamaica's Broadcasting Commission banned from the airwaves all songs with violent and explicit sexual lyrics, dancehall stars have begun changing the messages in their music - lyrics that once promoted guns, violence and sex now preach love, harmony and righteous living.

The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica's (BCJ) ban in February 2009 included versions of the offending recordings that employed "editing techniques of bleeping or beeping of its original content". Together with police enforcement of the Noise Abatement Act, and rigorous monitoring of live performances, performers' use of vulgar and aggressive language has virtually disappeared.

While BCJ supporters applaud the success, some speculate that recent gun attacks on prominent artists, and show and visa cancellations worldwide have also been contributing factors. In May, O'Neil Edwards from the reggae group Voicemail was shot and killed. In an unrelated incident a day later, Ewart Brown, stage name Mad Cobra, was also shot numerous times, although he survived.

"The people say that some of us big up in the music are responsible. This is an indicator that we need to stop it," dancehall sing-jay Clifford "Mr. Vegas" Smith told journalists at a prayer vigil for Edwards. Since its beginnings in the late 1960s, reggae has mirrored the social conscience of the inner city poor. In recent years, the celebration of violence and an escalation of graphic sexual commentary have made dancehall reggae an affront to religious and gay communities.

Religious groups blame dancehall music for social decline and rising murder rates. Gay groups dubbed it "murder music" because anti-gay lyrics often suggested killing homosexuals, and led a vigorous campaign against its biggest stars.

The long-running campaign against anti-gay lyrics caused some show cancellations in Britain and various U.S. cities, but promoters simply shifted their attention to the Caribbean, Europe and Japan in response to rising popularity of the music. Fast-forward to 2010: the airwaves are again buzzing with calls for social regeneration, peace and unity, reminiscent of the Bob Marley era.

University of the West Indies' reggae studies lecturer Donna Marquis Hope noted that the standoff between the U.S. and Jamaican authorities over the extradition of alleged drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke may have had more of a profound impact on the transformation of the music than either the pullout of live reggae music's biggest sponsor Red Stripe or the gay lobby.

"Red Stripe was certainly not missed as several other sponsors, large and small, stepped into the vacuum created by Red Stripe's precipitous move in 2008," Hope said.

Thwarted in its attempts to extradite Tivoli Garden strongman Coke, the United States revoked the visas of prominent Jamaicans, among them reggae stars Beenie Man, whose real name is Moses Davis, Rodney "Bounty Killer" Price, Sheldon Lawrence also known as Aidonia and David "Mavado" Brooks. Coupled with the December 2009 arrest of Mark "Buju Banton" Myrie, promoters complained of an air of "uncertainty" regarding the booking of reggae artists.

California's Annual Seabreeze Festival was postponed in July because organisers were uncertain of "guaranteeing artist performance". Industry sources say the U.S. market accounts for between a third and one half of the reggae shows these artists depend on.

Dancehall's troubles escalated further in 2009 when, several Caribbean countries instituted their own broadcast bans, expressing concern about the effects they say the music has on their own populations. Many including Grenada, Barbados, Guyana and St. Lucia denied some prominent performers work permits. "Enough is enough," Barbados' Education Minister Ronald Jones told reporters in March, after Jamaican artists Adijah Palmer also known Vybz Kartel and "Mavado" Brooks were denied permission to perform on the island. Jones insisted that there was a link between dancehall music and the increasingly aggressive behaviour of young Barbadians.

Palmer's 'Ramping Shop', a duet in which he and female deejay Grace "Spice" Hamilton explicitly described a sexual encounter, is identified as the last straw that initiated the BCJ ban. Palmer is also the second half of the Gaza vs. Gully lyrical duel with self-proclaimed "gangster" Brooks, which pitted fans and communities against each other in 2009.

Fears that the row could set off gang warfare prompted the intervention of Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Gaza is the nickname Palmer gave to his working-class community of Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine. Brooks hails from Gully, a poverty-stricken community in Cassava Piece, Kingston.

These days in addition to guaranteeing acts, local promoters are culpable for the performances. The Noise Abatement Act imposes strict shutdown times for street dances, entertainment events and political meetings and makes promoters liable for the actions of performers at events they stage. Music executives like Johnny Gourzong now make it a contractual obligation for artists to avoid the use of profanity and the singling out of certain groups. "We have already set out what they should not be doing, and in addition, we sent them a letter which reinforced it," said Gourzong, the executive producer of the annual Reggae Sumfest, at the start of the weeklong festival in July. The fraternity is already seeing the benefits of the 'clean up'. When Reggae Sumfest 2010 opened in Jamaica's second city Montego Bay on Jul. 23, Red Stripe was back on board as a title sponsor after a two-year hiatus.

New York`s Top Reggae Event Canned For 2010


CaribWorldNews, Queens, NY, Mon. July 19, 2010: The global economic recession has claimed another victim – this time a top reggae festival in New York.

Producers of the annual Irie Jamboree, one of the top reggae festivals in the U.S., said Friday they made the agonizing decision to forgo the seventh annual staging this year, citing the recession as one of the key factors.

They also blamed the recent U.S. visa cancellation of a number of Jamaican reggae and dancehall artists, including Beenie Man, Movado and Bounty Killer, and the incarceration of both Buju Banton and Ninjaman, as another key factor in the decision to postpone this year`s event.

Irie Jam radio, which organizes the annual event, also claimed a recent city order which calls for events in area parks to be concluded by 8 p.m. (EST) has put tremendous pressure on promoters since Irie Jamboree is generally scheduled to end at 10 p.m.

`We will instead focus our resources on planning for the 2011 festival on Labor Day Sunday and promise another spectacular, exciting presentation then, the organizers added.

Irie Jambore not Jamming this year

South Florida Caribbean News Saturday, July 17, 2010

NEW YORK - Irie Jamboree, North America’s premier reggae festival will not be held this year. The executive team made the agonizing decision to forgo the seventh annual staging this year. We will instead focus our resources on planning for the 2011 festival on Labor Day Sunday and promise another spectacular, exciting presentation then.

To set the record straight about why this beloved annual concert was forced into hiatus this year, we list 5 reasons that are the cold facts.

The Recession

There's a well known adage in the Caribbean that "if America sneezes, the Caribbean gets a cold". This has never been more severely evidenced than over the past few years as the economic recession being experienced by the U.S. economy has had a grueling disproportionate effect on the diaspora Caribbean community. The average Caribbean family has seen an average 20% to 30% decrease in household income when compared to last year, this according to New York State's most recent unemployment data. As families strive to meet their basic needs, oftentimes under conditions of lost or reduced income, "disposable income" is slowly becoming an extinct concept. Families face the challenge of striving for economic survival in this insecure economy, while still facing the added burden of having to contribute support to family members back home who are also struggling to make ends meet. Where possible, saving for an unsure future is the prevailing mindset of most Caribbean households of the day. The sensitivity of these issues is not lost to us the organizers of Irie Jamboree, on having examined the possibility of reducing the entrance charge for the event we recognize that we would be unable to host the event without absorbing a significant deficit in 2010. Our access charges policy over the past 7 years has always dictated that we endeavor to keep admission to the concert at minimum cost to patrons.

Artists visa cancellation/incarceration

To restate the obvious, while Reggae is an entire philosophy, the heart of reggae is the music; the soul of reggae is that of the artists' expressions. Reggae artists whose inspiring performances are usually at the core of any successful festival, have been affected by a number of well-publicized events that will hinder the delivery of an event that meets the usual high standards of an Irie Jamboree type, and the equally lofty inherent expectations of its concert goers. Primary among these are visa revocations and artistes incarcerations. Buju Banton- Incarcerated; Beenie Man-No Visa; Bounty Killer-No Visa; Busy Signal-No Visa; Movado-No Visa; Vybz Kartel-No Visa; Ninjaman- Incarcerated; Jah Cure-No Visa; Sizzla-No Visa and Luciano-No Visa.

Labor Day weekend is at the height of the NYC tourist season. Recreational and entertainment events during this period, including the staging of Irie Jamboree, positively impact the economy by generating millions in revenue for the city as thousands of people flock to the area to experience the best of Caribbean culture. The apparent (albeit debatable) absence of true regard for the contribution of the Caribbean Community to the economy by U.S. governing authorities is a matter of grave concern to the community at large. As a group, the Caribbean business community has been vocal about the visa/travel issue. This is a serious matter that we will continue to actively advocate through appropriate avenues as we invite discussions with the relevant authorities in order to ascertain conditions of the visa revocation process and opportunities for possibly reinstating travel privileges. This situation is becoming more dire and needs to be properly addressed so that fair and prompt resolution can be hopefully achieved. Meanwhile, we the organizers of Irie Jamboree continue to hold artistes to account for upholding a moral and ethical compass that will ensure standards of behavior that are respectful and compliant with the laws of varied governing jurisdictions.

The 8pm Shutdown

Irie Jamboree is staged at the Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. The New York City mayor's office through the 113th precinct in Queens, has issued orders for events in area parks to be concluded by 8pm (EST). This puts tremendous pressure on particular promoters. The event is generally scheduled to end at 10pm. It is unreasonable to expect the team of professionals who plan and organize the concert, and whose resources are already strained to terminate the show at 10pm even under the best of circumstances. This 8pm cut off equates to nothing short of production suicide. Additionally, to limit performances in order to meet this timeline represents a gross disservice to patrons and artists alike of the event, and significantly affects a critical subscribing feature that has been created for Irie Jamboree, the reputable "brand" by which it is now widely known and respected.

The overall climate in the Industry

Overall, the reggae industry is at an all time low. The music seems to have become relatively stagnant. Those promoters (particularly in the North-east) who have ventured to host outdoor events these past 2 years have reported significant losses due primarily to unprecedented low attendance numbers. Amongst other salient reasons, not unlike what Jamaica's Usain Bolt did for the sport of track & field, the music industry needs to be potently re-energized; an adrenalin shot of sorts. Irie Jamboree is one of the many casualties of the arguably recent lull in the music, and by extension the industry at large that breathes life into it.

Other Variables

Irie Jamboree is produced as a collaborative effort together with valued partners whose sponsorship support is critical to its successful staging each year. Staging the number one reggae concert in the Northeast USA is amongst other things a very costly undertaking. All (not a few) but ALL traditional corporate sponsors of these type events have at best, dramatically slashed their marketing budgets, if not totally eliminating them. Irie Jamboree has not been spared the ravages of these budgetary realignments, not the least of which has been the recent acquisition of Air Jamaica by Caribbean Airlines which has resulted in the loss of one of the event's greatest allies.

