Gay community outraged with Buju Banton performance listen10/30/09 Arielle Stevenson
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:
Buju Banton’s song “Boom Bye Bye” was released in 1992 and is considered to be highly offensive to those in the gay community. Banton’s performance at Ybor’s Cuban Club Friday night has caused a massive reaction from the local gay community. Banton has apologized since the song was released.
Carrie West, President of GaYBOR, Ybor’s gay rights group, says that Banton’s music promotes violence towards gays and women. West says an apology isn’t enough and he doesn’t want Banton’s show here.
Banton’s promoter, Peter Samms, who goes by “Mr. CC”, says that Banton doesn’t perform “Boom Bye Bye” anymore and is baffled by the amount of attention it is getting now, 17 years after it was released.
Scott Sparr books and promotes gay events in the southeast. He says that while the Cuban Club has been put between a rock and hard place with Banton’s show, they should not go forward with the performance.
This isn’t the first time Banton’s performances have met controversy. Nationwide concert promoter Live Nation canceled their tour booked with Banton amidst backlash from the gay-community this year. Friday’s show was originally booked at the Ritz in Ybor, but they too canceled the show due to strong opposition. Patrick Manteiga is on the Cuban Club’s board of directors and says the Cuban Club has made changes to Banton’s contract to prevent any hateful speech towards the gay community at the concert.
The song in question, Boom Bye Bye, was written when Baton was 15 years old, responding to an event in his hometown in Jamaica where a man raped a young boy.
Angie B volunteers on WMNF’s Carribean Cruise radio show. She says the song has been taken out of context.
Brian Winfield is the communications director for Equality Florida, Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights organization. He says, Boom Bye Bye isn’t the only time Banton has made reference to violence against gays.
But Banton’s promoter says the sudden uprising towards Banton is being used to get publicity for the gay community.
Howard Simon, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, says that people should speak out on issues they are concerned about, but the government should not be asked to censor.
Melanie Migon is a hostess and manager and Ybor’s Streetcar Charlie’s restaurant. Migon says that Banton should expect a large outcry from GaYBOR tonight.
WMNF held a meeting today in response to the controversy and released the following statement:
WMNF condemns the promotion or inciting of violence by anyone against anyone else. Although we try to look at an artists larger body of work, if they continue to promote violence or refuse to acknowledge their impact in this regard, we have to consider their mission in music to be in direct conflict with WMNF’s mission of promoting peace and understanding between all people.
Buju Banton is playing tomorrow night in Miami and large protests are expected there.