Buju Banton, Jamaican Reggae star, has hit a new wave of snags in the United States once again. Protests called for the shows with Buju to be canceled and not allowed to perform in the United States due to a controversial single back in 1991 “Boom Boom Bye.” This is not the first time the singer has had protests and pulled concerts here in the states. Check out more of the story after the jump!
When reggae artist Buju Banton booked a show at the Highlands club in Hollywood in 2006, protests from the L.A. gay and lesbian community were louder than the music.
Banton, the popular Jamaican dance-hall singer, has drawn the ire of gay activist groups for years, in large part because of the violently homophobic lyrics of his 1992 single “Boom Bye Bye,” which proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head. Local black and gay advocacy groups successfully protested Banton’s show, leading to its cancellation at Highlands, though it was eventually re-booked at the Century Club.
This October, however, Banton is again booked to play a high-profile concert, at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. Some of the same activist groups are working to get Banton’s show canceled.
“We’re disappointed that even after we’ve so clearly expressed how we feel about this, it would all be ignored now,” said Thomas Soule, communications manager for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center. “To schedule him again really feels like disregard for the community.”
Banton has attempted to distance himself from the lyrics of “Boom Bye Bye” in recent years, and now presents himself as a more spiritual and Rasta-centric songwriter. To some reggae fans, pressure to prevent Banton from playing amounts to censorship, while gay activist groups see Banton’s songs as hate speech, an example of an ugly undercurrent of homophobia in some reggae music.
Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, the venue’s owner, gave this statement regarding 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.