Recent upheaval in Western Kingston borne of the events surrounding the extradition of Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the United States is an international incident that has had a plethora of adverse ripple effects throughout the Diaspora, and implications across economies, from which very few have emerged unscathed.

Suffice it to say that this has deemed this 2010 as being a less than opportune year for the concert promoting business. That said, we remain confident that Irie Jamboree 2011 will continue the trend in being the best, and most celebrated reggae concert in North America.

As we make plans for the 2011 staging of Irie Jamboree, we are hopeful that the Government of Jamaica will see the need to allocate a portion of the US$10 million for Jamaican festivals in the Diaspora. This money we are told is earmarked for the tourism sector to be used to improve Jamaica's image in the post "Dudus" disaster.

Fact is that international festivals like Irie Jamboree has opportunities for valuable public relations exposure for Jamaica. The festival boast a solid track record of quality production and enjoys popular support in the community. Like the Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival that received US$40,000 a few years ago from the JTB, Irie Jamboree is well positioned and can continue to help to promote Jamaica's music and culture. The success and longevity of this festival will go a long way in helping to repair Jamaica's tarnished image in New York, regard as the media capital of the world.

Opinion from Jack at Scottish Socialist Youth:
Buju Banton comes out of the closet

Not really, but who needs to tell the truth when you can make funny videos!

Buju Banton is one of the biggest names in dancehall music. He’s been making records for over 20 years, some of his undeniably great music has made him one of the biggest stars in Jamaica, and regarded by many as a voice for the poor majority.

Unfortunately, he’s also a violent homophobe. LGBT rights groups around the world have picketed his shows and called on promoters not to book him because of his anti-gay tunes. The most significant is ‘Boom Bye Bye,’ which is basically about killing LGBT people. It advocates shooting, burning and pouring acid as methods.

Many of his defenders claim that he was still a teenager when he released this tune in 1992, and he’s since moved on and doesn’t perform it any more. The truth is that Banton knows that it’s controversial, and so he’s careful about when he performs it because it can potentially get him in trouble. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it though, with his mike being cut off at a 2007 show in New York when he began the song.

It would be one thing if his hatred of LGBT people was confined to records, but it’s not. Several witnesses have identified him as part of a mob that broke into a home in Kingston in 2004 shouting homophobic insults, and then beat two men severely, leaving one of them blind in one eye.

Banton denies the claims, and the police have yet to charge him in connection with the attack. But the Jamaican police are notorious for the lack of care for violence against LGBT people, as homosexuality remains completely illegal in Jamaica and punishable by prison with hard labour.

Also in 2004, the founder of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, (an organisation fighting for LGBT rights under very difficult circumstances and desperately in need of support), Brian Williamson, was murdered in his home by multiple stab wounds from a machete.

Buju Banton himself is currently in US prison after being charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine last year. But in the meantime, his homophobic lyrics continue to be a rallying cry for hate, which is why the Eclectic Method have put together this little video to set the record straight:

Cancelled US visas for Sizzla, Beenie, Bounty, Mavado, Aidonia — Who next?

Monday, April 05, 2010

The recent cancellation of US visas of the abovementioned artistes (except for Sizzla, in whose case the cancellation was not recent, as the visa was revoked in 1998) sent shock waves throughout and outside of the music fraternity, as many wonder who will be the next victim.

At first glance it seems to have been done in an almost callous way and this is surely cause for concern. An email advisory was sent to all the airlines who carry passengers to the US with the instructions not to board the artistes as their visas were in the process of being revoked. The artistes themselves claim they had no knowledge that that such a move was afoot and the US embassy, as expected, has no comment, as this is a matter between them and the individual artiste.

However, is this to be seen as an advisory, pending some investigation on the embassy's part and at the end of the day a second advisory will be issued to countermand the first?

"The fact is that the artistes, as far as I know still have visas in their passports. The visas have not yet been stamped "cancelled without prejudice" or "cancelled with prejudice", so perhaps the US was just being generous by advising the artistes not to travel at this time. We have to examine the wording carefully," was artiste manager Patrick Robert's' take on the situation.

He, however, admitted that he was shocked by last week Wednesday's announcement that the visas of four of the top dancehall acts were "in the process of being revoked".

"But any way you look at it, this is bad," Roberts said. "What is a reggae festival anywhere in the States without Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado, Aidonia and Sizzla? And then there is Buju who is behind bars in the US."

The artistes had both their work permits and the visitor's visa revoked and the fact is that most artistes use the US as a hub. Without a visitor's visa they are now unable to use Miami as a connection port into other parts of the world. Artistes, like it or not, also have entourages and numerous persons to take care of. These artistes are among the top earners and shutting them down will certainly affect more than just them and their immediate families.

As the summer approaches, the next couple of month is usually their busiest periods as they travel to festival all across the US to earn their living. Many are asking why and why now? It is felt that the stand-off between Washington and Kingston is playing a role in this unfolding saga. Interestingly, both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer had a show in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday and their absence, according to informed sources, was a big blow to the promoter. It was to be the first time that the two would have performed on the same stage in Orlando.

According to Roberts, in all his 17 years of managing Beenie Man, he has never had a visa issue with the US government. "We have always had our work permits renewed without any problems," he emphasised.

And, as the artistes grapple with the way forward, Beenie Man has already released a visa song which will no doubt strike a responsive chord with all and sundry.

Buju Banton mugshot


1Albuquerque, NMBOYCOTT Sunshine Theater 120 Central Avenue SW10-19-2009
2Ann Arbor, MIBOYCOTT Blind Pig 208 S 1st Street9-30-2009
3Aspen, COBOYCOTT Belly Up Aspen 450 S Galena Street10-07-2009
4Atlanta, GABOYCOTT Rival Entertainment 1374 West Peachtree St.10-24-2009
5Austin, TXBOYCOTT Flamingo Cantina 515 East Sixth Street10-21-2009
6Berkeley, CABOYCOTT Shattuck Down Low 2284 Shattuck Avenue10-10-2009
7Bladensburg, MDBOYCOTT Crossroads 4103 Baltimore Avenue9-13-2009
8Charlotte, NCBOYCOTT Amos' Southend 1423 South Tryon9-23-2009
9Cincinnati, OH
BOYCOTT The Club Elements 1746 Seymour Avenue
10Columbus, OHBOYCOTT The Alrosa Villa 5055 Sinclair Road10-02-2009

The Alrosa Villa gave Buju Banton two shows!!10-03-2009
11Dallas, TXBOYCOTT Palm Beach Reggae Club 2816 Main St10-20-2009
12Denver, COBOYCOTT Cervantes 2637 Welton Street10-06-2009
13Jacksonville, FLBOYCOTT Plush 845 University Blvd N10-29-2009
14Katy, TXBOYCOTT The Red Zone 510 S Mason Road10-22-2009
15Los Angeles, CABOYCOTT Cabana Club 1439 Ivar Avenue10-15-2009
16Miami, FLJames L. Knight Center 400 SE 2nd Avenue10-31-2009
17Newark, NJNewark Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium 450 Broad St.9-20-2009
18New Haven, CTBOYCOTT Toad's Place 300 York Street9-16-2009
19Norfolk, VABOYCOTT The Norva 317 Monticello Avenue9-25-2009
20Orlando, FLBOYCOTT Destiny Nightclub 7430 Universal Blvd.11-01-2009
21Philadelphia, PABOYCOTT Trocadero Theatre 1003 Arch Street9-12-2009
22Portland, MEBOYCOTT Asylum 121 Center Street 9-17-2009
23Providence, RI
BOYCOTT Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel 79 Washington Street
24Raleigh, NCBOYCOTT The Lincoln Theatre 126 E. Cabarrus Street9-24-2009
25Revere, MABOYCOTT Club Lido 1290 North Shore Road9-18-2009
26Rochester, NYBOYCOTT Water Street Music Hall 204 North Water Street9-19-2009
27San Francisco, CABOYCOTT Rockit Room 406 Clement Street10-12-2009
28Santa Rosa, CABOYCOTT The Casbar 3345 Santa Rosa Avenue10-14-2009
29Solana Beach, CABOYCOTT Belly Up Tavern 143 S Cedros Avenue10-17-2009
30Tampa, FLBOYCOTT The Historian Cuban Club 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Ybor City
31West Melbourne, FLBOYCOTT Levelz Night Club 4250 W New Haven Ave10-28-2009
32White Plains, NYThe Westchester County Center 198 Central Avenue9-27-2009


Now FLAMINGO CANTINA Has Booked Criminal Homophobe Buju Banton

CANCELED: Murder music show axed


Anti-gay Reggae concert canceled


The Majestic Replaces Buju With LGBT Blowout

UPDATE: Third show added at Skateland Of Richmond CANCELS!

Buju Banton concert canceled over anti-gay message, company says

Buju Banton Columbus OH show cancelled by promoter

First Avenue cancels appearance by anti-gay reggae artist

There is no END to the WAR between me & FAGGOTS"

Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie 1973) is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae singer. In 1988, at age 15, he recorded, “Boom Bye Bye” [re-released in 1992] with anti-gay lyrics celebrating the brutal execution of faggots by shooting them in the head with an uzi, pouring acid on their skin and burning them like tires. Banton continues to profit from and perform this song in 2009.

On June 24, 2004, six men where driven from their home on Carlisle Avenue in Kingston and beaten by armed assailants calling the victims “battymen” (slang for gays). Buju Banton was one of the alleged attackers as documented by human rights groups and verified by Amnesty International. The case was dismissed in 2006, however, because homosexuality is a crime in Jamaica, the police fail to protect LGBT people from hate crimes and fully prosecute those who commit them.

In 2007, Buju Banton signed the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), to refrain from performing homophobic songs, but later denied doing so and continued to perform Boom Bye Bye.

2009 - Buju is back on tour in the US.
Live Nation/House of Blues and Goldenvoice/AEG canceled venues in Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles after an outcry from LGBT community activists. Banton’s ‘Rasta Got Soul’ tour will kick off in Philly despite the AEG Live cancellation. Local activists are now working on getting 30 shows canceled or are preparing protests and boycotts for venues supporting Banton’s Murder Music.

The "Fire Burn Batty" Video has been removed, but here is the same song with an extended anti-gay rant. The following version contains direct references to "Boom Bye Bye", the lightning strike (at 3 minutes) followed by the quoted line, "There is no end to the war between me and faggots!" The rage continues against the same-sex marriage vote in California, calling out cartoon characters SpongeBob SquarePants and Beavis & Butthead as "batty boy men", Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, etc.

