LGBT Community Calls on Buju Banton to Publicly Denounce ‘Boom Bye Bye’

BARBADOS TODAY — The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community has called on Jamaican dancehall recording artiste Buju Banton, fresh from serving a prison sentence, to publicly denounce one of his most popular songs ahead of a performance scheduled here next year.

Music promoters of Fas7Star Entertainment uploaded a poster with a picture of the artiste, indicating he would headline an April 27 concert called Long Walk to Freedom at the 2019 Barbados Reggae Festival.

The news comes just two weeks after the artiste was released after serving seven years in a US prison for a major drug conviction.

While his release has prompted celebration from many fans across the Caribbean, it has also raised new questions about his popular song, Boom Bye Bye, which openly advocated the killing of gay people in 1988.

Spokesperson for the local LGBT community, Ro-Ann Mohammed, welcomed the news that Buju would be headlining next year’s reggae festival.

She admitted that “there is some merit to how some people feel with regard to the rhetoric surrounding some of his early music, particularly the Boom Bye Bye song.

“And even today, it is a song that is used to advocate the literal death of LGBT people, based on sexual orientation, gender identity . . . and that is wrong; that is fundamentally wrong on every level. Even though Buju himself wrote that song as a teenager and he doesn’t perform the song anymore, the song is still used to discriminate against LGBT people and to cause harm and to perpetuate harm against LGBT people. So I think people are very valid in feeling unsafe considering it’s a time of uncertainty,” she said.

While Mohammed said she would be attending the concert, she still called on the artiste to give more clarity on his position on Boom Bye Bye 30 years on.

“I think it would still be great if Buju himself was to make a statement against the song, even though he doesn’t perform it anymore and he signed that agreement with other dancehall artiste not to promote hate or to promote violence against LGBT people. I think it would still be great if he would make some sort of statement, distancing himself from that song and that message because his portfolio after that song has been one of love and inclusion and tolerance and promoting acceptance and uplifting black people,”said Mohammed.

She said she was not aware of any protest being mounted against staging the concert.

“Personally, I will be at the concert, but also I don’t think there is any movement to prohibit him from performing. I don’t think there’s going to be a major community backlash or anything.”

The LGBT spokesperson, who identifies as queer, said she does not believe her decision to attend the concert should be viewed as a double standard, arguing that one song did not define Buju Banton.

“It’s a double-edged sword, but I think its something you see a lot within Caribbean culture. That dichotomy of loving the artiste, although everything the artiste promotes is not always a hundred per cent great.

“I am a queer person, but I am also a Caribbean person and this particular artiste has been very instrumental to my development as a Caribbean person, and is somebody’s artistery I enjoy and I feel lack that one particular song is a small fraction of what he represents,” she said.

But she added: “I would have a problem, however, if I were to go to the concert and he did perform the song.

Mohammed also called on key stakeholders in the music industry to be more mindful of the messages being sent in the songs they play, like Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye, which is still a hit at some events.

“I don’t think there’s any way to play that song and not support the message. The message of the song is clear; that LGBT people deserve death and that is by no means okay. That’s a complete violation of human rights on every basis. It’s not okay to play that song.

“I think the onus is on party promoters, deejays and radio announcers, not to play that song and to take a stand against the messages of violence against LGBT people. It is not just with that song, but with all homophobic songs because that is not an intrinsic part of our culture. I think the onus is on [Buju] as the artiste to speak out against it when it is played and when people use that to bolster their arguments against LGBT people,” she said.

Co-director of FAS7STAR entertainment, Al Gilkes, who said he was not yet in a position for a comment, as he was still in the process of finalizing arrangements for the concert.

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9 Comments

  • What?? Lady? Yuh nuh have nutn bettef fi duh wid yuh time?? That was 30 years ago.. Grow the hell up.. If he wrote is and owned why should he play hypocrite to make you feel better about yourself??? You are wrong on many levels.. And if unnuh nuh like weh him deh sing bout yuh have di right not to listen to it.. If you think that that song is problem in the large scale of the problems that black people face in today’s world, you may need to wipe the brown stuff from ur eyes..
    kmrt

  • Get a blasted life. Buju doesn’t owe you or the lgbt community a damn thing. I suggest you stop looking for validation from others and learn to live with the lifestyle choices you’ve made. Stop harassing Buju with your unnecessary damands for universal acceptance.

  • Culture is culture,religion is religion,where in the world world LGBTQ come from…stop trying to force people to accept what they dont,i have freedom to talk about what i dont like,what is not religious or cultural right;LGBTQ.

  • The KLUE KLUX KLAN created this group of people to fight black people on its struggle some ting has to be done if not it’s going to be serious atrocities taking place across the land

  • Oddly, I get what she’s saying. But him distancing himself from the song doesn’t change that it’s still played worldwide by those persons that hate gays or otherwise. The song will still be out, still causing whatever mayhem it is now. So asking him to denounce it after he signed off stating he doesn’t condone violence in any way. You guys want more? When will it end.

  • Buju Banton is now the most profound reggae artist now day. He is to me a prophet and is and has always spoke the truth. The LGBTQ people are lost and need to stop that devil foolishness and be who God made them to be. If we are made in the image and likeness of God and He is not of that, where dis they get this unrighteous behavior from. Well I will tell you. From the Devil thats who. Bleesings Buju and Jah Rastafari

  • What you do in the privacy of your bedroom is your business.
    Why you people continue to seek attention concerning your life style.

    I think something rest squarely on your conscience.

    You know something is just wrong to dabble in the septic pit.

  • Lady if you’re tired PLEASE go and SLEEP..Apologize for WHAT? ??? Let the man be in peace…

Comments are closed.

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