Gay community outraged with Buju Banton performance

10/30/09 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.

comments powered by Disqus


Buju still anti gay

It might seem like suddenly Buju Banton is in the news and that "Boom Bye Bye" is also suddenly an issue. Actually, there was controversy over "Boom Bye Bye" when it was released in 1992. There have been protests against Buju over the years since then. This article summarizes UK LGBT protests against Buju Banton since 2004: Since 2004, Banton seldom performs "Boom Bye Bye." He claims he has never performed it in the U.S. But he has made homophobic remarks from the stage during performances. In this video, Banton affirms his support for killing gays in so many words (He has a fundamentalist Christian/Rastafarian religious background). I think that Buju Banton is as anti gay now as he was when he wrote "Boom Bye Bye" in 1988.


I can add some information: Mark Myrie, known as "Buju Banton," actually did apologize for "Boom Bye Bye" in 1992, after being dropped from the WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance)tour. Buju quickly retracted his apology, though. It did not go over well with his fans in Jamaica. He got death threats. One writer says that he "almost lost his life." "Boom Bye Bye" calls for gay men to be shot in the head, shot with an Uzi, have acid splashed on them and then to be burned like an old tire (or necklaced). The song has they line "they must be dead," clearly referring to gay men, repeated 10 times. Buju Banton has never repudiated the "kill LGBT" message of "Boom Bye Bye."

Continued to perform BBB / Sentencing

A couple more things: Though Buju Banton wrote "Boom Bye Bye" in 1988 at the age of 15, he continued to perform the song through 2004, when he was 31. He only stopped singing "Boom Bye Bye" under pressure from Amnesty International. He has vigorously defended "Boom Bye Bye," saying in October 2008 that it will "last a million years." Mark Myrie, known as "Buju Banton" was convicted on three drug-related charges during his second U.S. federal trial in February 2011. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 23rd, 2011 at the federal courthouse in Tampa, Florida.