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 at the Ritz Theatre (1148 East Jersey Street) in Elizabeth, NJ.

If this song is not "Boom Bye Bye", then it is another anti-gay song in Buju Banton's catalogue, which he performs and profits from while attacking the gay community at large. HERE IS THE PERFORMANCE ON THE 2009 TOUR WITHOUT THE ANTI-GAY RANT:

The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?

Brian wears sunglasses to hide his gray and lifeless left eye—damaged, he says, by kicks and blows with a board from Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton. Brian, 44, is gay, and Banton, 32, is an avowed homophobe whose song Boom Bye-Bye decrees that gays "haffi dead" ("have to die"). In June 2004, Brian claims, Banton and some toughs burst into his house near Banton's Kingston recording studio and viciously beat him and five other men. After complaints from international human-rights groups, Banton was finally charged last fall, but in January a judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. It was a bitter decision for Brian, who lost his landscaping business after the attack and is fearful of giving his last name. "I still go to church," he says as he sips a Red Stripe beer. "Every Sunday I ask why this happened to me."

Though familiar to Americans primarily as a laid-back beach destination, Jamaica is hardly idyllic. The country has the world's highest murder rate. And its rampant violence against gays and lesbians has prompted human-rights groups to confer another ugly distinction: the most homophobic place on earth.

In the past two years, two of the island's most prominent gay activists, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, have been murdered — and a crowd even celebrated over Williamson's mutilated body. Perhaps most disturbing, many anti-gay assaults have been acts of mob violence. In 2004, a teen was almost killed when his father learned his son was gay and invited a group to lynch the boy at his school. Months later, witnesses say, police egged on another mob that stabbed and stoned a gay man to death in Montego Bay. And this year a Kingston man, Nokia Cowan, drowned after a crowd shouting "batty boy" (a Jamaican epithet for homosexual) chased him off a pier. "Jamaica is the worst any of us has ever seen," says Rebecca Schleifer of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and author of a scathing report on the island's anti-gay hostility.

Jamaica may be the worst offender, but much of the rest of the Caribbean also has a long history of intense homophobia. Islands like Barbados still criminalize homosexuality, and some seem to be following Jamaica's more violent example. Last week two CBS News producers, both Americans, were beaten with tire irons by a gay-bashing mob while vacationing on St. Martin. One of the victims, Ryan Smith, was airbused to a Miami hospital, where he remains in intensive care with a fractured skull.

Gay-rights activists attribute the scourge of homophobia in Jamaica largely to the country's increasingly thuggish reggae music scene. Few epitomize the melding of reggae and gangsta cultures more than Banton, who is one of the nation's most popular dance-hall singers. Born Mark Myrie, he grew up the youngest of 15 children in Kingston's Salt Lane — the sort of slum dominated by ultraconservative Christian churches and intensely anti-gay Rastafarians. Banton parlayed homophobia into a ticket out of Salt Lane. One of his first hits, 1992's Boom Bye-Bye, boasts of shooting gays with Uzis and burning their skin with acid "like an old tire wheel."

Banton's lyrics are hardly unique among reggae artists today. Another popular artist, Elephant Man (O'Neil Bryant, 29) declares in one song, "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/ It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/ That's two Sodomites who should be dead." Another, Bounty Killer (Rodney Price, 33), urges listeners to burn "Mister Fagoty" and make him "wince in agony."

Reggae's anti-gay rhetoric has seeped into the country's politics. Jamaica's major political parties have passed some of the world's toughest antisodomy laws and regularly incorporate homophobic music in their campaigns. "The view that results," says Jamaican human-rights lawyer Philip Dayle, "is that a homosexual isn't just an undesirable but an unapprehended criminal."

Meanwhile, gay-rights activists say Jamaican police often overlook evidence in anti-gay hate crimes, such as the alleged assault by Banton in 2004. His accuser, Brian, says cops excised Banton's role from their reports of the 2004 beating. A police spokesman denies that. But in dismissing the case earlier this year, the judge in the trial warned Banton to avoid violence and "seek legal recourses" when he has complaints against gays in the future. Banton refused TIME's request for an interview. His manager, Donovan Germain, insists that the singer is innocent and that "Buju's lyrics are part of a metaphorical tradition. They're not a literal call to kill gay men."

There are some signs that Jamaica may soften its approach. Jamaica's ruling party last month elected the nation's first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, a progressive who gay-rights supporters hope will eventually move to decriminalize homosexuality. She hasn't yet said that, but Jamaica's beleaguered gays say they at least have reason now to hope their government will change its tune before their reggae stars ever do.

The Buju Incident: Banton attempts to Stab Christafari Singer

CHRISTAFARI - In the reggae community, the band has not been well accepted, and matters were not helped when Mohr penned a book deriding Rastafarianism. While staying in a Cleveland hotel, dancehall artist Buju Banton showed his displeasure with the band by attacking and cutting Mohr with a knife, but Mohr in a gesture of forgiveness refused to press charges. Mainstream Christians have not always accepted Christafari either, primarily because they are unfamiliar with or suspicious of reggae music. But the band works hard at educating its audiences, and it seems to be working. Their 1995 album Soulfire sold 80,000 copies and earned them a nomination for the Dove foundation's Urban Album of the Year. In 1996, they were selected to play in the Olympic Village during the Atlanta Summer Olympics. That year they also released Valley of Decision, which they followed three years later with Word Sound & Power.
~ Sandra Brennan, All Music Guide

Buju Banton’s violations of the Reggae Compassionate Act

By Peter Tatchell, international coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign

Jamaican LGBT group (J-Flag) want a global boycott of Buju Banton over his repeated violations of the RCA. They want his US concerts cancelled. So do black LGBT groups in the UK.

Banton has not truly changed one iota. He was offered a truce many times since 2004 and he rejected or reneged every time. He broke his promises.

For many years and on many occassions, the Stop Murder Music (SMM) campaign offered to call off the campaign against him if he stopped encouraging, glorifying and promoting the murder the LGBT people and promised to not do so in the future. Banton refused.

Yes, Buju signed the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA) in 2007. It is signed under his real name, Mark Myrie.

His signing was brokered by UK and European reggae agents and promoters who have since felt that Buju has betrayed them by reneging on the RCA.

Just weeks after Banton signed the RCA he denied signing it and denounced the RCA (in the Jamaican media). He has repeatedly violated it by performing Boom Bye Bye since he signed the RCA.

From the early 1990s, when he first released the song, he has sold and profited from Boom Bye Bye (mostly on compilation albums).

His signing of the RCA is worthless. Nothing Banton says can be relied upon.

First evidence:

August 2007 - Buju Banton told the London police and the management of the Brixton Academy (a major London music venue) on Sunday 12 August 2007 that he has NOT and will NOT sign the RCA (despite having done so).

Buju was invited to sign the RCA on Sunday 12 August 2007 just before his London concert and he refused to do. In order that his concert could go ahead, Buju's people previously gave the police and venue management the false impression that he would sign. But at the last minute he refused to do so. Perhaps this was a trick all along? As a result of his failure to honour this pledge, the venue management told me and the police that they would never allow Banton to perform at the Brixton Academy again.

Second evidence:

Buju has performed Boom Bye Bye after signing the RCA and has abused gay rights groups with the epithet "**** them".


In 2004 and 2005 Banton was claiming that he no longer performs Boom Bye Bye. This is not true. Here is video proof that Buju Banton was STILL performing Boom Bye Bye after he claimed that he was not performing it - Miami concert, 29 May 2006


More evidence: US concert organisers switched off Banton’s mike after they deemed he had attempted to sing Boom Bye Bye at New York's Reggae CariFest on Randall’s Island, New York, on 25 August 2007 - after he signed the RCA. .

On 27 October 2007 Buju Banton sang part of 'Boom Bye Bye' at the Guyana Music Festival - after he signed the RCA.


So much for his PR company's claim that the song was 17 years ago and that he has since "moved on" and put the song behind him.

Third evidence:

Although he was not convicted of involvement in a gay-bash attack in that took place in Jamaica in 2004, many people believe he may not have been innocent. Some of his gay victims were too afraid to testify against him. They feared being killed. The Jamaican police seemed to collude to protect Banton from arrest and charges - taking one year to execute a warrant for his arrest and then only after international pressure. They did little to gather the necessary evidence. The poor quality of the police investigation and prosecution contributed to Banton not being convicted.

Banton has been given so many chances to drop his incitements to kill LGBT people. He has refused, or agreed and then gone back on his word.

The context and issues to consider:

Would a venue host a white racist singer who had encouraged and glorified the murder of African American people?

The criterion for opposing incitements to homophobic murder should, in my opinion, be the same as for incitements to racist murder. Zero tolerance for both.

This is not a free speech issue. Incitement to murder is a criminal offence in Jamaica and the US. Free speech does not include the right to incite the killing of other human beings.

Everyone has a right to be spared threats to kill them. Homophobic songs that contain threats to kill "batty men" diminish freedom of speech because LGBT people are cowed into silence and invisibility. They are not able to speak freely. Not a single LGBT Jamaican is able to be open, because they would be killed. Where is their freedom of speech?

In Jamaica, Boom Bye Bye is still hailed as an anti-gay anthem, and is sung by mobs when they attack LGBT people. When the leader of the Jamaican gay rights movement, Brian Williamson was brutally murdered in a homophobic attack in 2004, crowds gathered outside his house to cheer and to sing Boom Bye Bye.

We are asking venues to show compassion for the LGBT people of Jamaica by refusing to host a singer who has contributed to their pain, suffering and death.

People like Buju Banton, who sing about killing LGBTs, should not be rewarded with concerts and money.

Lyrics of Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye

[Jamaican patois, with standard English translation and explanation underneath]

Buju Banton - Boom Bye Bye" Lyrics (small)

Boom bye bye
Boom [as in gun sound] goodbye, goodbye
[as in we won’t be seeing you again, you’re dead]

Inna batty bwoy head
In a queer’s head

Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Rude boys don’t promote no queer men

Dem haffi dead
They have to die

Send fi di matic an
Send for the automatic [gun] and

Di Uzi instead
The Uzi instead

Shoot dem no come if we shot dem
Shoot them, don’t come if we shoot them
[as in don’t come to help them]

Guy come near we
If a man comes near me

Then his skin must peel
Then his skin must peel
[as in pour acid over him]

Burn him up bad like an old tyre wheel
Burn him up badly, like you would burn an old tyre wheel


"When [Human Rights Watch researcher Rebecca] Schleifer visited Jamaica in 2004, Brian Williamson, the country’s leading gay activist, was violently chopped to death with a machete in his apartment in Kingston. Schleifer walked to his street shortly after the murder and found a crowd of people gathered outside Williamson’s apartment singing and celebrating his murder and shouting the chorus of 'Boom Bye Bye,' a popular Buju Banton dancehall hit about shooting gay men: 'Boom bye bye, in a ******’s head. Rude boys don’t promote nasty men, they have to die.' Others were laughing and yelling, 'Let’s get them one at a time,' and, 'That’s what you get for sin.'”


