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Gay activists protest upcoming Buju Banton performance at Miami’s James L. Knight Center

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

buju00-bizne-bizne19 ho Several gay-rights groups are protesting a Halloween-night concert at a city of Miami-owned hall by Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton, whose hit song Boom Bye Bye advocates shooting gays in the head and setting them on fire.

“”The message is that gay people's lives are cheap, and that harming gay people is OK," said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a statewide gay-rights group calling for the concert to be canceled. "Any time a message of violence and hatred against any group is put out there, it has to be challenged."

Banton, with homes in Tamarac and Jamaica, could not be reached for comment. His South Florida promoter, Andrew Minott of Global Vybz Entertainment, says Banton, 36, stopped singing Boom Bye Bye years ago.

"He did that song they're referring to when he was 15 years old," Minott said. "The song was forgotten about. Because they are making it a big issue, it's come to the forefront. Let sleeping dogs lie."

A YouTube video, however, shows Banton singing Boom Bye Bye during a May 2006 concert at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami. (Scroll below to watch video.)

Minott said non-Jamaicans often misunderstand the lyrics of reggae performers like Banton and Beenie Man.

"It's a dance hall phrase, `Let's murder him. Murder the boy over there,' '' Minott said. "It's not literal. It's figurative."

Minott has paid a $3,000 deposit to rent the city-owned James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami for the Oct. 31 concert. Scheduled to share the bill with Banton: Beenie Man, whose song titles include [Batty Man Fi Dead] Queers must be killed. Amid similar protests in 2004, MTV bounced Beenie Man from a concert during the Video Music Awards in Miami.

Last month, concert promoters Live Nation and AEG canceled a Banton tour with stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston after the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center launched a Facebook campaign against the singer.

"Thousands of people have responded with e-mails and calls. It has shot around the Internet," said Smith, adding that shows have also been called off in Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.

C.J. Ortuño, executive director of SAVE Dade, the county's largest gay-rights group, said he wants the Miami performance to be canceled, too.

"We're working with a couple of groups to find out why a city-owned property is allowing a musician that actually promotes, and creates, hate music," he said.

A Miami assistant city attorney said the city must allow Banton to perform because of his First Amendment right, just as Cuban dance band Los Van Van were permitted to play the old Miami Arena in 1999. Thousands protested outside the arena that night.

Buju Banton reggae agreement June 2007 Banton was charged with helping beat six gay men in Jamaica in 2004. A judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. In 2007, Banton signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, in which he pledged to stop singing songs preaching hate against gays.

He later denied signing the statement -- which bears the signature of Mark Myrie, his legal name.

Earlier this week, Toyota of Hollywood told three of its car salesmen to withdraw their support of the concert. The men hoped to meet prospective customers at the show, said Clifton Budhan, one of the three.

"Instead of getting calls from people who need to buy cars, I got calls from people saying we need to pull out of it," Budhan said.

By withdrawing their sponsorship, Budhan and the other salesmen lost "a substantial amount of money," he said.

“I'm just trying to put my name out there," Budhan said. "I thought it was going to be OK to advertise. But I got calls from people that we are sponsoring people being killed in the United States and England."

Minott said gay activists threatened to picket Toyota of Hollywood if the salesmen didn't withdraw their support.

"Everyone is so scared of the financial retribution," Minott said. "Leave all judgment up to God. Read the Bible. I'm a Christian. If a man lay with a man, you can fill in the blank."

He says the gay activists are "being very unfair'' to the singer.

"What happened to our First Amendment rights, freedom of speech?" Minott said.


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Please note that Buju Banton was NOT acquitted of the charges. The charges were dropped by the judge so he was never tried on the matter and the evidence was never presented before a jury. See Time journalist, Tim Padgett, article on the matter (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1182991,00.html) where he interviews one of the alleged victims of Buju Banton. The article further notes the judges comments to Banton directly.

Thanks to Toyota of Hollywood for pulling out as sponsors of this event.

Reggae music can be so wonderful. Earlier today, I listened to Bob Marley's "Positive Vibrations." What a great song. Yesterday I watched Toots & The Maytals sing "Reggae Got Soul" on YouTube.

The other day I heard a reggae song that was new to me, Barrington Levy's "Murderers." Fortunately, it was not a song about murdering LGBT people. This is a great song, too.

