A letter to the editor:
The Miami Herald's articles regarding reggae icon Buju Banton lack perspective and are devoid of historical and cultural context. Dance-hall artists like Buju Banton discuss a number of issues using violent terminology. They talk about killing competitors, their sexual partners, informers and homosexuals in their lyrics.
However, these lyrics are merely hyperboles and are not intended to be taken literally.
Just as Bob Marley's song I Shot the Sheriff did not incite violence against sheriffs, Banton's song Boom Bye Bye does not incite violence against gays and lesbians nor is there any evidence to support that claim.
In that song written almost 20 years ago, a young macho Banton was responding to the rape of a young boy and articulating Jamaicans' outrage against this act of brutality. Furthermore, using the typical exaggerated bravado style of dance-hall lyrics, Banton expressed the popular Jamaican opinion of the day that homosexuality was a sin and should not be encouraged.
Jamaicans familiar with the Jamaican language and culture understood that the song Boom Bye Bye was only a song and not intended to be taken literally. Jamaicans are not rabid savages who kill gays and lesbians at Banton's behest.
Gay and lesbian groups focus on one extremely minuscule aspect of Banton's music and ignore the fact that Banton produces uplifting positive music reminiscent of Bob Marley. Banton is the most prolific voice of the poor oppressed masses in the Third World of his generation. His music sheds light on the many issues plaguing Jamaica like the unrelenting violence and abject poverty afflicting many Jamaicans.
-- Tasha C. Rodney, Atlanta