In 2004 and 2005 Banton was claiming that he no longer performs Boom
Bye Bye
. Here is video proof that Buju Banton was still performing Boom
Bye Bye - Miami concert, 29 May 2006:

US concert organizers switched off his mike after they
deemed he had attempted to sing Boom Bye Bye at New York's Reggae
CariFest on Randall’s Island, New York, on 25 August 2007 - after he
signed the Reggae Compassionate Act.


October 27th, 2007 Buju Banton sang part of 'Boom Bye Bye' at the
Guyana Music Festival - after he signed the RCA.

“Buju no like batty boys,” he told the cheering crowd, “and dem batty boy attack Buju.” His defiance was met with loud cheers from the crowd, culminating when he began the refrain, “Boom Bye Bye".

Buju Banton Defiantly Said "Batty Boys Fi Dead" at Guyanese Concert

Strategicly placed Gay Rights Monitors at the Guyana Music Festival reported that just prior to the conclusion of the Entertainer's October 27, 2007 concert, he defiantly performed his controversial boom bye bye ... via Propaganda press

Buju sings controversial tune at music festival

October 29, 2007
But the night certainly belonged to the dreadlocked, still very much homophobic Jamaican dancehall star, who had no apologies for his discriminatory lyrics lashing the gay community.

“Buju nah like no batty boy and dem batty boy attack Buju”, the singer said to an adulating audience who seemed to have been waiting for that exact moment. And perhaps feeling the vibes of the embracing crowd and the urge to sing his controversial song, “Boom boom bye”, the singer belted out a few of the lyrics nearing the close of his performance.


Gargamel Music, Inc.President Tracii McGregor says Buju Banton has Moved On

Two years ago, when Buju found himself the target of a new generation of gay activists, he made an artistic decision to incorporate two lines from “Boom Bye Bye” at a show in Miami as a springboard to discuss the enduring persecution he was currently facing because of that age old song. Certain factions of the gay community continue to use it to discredit him in the media, despite the fact that over the past 15 years, Banton and his Shiloh band have played gigs in almost every continent around the globe, and the song has not been a part of the performance.

Reggae musician's rep responds to anti-gay allegations

10:49 AM EDT on Friday, September 25, 2009 link

NORFOLK -- A representative for a Reggae singer set to perform in Norfolk Friday night is responding to a protest planned for before the concert.

Gay rights supporters say Buju Banton’s song, “Boom Bye Bye,” encourages violence against gays. They also cite his 2004 charge and acquittal in a gay beating and his refusal to sign a pledge to refrain from anti-gay lyrics.

Late Thursday, Banton’s manager Tracii McGregor said in an e-mail to 13News, “Buju Banton does NOT perform ‘Boom Bye Bye.’”

She added, “The song is not and has never been a part of his live set. He realizes now that even a mere mention of the song from his lips can be misconstrued as a performance, and trust, the artist is not going there.”

She also said Banton was never involved in any conversations about the Reggae Compassionate Act, which bans anti-gay lyrics. “Buju has a huge fan base in Virginia and performs at The Norva regularly without incident,” McGregor stated.



Buju Banton watches the Grammy Awards

Promoting Murder is not a "Cultural Perspective" Says Coalition Calling for Action During Grammy Telecast

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, GLAAD Outraged by Buju Banton Nomination and Call on Recording Academy to Denounce Music that Promotes Murder

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2010 --
In a full page ad in today's special Grammy-edition of Variety, more than 20 progressive organizations, lead by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, have called on the head of The Recording Academy to use Sunday night's Grammy telecast to denounce music that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people and the artists who perform such music.

The ad, in the form of an open letter to The Recording Academy's President Neil Portnow, is in response to anti-gay reggae singer Buju Banton's nomination for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category. Throughout his career Banton has performed music that glorifies the violent murder of LGBT people, and as recently as three months ago he refused to stop performing such music. Last October he was quoted in news reports saying, "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs, 'There is no end to the war between me and fa**ots.'"

In his most notorious song "Boom, Bye Bye" he sings that "batty men (slur equivalent to 'fa**ot') get up and run" when he comes, that "they have to die," and that he will "shoot batty men in the head" or "burn them up bad." His music has helped foster such an anti-gay culture in Jamaica-where violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is common and sometimes celebrated-that Time magazine recently asked, "Is Jamaica the most homophobic place on Earth?"

"It's outrageous that The Recording Academy has chosen to honor, with a Grammy nomination, someone who proudly and unabashedly performs music that glorifies the violent murder of gay and transgender people," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "We need to send a strong message to let the Recording Academy and music industry know that promoting artists who advocate such acts feeds a climate of intolerance that can put members of our community at risk for violence."

In a letter to GLAAD, the Academy claims that the Grammy Awards honor musical achievement "regardless of politics" and that "artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast."

"Music that promotes the violent murder of LGBT people, or any other group, doesn't reflect a political or cultural perspective," said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. "It reflects hatred and fosters a culture of violence. Portnow needs to use the Grammy telecast to denounce such music, in no uncertain terms, and those who perform it."

See the ad at http://www.glaad.org/Page.aspx?pid=1149 or www.lagaycenter.org.

About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Since 1971 the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the Web at:www.lagaycenter.org.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.

Promoting Murder Isn't A "Cultural Perspective"

Gay groups urge Grammys to denounce Buju Banton

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Gay rights groups angry about a Grammy nomination for jailed Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton took out a full page advert on Friday, protesting the honoring of an artist they said had "promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career."

Banton, 36, is up for a best reggae album award for his "Rasta Got Soul" release at the Grammys on Sunday. He is currently in jail in Florida awaiting trial on a cocaine charge and will not be attending the awards show.

In an advert in Hollywood show business paper Daily Variety, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center urged Grammy organizers to use Sunday's televised ceremony to denounce music "that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people."

The lyrics of Banton's most controversial song "Boom, Bye Bye" in 1988, promote the murder of gay men by shooting or burning.

Several of Banton's U.S. concerts were canceled by promoters last year after an outcry over his lyrics.

Banton was quoted late last year as saying he saw "no end to the war" between himself and gay men.

The Recording Academy has said that the Grammy Awards honor musical achievement "regardless of politics" and that artists from many different political and cultural perspectives have been nominated over the years.

Gay rights groups protested in 2001 over the Grammy nomination and performance of rapper Eminem, whose lyrics also have homophobic elements. Gay British singer Elton John took to the Grammy stage to sing with Eminem that year in a bid to defuse the anger.

Friday's advert, in the form of a letter signed by more than 20 gay, civil rights and anti-violence groups, said that honoring "an artist such as Buju Banton, honors his extraordinary hateful work." (Reporting by Jill Serjeant: editing by Dean Goodman)

Buju Banton Arrested on Cocaine Charges

For reggae icon Buju Banton, a cloudy future

Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton remains in a federal lockup on drug charges while his fans are in shock.


Internationally known reggae star. Gay basher. Grammy nominee.

And now accused drug trafficker.

As news of the drug arrest of Jamaican artist Buju Banton rocked the reggae world and burned up U.S. urban blogs, one word described the reaction in Miami and his Caribbean homeland: Shock.

``Everybody's surprised, everybody's saying it's got to be a set-up,'' said dancehall reggae artist Red Rat, who collaborated with Banton on the 1997 reggae hit Love Dem Bad.

``We don't know Buju as that type of person,'' Rat, who splits his time between Miami and Jamaica, told The Miami Herald. ``We know Buju as the revolutionary that he is, the one who sings about love and uplifting yourself as a people in the dancehall reggae world. Yeah he did Boom Bye Bye, but that was a young Buju.''

Boom Bye Bye is viewed by gay-rights advocates as an anti-gay anthem because of its lyrics advocating shooting gays in the head and setting them on fire. It made and continues to make Buju Banton a target of protests by gays and lesbians who as recently as this month ratched up their protests against the artist after the Grammy announced his latest album, Rasta Got Soul, was nominated for Best Reggae Album.

Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, remained in federal detention in Miami on Monday awaiting transfer to Tampa, where he faces a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

On Monday, in South Florida and Jamaica, callers burned up radio airwaves, calling the arrest a ``conspiracy'' to get him after his recent controversy that included protests by local gay-rights advocates over a Halloween concert in downtown Miami.

``They are convinced it's directly connected to the concert he had recently,'' said Winston Barnes, a Miramar city commissioner and host of a popular Jamaican talk show on WAVS (1170-AM). ``What they are saying is that he got off that time and they are fixing him now.''
Barnes tried without success to reason with callers, most of whom also viewed the arrest as an attack on reggae music. ``It is one big mess.''

In Jamaica, people clamored for details of the arrest, decrying it on radio and on street corners.
``A lot of people are wondering if it has any links with the fight against him,'' well-known Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka said from Kingston. ``We are trying to get more information.''

Last fall, several of Banton's concerts were canceled in U.S. cities amid protests from gays and lesbians. Even a face-to-face meeting with some gay-rights activists in San Francisco in October failed to end the protests.

One of the most prolific, and yet controversial reggae artists, Banton defines the music born in the ghettos of Jamaica, made famous by Bob Marley and taken to new heights by artists who have sped it up and made it popular in nightclubs and mainstream radio.

Instead of gay-bashing lyrics, Banton has now become known among his fans for his music with a message, verses that put culture in dancehall.

But now it's his drug charges shining the spotlight on him. Banton was arrested at his home in Tamarac on Thursday, three days after he allegedly spoke with a confidential source about traveling to Sarasota to obtain ``kilogram amounts of cocaine,'' according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court.
The complaint said that at about 12:45 p.m. Dec. 8, Banton and a woman entered La Tropicana de Havana restaurant to meet with a confidential source. He was later joined by Ian Thomas, also arrested and charged. The negotiations was taped.

