Jamaica/USA: Buju Banton has US tour canceled by promoters

7 September 2009
The concert promoters Live Nation and AEG canceled shows by the Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton after protests from gay rights advocacy organisations over the singer’s homophobic song lyrics, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Buju Banton’s scheduled shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston were reported to be canceled.

After reports that Buju Banton signed the “reggae compassionate act” in 2007, a pledge to refrain from anti-gay songs and statements, he denied having signed it. Buju Banton was tried and acquitted on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men in Jamaica in 2004.

To some reggae fans, pressure to prevent Buju Banton from playing amounts to censorship, while gay activist groups see Banton’s songs as hate speech — an example of an ugly undercurrent of homophobia in some reggae music.

Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, the venue’s owner, gave this statement regarding Buju Banton’s concert:

“We are aware of the concerns that were brought to our attention this week with regards to Buju Banton’s October appearance. We are reaching out to the artist, artist management and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center to satisfactorily resolve the issues that have been presented.”

Buju Banton has a long-standing reputation for inciting anti-gay sentiment. His 1992 single ‘Boom Bye Bye’ proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head with an Uzi, among other things.

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean stated:
“I hope this victory sends a deafeningly loud message to other promoters and concert venues that singers who glorify violence against LGBT people, or any group of people, should never be welcomed. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to pressure promoters to do the right thing; people like Banton should never have been booked in the first place.”


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Los Angeles Times – 28 August 2009:

‘Buju Banton’s October show draws ire of L.A. gay community’

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