BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Facing a string of canceled concerts and protests by angry gay activists, Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton met with several gay leaders during a tour stop Monday in San Francisco.
"We didn't expect any concrete promises," California AIDS and gay-rights advocate Michael Petrelis says. "We thought all we were going to get was a meeting, which was a good start. [We got] a promise to keep some dialogue going."
San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty set up the 40-minute meeting with Banton, whose 1988 song Boom Bye Bye advocates shooting gays in the head and setting them on fire.
"You don't make progress unless you talk to people," said Dufty, who is running for mayor.
Dufty says Banton felt pressured to meet the group because three-fourths of his U.S. stops on this tour have been called off.
"The reason why he met, it comes down to five letters: M-O-N-E-Y," says Petrelis, a nationally known blogger. "You have to make peace with your adversaries."
Hours after Monday's meeting in San Francisco, about 15 gay activists protested outside a Banton concert.
"That is just what we need. Dialogue and public pressure," Petrelis said.
Banton is set to play Miami's city-owned James L. Knight Center on Oct. 31.
"We're reaching out to the Buju Banton people," says gay activist Nadine Smith of Equality Florida. "We haven't called for a direct protest yet. We're hopeful the venue will cancel or we'll get to a place where we can celebrate progress."
Caption: Front row, Michael Petrelis and Buju Banton. Back row, concert promoter Jonathan Mack, San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Andrea Shorter, Supervisor Eric Mar, Rebecca Rolfe, Tracii McGregor. (Photo from The Petrelis Files blog used with permission of Michael Petrelis.)