Later at a police-controlled warehouse, Banton was handed a knife and ``instantly wiped the blade of the knife with his finger and placed that finger into his mouth in what appeared to be an attempt to taste the cocaine. After viewing the cocaine, Myrie and Thomas continue to negotiate with the [confidential source] for them to obtain multiple kilograms of cocaine.''

Two days later, Thomas was arrested along with James Mack, aka Spencer Clarke, at the same warehouse after they arrived with money to purchase seven kilograms of cocaine.

``Conservatively speaking, we're looking in the 20- to 30-year range,'' said David P. Rowe, a criminal defense lawyer in Broward, who has been contacted about representing Banton. ``I think a plea bargain, if he has information, might be a good course of action.

``Hopefully, the federal government will take into account that he is a reggae icon, and a cultural leader in Jamaica. Those are subjective factors but ones that should be taken into account. He really has been a source of inspiration for so many Jamaican youths.''

Banton's management has not returned calls.

``People are in shock,'' said DJ Irie, of 99 JAMZ and Miami Heat DJ who knows Banton. ``The man is still extremely relevant, he's still making relevant music, he's still touring. He's earning great money.'' While Irie puts Banton in the top 10 most well-known reggae artists outside Jamaica,former 99 JAMZ DJ Papa Keith says ``he is reggae music.''

``He's in the same breath as Bob Marley. He's up there with Shabba. If you don't know Buju, you know about him because of the whole gay-rights issue. Hundreds of artists have sang anti-gay songs, but he's the one who carried the criticism on his back. He's been the biggest target.''

'No end to the war between me and the gays,' Buju tells Muta

Buju Speaks... J-FLAG responds

By Steven Jackson Observer writer
Friday, October 16, 2009

International reggae artiste Buju Banton, who this week met with gay activists in San Francisco, says he will not "surrender" to the group's philanthropy proposals as they would contradict his religion and culture.

Banton also said his concert that night was pepper-sprayed following the meeting with the gay lobby.

Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"
Back row, L - R: Buju's PR representative Jonathan Mack, Bevan Dufty, Andrea Shorter, Eric Mar, Rebecca Rolfe and Tracii McGregor of Gargamel Music. Front row, Michael Petrelis and Buju.

"This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and ******' and it's clear.

The same night after I met with them (gay associates), they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me?"
claimed Banton who phoned Mutabaruka's Cutting Edge talk-show on Wednesday in order to clarify his meeting in the US gay capital. "I owe dem nothing, they don't owe I nothing."

Buju said that he felt legally and not financially compelled to meet the group. "It is not about boxing food out my mouth, if a that I would have surrendered to the system a long time ago," he later added. "The mayor of San Francisco, or the mayor-to-be, claimed that I was in his district and that it was imperative for him and his organisation to meet with me to further see what kind of personality or character (I have)."

The gay activists in San Francisco reportedly want the proceeds from Boom Bye Bye to be donated to J-FLAG. They also want Banton to hold a town hall meeting in Kingston about the need to respect gays.

Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"

"Them come with demands which I and I a go flop dem right now, because give thanks to my culture and upbringing I coulda never endorse them things. I can't sell myself out, neither would I do that in a thousand years," he continued. "I love everyone in the world. I don't love no special group from another group. There are other needy organisations out there."

The meeting included convenor Bevan Duffy; Rebecca Rolfe, executive director of the San Francisco gay community centre; Andrea Shorter of Equality California; advocate Michael Petrelis and members of Banton's management team.

Buju is on a US tour to promote his new album Rasta Got Soul, yet it has been his anti-gay song, Boom Bye Bye, written almost two decades ago, which continues to spur gay protests. "I said to him that this transpired 17 years ago and every year is the same thing," he said.

Banton said that the US gay lobby was tipped-off by gays in Jamaica. "The 'mayor' .said that there are people in Jamaica who are feeding him these information and giving Jamaica a bad reputation, saying that we are the murder capital of the world for gays," said Banton.

Despite the controversy, Banton and others called his tour the biggest-selling reggae tour of the year. "I have two-and-a-half more weeks and let me tell you this, if a show has been cancelled or postponed by this group of people, it has been picked up and replaced in another venue. Let the struggle continue," said Banton. "Pray for I, don't cry for I," he said on the programme.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In California and New York, homophobic music and hate crimes still a big problem

Post by EQCA Communications Manager Jorge Amaro

Musical lyrics promoting the killing of people should never be the chorus of any tune. That however, is not the case for Buju Banton, a reggae singer whose music promotes the violent murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Last week, EQCA asked everyone to join in and continue boycotting Buju’s concerts scheduled to take place in California. As people flock to attend his concerts and finance his homophobic agenda, a huge step backwards in the fight for human rights worldwide, the toll of crimes committed against the LGBT community continues to rise.

Two weeks ago Jack Price, a 49-year-old from Queens, New York, was beaten up simply because he is gay.

Watch Pedro Julio Serrano discuss anti-LGBT crimes on “Al Rojo Vivo,” Spanish-language television news magazine on Univision:

The attack happened only hours before the US House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act with a 281 to 146 vote. The bill expands the landmark 1969 United States federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim's real or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

Earlier this year, on July 17, the Golden State officially endorsed Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act through resolutions passed by the state legislature. The resolutions sponsored by EQCA and introduced by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) and Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) received support of both sides of the party lines.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, honors the memory of the two victims of hate crimes by naming the bill after them: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas. The Senate is expected to vote and pass the bill in the upcoming days, which will then be sent to President Obama for his signature.

To join the boycott against Buju Batan please visit http://cancelbujubanton.wikifoundry.com/, and to help fight homophobia in New York please contact the National Gay and Lesbian Task New York Office: http://www.thetaskforce.org/.

Boycott of Buju Banton concert at Cabana Club in Hollywood, CA

J-FLAG not impressed

By Steven Jackson Observer writer
Friday, October 16, 2009

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is "unimpressed" by Buju Banton's meeting with the San Francisco group, adding that the impasse tarnishes Jamaica's reputation.

At the same time, J-FLAG said it doesn't want philanthropy but, rather, tolerance from Banton and other deejays.

Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"
Michael Petrelis and Buju.

"In a word, J-FLAG is not convinced that the meeting has produced any tangible results for the gay community that has been the target of Mr Myrie's violent 1992 lyrics, sung a number of times in recent years as a mark of defiance against gay rights protesters," said Jason McFarlane J-FLAG programmes manager in response to Splash queries.

J-FLAG remains resolute in its position that no agreement can be reached between Banton and the gay community until (a) he desists from publicly performing Boom Bye-Bye and (b) repudiates the call for the "murder" of gay and lesbian Jamaicans.

Banton said on a Wednesday night radio programme that gay murders in Jamaica are predominantly crimes of passion and not hate.

"These are the minimum conditions required by decency for him to be absolved of his incitement of violence against these groups. Anything less is mere farce and a public relations stunt to garner support for his music," noted J-FLAG.

This week, dancehall artiste Mark Myrie, aka Buju Banton, met gay rights activists in San Francisco, USA. The meeting was to discuss concerns of the gay community who have long protested his shows. Banton's international career has been dogged by protesters and show cancellations since recording his 17-year-old, anti-gay song, Boom Bye Bye.

The meeting's participants wanted Banton to give the proceeds from the song to J-FLAG, hold a pro-gay town hall meeting and sing pro-gay lyrics. These requests were berated by Banton and also J-FLAG.

"J-FLAG is under no illusion that Mr Myrie or other DJs of his ilk will ever be minded to produce music that preaches the dignity of all life, including that of gays and lesbians. Neither do we expect contributions of any sort from them. In fact, such an engagement with the gay community is not our goal," said J-FLAG.

"What we insist on, however, is that no one treats us as less deserving of the right to life than other Jamaicans by virtue of our sexual orientation."

J-FLAG said that Jamaica's international reputation is marred by the continuation of this impasse. "We share the concern of the parties that the stalemate be brought to an end as soon as possible. Its persistence does harm to Jamaica's image and to the marketability of its popular music industry. It is for these reasons that J-FLAG is underwhelmed by a meeting that could serve to unfetter Mr Myrie's career but do little to redress anti-gay hostilities his music has fostered," said J-FLAG.

The Jamaican society has not necessarily increased its tolerance towards homosexuals over the last five years according to J-FLAG.

"We are constantly trying to assess the change in society but this is hard to judge as people continue to be attacked and harmed and even murdered just because of their sexuality. As regards the music industry, the music has been more suggestive rather than directly bashing gay people," said J-FLAG.

Hi SF LGBT Activists,

Thanks for your efforts.

I don't doubt the good intentions of the LGBT activists who attended the meeting with Buju Banton in San Francisco, but they appear to have come away with nothing from Banton. Not even promises.

I was shocked to read this SF Weekly article.

Despite their failure to secure anything from Banton, LGBT activists reportedly agreed to allow his concert at the Rock It Room to go ahead. If true, I am stunned that Banton's demand for a concert was conceded in exchange for nothing tangible from him.

Contrary to his claims, Banton has part performed Boom Bye Bye in recent years and he profits from continuing sales of this song. He still makes money from urging the killing of faggots. Did no one make this point to him? He has used these PR and divide-and-rule tactics before - and LGBT Jamaicans were the losers.

This is not what LGBT Jamaicans in Jamaica and London wanted. I am shocked that no one seems to have asked Banton to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA copy attached). This was the least that he should have been asked to do.

Just look at Banton's record of lies and broken promises. See my briefing here.

Contrary to what the article says, this campaign not about Banton's homophobia. It is about his incitements to murder LGBTs, which is a criminal offence in Jamaica and the US. No one should concede an inch to people who incite the murder of other human beings - and who refuse to apologise.

I urge you to issue a news statement making at least some of these points, and urging concrete action from Banton to show that he has changed, such as him apologising to the LGBT communities (especially in Jamaica) and signing the RCA in public in front of you and the media (so he can't deny doing so in future).

Thank you for considering this representation.

Yours in solidarity!

Peter Tatchell, OutRage! London, international coordinator, Stop Murder Music Campaign

For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns: www.petertatchell.net
Reggae Compassionate Act- FINAL Sep 07

SF Protest Over Reggae Artist With Anti-Gay Song


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) ― Protestors outside the Rockit Room in San Francisco Monday night, many from the gay and lesbian community, raised their voices against a reggae signer over a song with anti-gay lyrics. But gay rights advocates and city leaders were able to reach out to the singer ahead of a scheduled performance.

Jamaican recording artist Buju Banton is a four-time Grammy nominee. When he was a teenager more than 20 years ago, Banton wrote a song called "Boom Bye Bye," where he sings of throwing acid in the face of a gay man and other violence, including murder, against gay people.

Through an aggressive online campaign, LGBT activists across the country have been boycotting Banton. They have managed to shut down around a dozen recent concerts, including two in the Bay Area.

"His concerts have been cancelled, he is feeling the pressure," said gay rights advocate and blogger Michael Petrelis.

That pressure led to an extraordinary meeting in San Francisco on Monday. Leaders of the LGBT community along with two San Francisco supervisors met with Banton at his hotel.

"It was a good meeting today," said San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty. "It was cathartic, I think for the artist because he had never met with representatives of gay organizations. Not in America, not in Jamaica."

"He made some awful mistakes, some awful anti-gay mistakes when he was younger," Petrelis said. "I was encouraging him to explain that this was his past and that now would be a good time for him to call for love and tolerance of gay people in America."

Promoter Jonathan Mack said Banton took the meeting to heart, although he made no specific promises. Mack believed the protestors were being unfair.

"In Jamaica for example, it's illegal to have homosexual activities in public, It's an illegal crime," Mack said. "It's not about lyrics to a song, it's about changing a societal view."

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Buju Banton has to rethink The "Fax Machine" comments

Earlier this year at the Rasta got Soul album launch Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"at the University of the West Indies of all places to embrace him Buju Banton after making a short speech referred to the gay lobby then as a bunch of guys behind a fax machine and hinting that he wasn't worried about the opposition he had been facing all these years since the release and constant quiet marketing of his most famous hate song "Boom Bye Bye".

Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"
Some of reggae's strong supporters at the UWI: ( from left) Cecil Gutzmore, Professor Carolyn Cooper, and Dr Donna Hope Marquis share a moment with Buju Banton (second right) at the launch of Rasta Got Soul at the Undercroft, University of the West Indies, Mona.
(Photo: Jermaine Barnaby) April 22, 2009

.............Banton later balanced his embrace stating that dancehall artistes need public support against the gay lobby. "It is just a few guys behind a fax machine, but we must come together and write letters because it is more of us than them."...................

Well it seems the guys behind the fax machines have stepped up to Blackberries, social networking sites and other high tech mechanisms and personal contacts to know when his shows are gonna be held. How can his embrace be balanced if on one hand he says the CD is for everyone including gays then turns around and insult the people who you should be really trying to win over to his so called "New Soul" image and music.

I guess he is sorry now for making such an ignoramus remark and underestimating the gay lobby in America or worldwide for that matter. Gays in Jamaica might be more circumspect or cautious in lobby action but he of all people should know how it works in other parts of the world, especially in Europe as he and others like Sizzla and Capleton have faced pickets and strong opposition before. The Eurpoean SMM consortium by the way are watching the developments with great interest and are preparing to continue their own lobby action as before the present American LGBT backlash.

In what seems as a paltry attempt at damage control then and a dried up olive branch extended the new CD was intended as he puts it "This record is for everyone," "the young, the old, the gay, the lesbian, the black, the white."
Buju of course is on his own label and has no major distribution backing so it's all on him to move his product. I doubt very much any major sales will happen following this lengthy episode of opposition, more so in Europe where the SMM campaign has been steady over the years, America has now been bitten by the bug.

The defense by Buju's supporters claiming he did the song when he was 15 and he doesn't perform the tune anymore which has been proven to be untrue doesn't hold water.

Let's examine this .......
15 years old!!! and he can think about telling people to kill!!!!???
wow I don't think people fully realise the significance of this, even if he himself did not write the song the ADULTS around him were clearly indoctrinating HATE and death as if it is normal in this child.

Is this what we want to teach our kids? then the religious right is worried about who I and other homosexuals do with consent in the privacy of our own homes?


Why doesn't he and the management and the record companies pull the song?
Are they afraid that person and pundits might consider him weak and that he has bowed to pressure, remember the Sizzla comment: We nah bow to nuh battyman or words to that effect.

Yes while I agree that persons are entitled to freedom of speech I do not think the US Constitution covers or protects persons who incite violence, death or harm of any sort to another citizen. With freedom of any sort comes responsibility it cannot be a willy nilly act because one has a right u can hide in the letter of the law to commit a wrong.

That doesn't cut it Buju lovers

In the old days Rastafarians preached love and respect not death, I wonder what has changed over the years????
I am almost sure that there are some rastas in certain of the orders are not pleased with the image of rastafarianism today. The double standards, love in one breath, death in the other of course coupled with indiscriminate sexual acts and disrespect for women in general.

Conflicting messages eh???


Songs of hate

Posted on Tuesday, 10.06.09

Reggae dancehall performers Buju Banton and Beenie Man don't know me, but they say they hate me.

I'm a black man of Jamaican ancestry -- who knows, our Kingston roots may be intertwined somewhere in the past -- but because I am gay, they say they are at war with me.

They sing lyrics that incite their fans to murder and torture all gay people, even providing specific instructions:

Buju Banton incites listeners to shoot gays in the head, pour acid on us and set us on fire. Beenie Man suggests that his fans ``Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope'' and sings of a new Jamaica, ``come to execute all the gays.'' Buju suggests killing us with machine guns; Beenie recommends bazookas.

Banton and Beenie Man are both scheduled to perform in Miami's James L. Knight Center at the ironically titled Reggae ``Bash'' 2009 on Oct. 31. This Halloween-night concert is a personal affront and a physical threat to people like me. They are bringing their message of hate into my city, and inciting people to violence in my neighborhood. I call on the the city and the Knight Center management to cancel the concert, and for companies to end their sponsorship of the event.

Inciting violence

I am not alone in my outrage at the hateful and murderous message of Buju Banton and Beenie Man and their incitement of fans to violence against gays and lesbians. Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee venues have already cancelled the concert, and Toyota of Hollywood has withdrawn its financial support of the event. Nationwide, shows in Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Richmond and Minneapolis have been cancelled.

Unsurprisingly, concert promoters have done two things: downplay the incitement to violence as Banton's youthful indiscretion and invoke his First Amendment right to free speech. ``He was just 15 years old'' when he wrote Boom Bye Bye, his first hateful call to violence, they say. ``He doesn't perform it anymore.''

That is simply not true. A Miami Herald reporter posted a video of Buju Banton performing Boom Bye Bye in Miami in 2007. Search the Internet and you'll see him onstage in a video posted September 2009, screaming: ``There is no end to the war between me and the f--gots!''

As for Banton's right to free speech, I'm a strong supporter of the First Amendment. I firmly believe that Buju Banton and Beenie Man have a right to hate whomever they want, and to speak loudly against them, onstage and off.

But they go much further: They publicly advocate murder and other forms of indiscriminate violence against people like me and incite their listeners to commit assault. No venue, public or private, is obligated to provide space for those who use ``fighting words'' to incite violence.

Speaking out peacefully

It is a sign of deep respect for the First Amendment, not an affront to it, to meet hateful speech with only speech, not threats of violence. And that is what fair-minded Floridians -- gay and straight alike -- have been doing all across the state. We are speaking out against the dehumanization of people and the murderous message these two dancehall singers continue to spew for profit.

If the concert goes on, you can be certain there will be protesters outside, exercising our First Amendment right to free speech.

But we will not be inciting murder or violence against anyone. That would be dead wrong and illegal.

George Byars is a member of
Equality Florida. He previously served as development director of the civil rights organization.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The tone of this Star Article tells u.......

The lop sided reporting by the local media here on the Buju Banton troubles doesn't suprise anyone, so one concert may happen out of the many that have been cancelled due to protests by gay groups in the US and it is presented as a victory all round. Typical, as I say to readers take the Star News with a pound of salt. By the way it is still not confirmed whether the October 31st gigs will occur, let's see, in the meantime read the story in today's edition and form your own opinions. Peace


Reggae Bash defies gays - Buju Banton and Beenie Man will headline event

Krista Henry
Despite constant petitioning from gay activist groups to have dancehall acts Buju Banton and Beenie Man removed from the 'Reggae Bash 2009' line up in Miami, the show's organisers have said they will not bow to their demands.

When contacted this week, Andrew Minnott, president of Global Vybz Entertainment, organisers of Reggae Bash 2009, told THE WEEKEND STAR local gay rights activists have been trying their best to remove the acts from the show which will be held on Halloween night, October 31, at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.

He said, "There has been a big uproar and protests around the country because of Buju's Boom Bye Bye. Since I added Beenie to the show it's been like a double impact because they are saying that Beenie is just as homophobic as Buju. They have been protesting for the past month now, writing letters to the mayor and the commissioner and calling the venue like 20 times a day."

cancel concert

In an article in The Miami Tribune, published earlier this month, Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida is pushing for the concert to be cancelled.

She stated, "The message is that gay people's lives are cheap and that harming gay people is OK. Any time a message of violence and hatred against any group is put out there, it has to be challenged." According to the article, SAVE Dade, the county's largest gay-rights group, is also said to be lobbying for the concert to be cancelled.


This comes after several dates on Banton's 'Rasta Got Soul US' tour was cancelled due to protests from gay groups. Shows in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Utah, have been cancelled. Other dates in Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio, have been moved to alternative venues after promoters came under pressure from gay organisations.

Minnott, however, said he refuses to take the two headliners off the show. He said, "I'm not backing down from it because it's freedom of speech. Buju did that song so long ago and he's now promoting his album (Rasta Got Soul) and it has nothing to do with that." According to Minnott, there is no chance the gay activists will succeed saying, "It's a city-owned venue and the city officials believe it's freedom of speech and they are not gonna stop it."

To ensure at the concert goes well, Minnott said he has asked a number of persons to petition city officials and the public to protest the cancellations of Buju Banton's shows. On the social networking site, Facebook.com, Minnott started the 'We Support Buju Banton' page. Last Saturday he started the 'Save Buju Banton Shows Against Gay Activist' page on Facebook as well which, he said already has a membership of 1,700 persons.

In the meantime, according to Minnott, the ticket sales for Reggae Bash, which will also have performances from Wayne Wonder and Red Rat, has been going above normal due to the added media attention. He also believes both Buju Banton and Beenie Man will give above-average performances due to the protests.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


(This piece is written and contributed by Shum Preston, a trade unionist and human rights activist from San Francisco, California. Mr. Preston married his husband under California state law, and they are the proud fathers of 4.)


The next time Buju Banton sells an online download of “Boom Bye-Bye,” will he spare a thought for Caster Semenya?
Caster Semenya, as the whole world has learned, is the young South African runner whose privacy was recently violated when her medical records were leaked to the media. The nation of South Africa has honorably rushed to her defense, as various international sporting rivals appear ready to attack her for having some male traits, a situation sometimes called intersex.
Ms. Semenya is a beautiful part of the human spectrum, and deserves nothing less than the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I hope and believe that she will achieve that. But my heart is heavy because I know that around the world many people just like Caster Semenya will end up assaulted, attacked, battered, bashed, abused, beaten and yes sometimes killed because they’re different.
The batty boys that Buju Banton fantasizes about murdering in his controversial song “Boom Bye-Bye” often look not much different than Caster Semenya. They might be intersex or gay, lesbian, all-sexual, transgender, or whatever other word you might want to use to describe their part of the human rainbow.
That violence takes a terrible toll on my brothers and sisters. Literally thousands of them have been killed in my home country, the United States. I mourn our martyr Brian Williamson, the murdered head of Jamaica’s J-Flag group. My blood runs cold thinking of the two young men who were hanged in Iran.

It is genocide. There is genocide in Darfur, and genocide across the globe as these beautiful people are targeted for death because of who they are.
And what role does Boom Bye-Bye play in the genocide of sexual minorities in our world today? Who knows? But Boom Bye-Bye has emerged as history’s most notorious call to kill queers. It has achieved iconic status. Its message of shooting, burning with acid, and setting on fire batty boys has been sung and heard millions and millions of times.
And Mr. Banton still makes money from that message by selling it online. That’s not a youthful mistake, or something in the past. That’s selling the glorification of genocide so a pop star can get even richer.
I have rarely been as impressed with a country as I have been by the passion and compassion the nation of South Africa has shown in its defense of its daughter Ms. Semenya. They are blessed that Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu overthrew the British colonial “Buggery” laws and made sure that nation’s constitution protected the rights of all sexualities—from Batty boys to Caster Semeya.

Buju Banton has made pretty clear with his media statements that he doesn’t care what I--a gay man just trying to live my life—think. Whatever.
But I hope Mr. Banton can spare a thought for Caster Semenya and all her brothers and sisters around the world.
Because I hope and believe that if he does, Mr. Banton will either stop selling that song—or perhaps begin to undo the damage he’s done by making very clear publicly that no one should be bash and kill the world’s sexual minorities.


Fighting hate in all its forms

Originally printed 10/1/2009 (Issue 1740 - Between The Lines News)

Hate can take many shapes.

Though hate crimes legislation only applies to acts that are actual crimes, bias-motivated incidents happen all the time and go unreported, their committers suffering no penalty. A noose hanging from a tree. A young man being called a "***." A priest who spreads intolerance. A musician who advocates for violence.

Hate is all around us, and we have to be careful to not just fight the prejudice that results in actions punishable by law. Some of the most harmful forms of hate are the ones that the arms of the law can never reach.

Hate as quantified by the law and the government is not necessarily the same as the hate we see in our everyday lives. But the hate in our ears, on our televisions and in our churches is just as harmful and just as toxic to our causes and our well-being.

Take, for example, the battle against Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton over the past month or so. Banton is most well known as the artist who wrote and popularized the song "Boom Bye Bye" - essentially an anti-gay anthem that advocates for the killing and maiming of gays and lesbians.

Released in 1992, the song is still causing a fury of gay activists to rally against Banton's performances in the U.S. Just in the past week, his show at Detroit's Majestic Theater was cancelled and then rescheduled at the Ann Arbor venue the Blind Pig.

While some are advocating for free speech in the case of Banton's show, others - Between The Lines included - are shouting that hate and violent speech against the LGBT community should never be tolerated.

While it's true that "Boom Bye Bye" is just one song out of hundreds that Banton has recorded, it stands as a poster of the general attitude in Jamaica, where LGBT people have no rights and no mode of justice for crimes committed against them. It was even sung in celebration after a gay rights activist was killed in the country.

It doesn't matter if Banton plays the song at his Blind Pig performance (as of press time, the concert had not yet happened). It doesn't matter that most of his songs are not about hating or killing LGBT people. What matters is what Banton and singers like him stand for, and it's definitely not our rights.

Just as the LGBT community works to stop messages of intolerance in the pulpit, we need to stop them on America's stages.

"Boom Bye Bye" is more than just a song - it's a message to anti-gay advocates in support of what they do. It's one more person with a large audience preaching hatred of our community.

All hate crimes begin with hate ideas. We can't wait for a homophobic fan of Banton's music to pour acid on and shoot at gays, as the song suggests, before it's enough to make us do something about it. We can't wait for hate speech to become a hate crime before we act.

Open letter to Buju Banton’s manager Tracii McGregor:

In your open letter dated September 3, you state that you’re “setting the record straight” on “grossly inaccurate portrayals” of Buju Banton, following the recent cancellation of many of his performances.

You claim, as you have in several media reports, that Banton was only 15-years-old when he wrote the song that glorifies the murder of gay men, “Boom, Bye Bye.”

What you don’t mention is that he and your record label not only continue to profit from the sale of this song, still available for purchase on compilation albums, but that Banton has continued to perform it—in 2006 in Miami, and as recently as 2007 at the Guyana Music Festival.If the song’s “not a call to violence,” as you claim, then what exactly does Banton mean when he sings: “faggots… have to die” and that he will shoot them in the head and “burn them up bad?”

Though it’s disturbing someone so young could have enough rage to write those lyrics, Banton continues to perform and justify it nearly two decades later when he is clearly an adult man. This song is sadly reflective of the anti-gay culture in Jamaica… a culture that Banton helps to sustain through his music; a culture that resulted in the brutal murder of prominent gay Jamaicans in the last five years, including the gay rights campaigner Brian Williamson and the HIV educator Steve Harvey.Indeed, when Williamson’s body was discovered crowds gathered outside his house and started cheering and singing "Boom Bye Bye" in celebration of his killing. This and similar gay-bashing violence led Time magazine to recently ask if Jamaica is “the most homophobic place on Earth.” And it was just a few days ago that a gay British diplomat was murdered in Jamaica, in what many believe was a hate-motivated homophobic killing.

As you know, Banton himself was charged with a gay bashing attack just five years ago, though—under suspicious circumstances—he was acquitted.

While “setting the record straight,” you didn’t mention that in 2007, when some of Banton’s European concerts were threatened with cancellation, he signed the “Reggae Compassionate Act” (under his real name: Mark Myrie) agreeing (among other things) to never perform anti-gay songs. Perhaps you neglected to mention this, because just weeks later, Banton denied he ever signed it and continued to perform “Boom, Bye Bye.”

You cite, as an example of Banton’s “love for humanity,” his support for disadvantaged youth and his creation of a foundation to help HIV-positive babies.“ He has spent an entire career making amends,” you say. But curiously, you never mention what he has said or done to atone for more than 18 years of performing a song that glorifies the murder of gay people. The only quote I can find from Baton on the issue is in a Billboard.com news story
from three years ago, in which he says of gay rights groups: “**** them. I have never bashed any gays before, and if I bashed gays, I bashed them 16 years ago.”

I believe everyone has the potential to let go of whatever rage and hate they may have in their heart. If Banton is truly remorseful for performing “Boom, Bye Bye” and contributing to the anti-gay climate in Jamaica, and publicly vows to never perform the song again, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center would be happy to support an end to the boycott of his concerts.

In fact, while Banton is in the U.S., we’d like to invite him to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to meet with us and to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act again. While here, we’d love to talk to him about the impact of hate speech and to meet with some of the homeless LGBT youth who live in our transitional-living program… youth who are victims of a homophobic culture, fostered by songs like “Boom, Bye Bye.”

You say that “our war against one artist” has prevented “a more fruitful discussion that could perhaps effect real change.” The unfortunate truth is that Banton is just one Reggae singer who has glorified the murder of LGBT people and we’ve protested against the others (Capleton, Sizzla, and Beenie Man) as well. The goal, however, has never been to silence artists—it has been to put an end to music that promotes violence against LGBT people. We’d like nothing more than to have a fruitful discussion that will result in the end of such music. Will you and Buju Banton take us up on this offer, Ms. McGregor?

Lorri L. Jean, CEO
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

WRIC-8 coverage of Richmond Virginia effort to have the 9/26/2009 Buju Banton performance at the National canceled.

Peter Tatchell: Politicians and pop stars are to blame

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Some years ago, a Jamaican newspaper falsely claimed there was going to be a Gay Pride march in Kingston. Hundreds of people wielding guns, machetes, clubs and knives turned up at the alleged starting point of the march. They had come to kill the "batty men". Armed police turned up too – not to protect the gay marchers, but I believe to help murder them.

Under Jamaican law, consenting adult male homosexuality is a crime punishable by 10 years of hard labour. Paedophiles are treated more leniently. Men who sexually abuse girls in their early teens face only seven years in jail.

Not all Jamaicans are homophobic but it seems Jamaican police view all gays as criminals. They mostly refuse to protect them. Amnesty International confirms that gays and lesbians have been "beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality". Amnesty says the Jamaican police are themselves often the perpetrators of homophobic "violence and torture".

Gays taken to hospital after being beaten by homophobes risk the ordeal of hostile doctors and nurses. Some have been insulted and ridiculed by staff and made to wait nearly 24 hours for medical treatment.

Successive Jamaican Prime Ministers have failed to challenge homophobic violence. The Police Commissioner has done nowhere near enough to crack down on the violence. The killers of gays usually get away with murder. "It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban," one gay Jamaican told me.

The homophobic lynch mob mentality is worse in Jamaica than in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Not long ago, a homophobic crowd burst into a church and beat up mourners attending the funeral of a gay man.

This anti-gay hatred is inflamed by Jamaica's fire and brimstone Christian churches. The local Anglican archbishop, Drexel Gomez, is a vociferous opponent of gay human rights.

Homophobic violence is openly incited by Jamaica's leading pop stars. Some of their most popular hit tunes urge listeners to shoot, burn, stab, hang and drown queers. These songs are incitement to murder, which is a criminal offence under Jamaican law. But the government and police refuse to prosecute the singers.

It is time British and EU aid was made contingent on Jamaica repealing its anti-gay laws and protecting its citizens against homophobic violence.

Jamaica: A grim place to be gay

Homophobia was the probable motive for the murder of a British diplomat. Cahal Milmo reports on an island where hate crime is rife

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate" Home - Cancel Buju Banton "Rasta Got Hate"
The manner of Mr Terry's death provides harrowing evidence that prejudice continues to thrive. AP

When neighbours of John Terry, the British honorary consul in Jamaica's Montego Bay, were approached by a young man outside his home on Tuesday evening asking for a taxi, they assumed he was just the latest recipient of assistance from the voluntary diplomat who in his three decades on the island had become a pillar of his community.

As well as coming to the aid of hundreds of holidaying Britons, the genteel 65-year-old had served as a magistrate in St James, his well-heeled rural neighbourhood on the outskirts of the country's tourism capital, and worked for a succession of charities, including a support group for the mentally ill.

But a team of detectives were yesterday investigating whether Mr Terry's visitor that night, far from being a beneficiary of the honorary consul's help, was in fact his murderer and a killer driven by the homophobia that plagues the country which the father-of-two had grown to love so much that he made his life there.

From the "murder music" lyrics of reggae stars exhorting the murder of gay men to a member of Jamaica's governing political party who has described homosexuals as "abusive and violent" and called for gay sex to be made punishable by life imprisonment – the Caribbean island has long been beset by what campaigners describe as "institutional homophobia".

And the manner of Mr Terry's death provides harrowing evidence that such prejudice continues to thrive. At lunchtime on Wednesday, the gardener who tended the shrubs outside the New Zealand-born Mr Terry's modest bungalow found his partially clothed body lying on his bloodstained bedroom floor. He had been badly beaten about the head and body, possibly with the base of his bedside lamp, and then strangled with a cord ligature and a piece of clothing left around his neck.

On the bed was a hand-written note which described Mr Terry as a "batty man", derogatory slang for a homosexual. Signed "Gay-Man", it added: "This is what will happen to ALL gays."

Police sources said the note provided other details which could lead to the identification of Mr Terry's killer, adding that the theft of personal items such as his wallet and mobile phone looked like an inept attempt to persuade investigators that robbery was the motive for the attack. More likely, says Deputy Superintendent Michael Garrick, is that "the person who murdered Mr Terry was close to him".

The killing was brutal even by the standards of an island where gang warfare over drugs has earned it the title of one of the world's most murderous nations. If it is proven to have been motivated by hatred of homosexuals, it will be one of the most high-profile and horrific examples yet of what campaigners say is a growing trend for extreme violence against gay people in Jamaica.

Official statistics are hard to come by, but evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that at least 35 gay men have been murdered in the Caribbean country since 1997. They include Brian Williamson, the co-founder of the country's main gay rights groups, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), who was hacked to death with a machete in 2004. A crowd was seen celebrating around Mr Williamson's mutilated body.

In the last 18 months, at least 33 incidents of mob violence against homosexuals have been recorded, including an attack in Montego Bay where three supposedly gay men attending a carnival were chased in the street, and one of them was beaten about the head with a manhole cover. Elsewhere, mobs have gathered outside a gay man's funeral and chased another man to his death off a pier.

Homosexual activity remains a criminal offence in Jamaica, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment. Since 2007 Britain, the former colonial power which introduced the island's ****** laws, has granted asylum to at least five Jamaicans on the grounds that their lives had been threatened because of their sexual orientation.

Michael, a gay man in the Jamaican capital, Kingston, said the prevalence and virulence of anti-gay sentiment in the country had made his coming out as a homosexual an impossibility.

The 24-year-old, who is a member of J-FLAG but has kept his sexuality hidden from even his closest friends and family, told The Independent: "I know people who are called 'batty boy' or other taunts every time they leave home. They live in fear of being attacked. They don't know if today is the day they are going to be set upon and hacked up.

"I could not take that step. My cousins are leading members of a local church where the pastor regularly condemns gays as the devil, as subversives. If anything, we are going backwards as a nation on this issue. You cannot even feel safe reporting things to the police. I have heard too many stories of police standing aside while a gay man gets a beating, or worse. I've heard of gang members shooting a gay man in the street as some sort of rite of passage."

The literal mood music to such violence, according to campaigners, is the mushrooming of lyrics of reggae singers which glorify and lend legitimacy to homophobic sentiments. Among the performers most frequently pointed to as leading the trend is Buju Banton, a singer from one of Kingston's toughest slums, whose 1992 hit, "Boom Bye Bye", boasts of shooting gays with sub-machine guns and burning them with acid.

Another popular performer, Elephant Man, uses one song to say: "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/That's two sodomites who should be dead."

The Stop Murder Music campaign in Britain and North America has brought the issue to international prominence, attempting to apply pressure on Banton and artists including Beenie Man, Sizzla and Bounty Killer, by calling for boycotts of concerts and the withdrawal of sponsorship.

A number of singers, including Beenie Man and Sizzla, have agreed to sign an undertaking not to repeat songs containing lyrics that advocate homophobia, but the effectiveness of the agreement has been brought into question after performers, including Banton, agreed to its sentiments only to then deny ever having made any such a commitment.

The Black Music Council, a UK-based group set up to defend the singers, has accused campaigners of censorship and racism by targeting musicians who are reflecting hardline views on homosexuality held across all ranks Jamaican society, from Christian churches and Rastafarian preachers to the country's parliament.

Certainly, homophobia is openly expressed in the highest echelons. Ernest Smith, an MP for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, earlier this year used a parliamentary debate to claim that "homosexual activities seem to have taken over this country" and gay men are "abusive, violent". He added that "acts of gross indecency" between consenting gay men should be punishable by sentences of up to life imprisonment and J-FLAG, which does not disclose the location of its offices for fear of attack, should be "outlawed".

Rebecca Schleifer, of Human Rights Watch, said: "Discrimination against people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation is widespread and entrenched. It is expressed from the pulpit to the schoolroom to the parliament. It is very important that the voices of Jamaicans who suffer this discrimination and are trying to overcome it should be heard. This is not a case of powerful white countries seeking to impose their will and values on Jamaica."

Those who knew Mr Terry, whose wife had separated from him and was living in Kingston with the couple's grown-up son and daughter, confirmed that the hotel industry worker often socialised with other men, but said he had never come out as gay.

Instead, his friends focused on the unstinting decency of a lifelong volunteer in dealing with the problems of others, from Britons with lost passports to impoverished Jamaicans, whom he attempted to assist. Joy Crooks, administrator for the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill, said: "It is very sad for us to know that John has passed in such a horrifying way. It is frightening. He was a kind and caring individual and did anything he could to help the less fortunate."

Buju Got Hate - Cancel the US Tour! (small)

Buju Banton Rasta Got Hate" Tour 2009 (small)

Buju Banton Show CANCELED!

PHILADELPHIA - “We condemn this hate speech and his call to violence against gays and lesbians, as we also condemn the exploitation of our community in song for profit,” said Thom Cardwell, a board member of the Gittings Trust, a Philadelphia-based political action committee whose stated mission is “to advance equality for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

“Let us be extremely clear: Those who advocate the willful killing of others must be shunned by a just society and those companies who facilitate and profit from this hurtful conduct must also be boycotted, reprimanded, shunned and avoided to the fullest.”

SALT LAKE CITY - Urban Partners said it canceled the Urban Lounge show based on "moral grounds." "We strive for peace and understanding in our community," the release read. "We support the rights of all."

Statement from Detroit’s Majestic Theatre: “The Buju Banton concert that was to be held at the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday, September 30th has been cancelled. This was an incredibly tough decision for us both philosophically and economically. If we had known that there was any controversy surrounding this artist, we would have never even considered booking him. We do not condone any form of hate speech. We have struggled to get out of our contract for over a month to no avail. The Majestic is in essence a family-run small business. It is next to impossible to simply cancel a show without major financial consequences. Yet, that is what we have done.”

We feel that our decision to cancel the show is less about making a statement on free speech and more about continuing to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all people. Over the past month, our friends and neighbors within various LBGT groups have reached out to us and expressed deep concern over Buju’s past comments and song lyrics. For decades, The Majestic has been a haven for unique events and people from all walks of life. At this point and time, Detroiters need to stand together more than ever. We could not allow one event to create a divide. We hope that you continue your support and patronage of The Majestic.”
-The Zainea Family

CHARLESTON, SC - “Neither, All-In Entertainment or the Music Farm, were aware of this song and the suggestions that it makes,” Lowe said in a statement emailed to media. “While we do believe in first amendment rights, we do not feel this artist projects the image that All-In Entertainment and The Music Farm have spent years building. We feel it is in the best interest of our fans, friends and the community as a whole to cancel this performance.


This email is to confirm that after lengthy consideration, Gil and myself decided that we will cancel the upcoming Buju Banton concert at the Nocturnum Nightclub scheduled for the October 11th, 2009. We have been diligently speaking with the management and various activists over the past two weeks in an effort to help establish a dialogue for discussions.

We care about our local gay community. Buju did issue a statement today that we have forwarded to you today, but it doesn’t change our decision. We will continue towards positive, constructivesolutions. We regret any inconveniences this has caused to ourcommunity.

Carol Bruno/ PeopleProductions
Gil Miracle/Nocturnum

An open letter to the LGBT community, other Allies, and Humboldt County at large,

The past week has been very difficult for me, both personally and professionally. I have endured hateful attacks on my character and my family and friends have been drawn into the war of words. I would like to state unequivocally that I always have been and always will be an ally to the LGBT community and it hurts me to think that, due to this proposed event, public perception might be otherwise.

Carol Bruno, of People Productions, and I assumed that the controversy that has surrounded this performer in the past was just that – in the past. Unfortunately we found that these tensions have not been eased and the pain is still all too visceral. For this reason, we have jointly decided to cancel the scheduled performance and we encourage the community to continue the dialogue that has begun. As a new business in a struggling economy it is worth noting that this decision does not come without a painful financial cost.

I want to thank the concerned citizens who sent me thoughtful, intelligent and eloquent messages illustrating their point of view. In a fractured world it is encouraging to see our community, gay, straight, or otherwise, coalesce around themes of unity, love and equality. I am proud to be a member of this community and I am thankful for the response my business has received in the six short months we have been operating.

Please feel free to send any further correspondence to the email address below. I hope to see all of you at future events at Nocturnum.

Sincerely, Gil Miracle
High Art Productions

San Jose, California - "After reviewing Buju Banton's lyrics, I was appalled by their sheer hatred and encouragement of violence towards the gay, lesbian and transgender community," stated David Powell, co-owner of Voodoo Lounge. "There is no place for these types of incendiary remarks at Voodoo Lounge or in San Jose."


Eight Jamaican singers encourage & glorify homophobic murder:
Beenie Man
Bounty Killer
Buju Banton
Elephant Man
Sizzla Kalonji
Vybz Kartel

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