Unfortunately, when Buju Banton and Beenie Man sing reggae it becomes "murder music." Such a shame.

It looks like this concert is going to go on. Buju and Beenie will have their freedom to promote hate. Others will probably use their freedom of speech to do an informational picket of the concert.

If I lived in Miami, I certainly wouldn't be doing any business with any of the sponsors and I wouldn't be listening to that radio station.

Will thanks. I updated the story.

Rob, here are your Kozlowski-type buddies attacking a Jamaican Reggae star for lyrics that a non-Jamaican would require a translator to understand. These people have nothing better to do with their time...

There is no freedom without responsability for how you use that freedom and making music designed to inspire violence towards any minority aint freedom or music...Its just plain wrong.

It's okay for the gay community to make an uproar when it comes to these types of things. Yet, where are they when other groups are discriminated against? Boycotting companies and spreading the word via the Internet to cancel shows, only when it's convenient for the gay community. When hispanics or black are insulted or misrepresented in anything, where's the outcry then? Gays can say whatever they want, yet no one else has that right. It's not fair. Shame on all people who support this one-sided argument/protest.

It is amazing the a group that should advocate freedom of choice, freedom of speech and send a strong message of live and let live with equal rights for all, censors the free speech of someone they disagree with. Is perez hilton a member of the leadership team at this organization? Look at the damage that moron has done to the gay community.

A recent video BUJU BANTON FIRE BURN BATTY was posted on YouTube September 2, 2009, in which you can hear Banton spewing hate against gays, including "There is no end to the war between me and f**gots...!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46PASiOjdP4.

As a gay black man of Jamaican heritage who lives within a 10-minute walk of the James L. Knight Center, I feel that this concert is a personal affront and an actual physical threat to people like me. This is not just a First Amendment issue. Banton and Beenie Man are bringing their message of hate and violence against gays into MY neighborhood, and inciting several thousand listeners to follow their lead.

I am sad about what beenie man and buju doing this is bad for me as a caribbean singer they should never bring up hate crime music about gays we are all human and it is what we chose that make us speacil and if a guy love a guy it his life and how he want to live it and same for the ladies and tran god love everyone and you guys too

Like most leftists it is clear the gay community is only for freedom of speech if it is speech they like.

I did not know this concert was occurring until know. Thanks to the gay protest, I am now aware of it, and I will enthusiastically attend. Thanks gays!

"Like most leftists it is clear the gay community is only for freedom of speech if it is speech they like."

Yeah, most minority groups embrace lyrics calling for their liquidation.

You're an idiot.

"I did not know this concert was occurring until know. Thanks to the gay protest, I am now aware of it, and I will enthusiastically attend. Thanks gays!"

What can one say about this fellow but trash attracts trash.

Way to go Bubu Banton, nothing says success like a second home in Tamarac!

South FloriDUH - You are as bad as Buju with your racist garbage. I oppose Buju Banton for spewing hateful lyrics that dehumanize people. I oppose you for the same reason. No Homophobia. No Racism. We must always speak out no matter who is being dehumanized.

apparently the trolls have settled on the new GOP point of false equivalency as an effective retort. here's a hint: it's not gonna work any better than claiming you shouldn't vote for Obama because he's popular.

anyway--the city has to rent to whoever has the cash. period. but that doesn't mean everyone else can't protest the appearance outside.

I'm gay. Sure couldn't make out any hate lyrics in the 45-second video....

I will tell you what happened to our first ammendment rights- they are OURS. Buju is NOT an American citizen so he doesn't have ANY rghts as a US Citizen. Would we let anyone else from another country come visit the US and sing about killing a group of people? Of course not- but because it's only GAY people, it's ok. You don't have to agree with someone being gay to know in your sould that it's not right to promote killing anyone.

I am a born Jamaican, and am one that oppose hate crimes to humanity..but what happen to freedom of speech, and by the way Buju songs was from his early years of his career, he has mature and grown and now realize how this has brought controversy..So how about my rights to see and hear my favorite artists..Beenie man/Buju/Wayne Wonder..Don't I have a right too..We need to called up all the radio station and let it be known that we on the other side need to have a say in this matter..

Funny the double standards. Can you imagine the outcry if a country western singer sang lyrics that suggested killing Blacks or Hispanics? Or an Arab singer had lyrics that advocated killing Jews?

Yet it is perfectly OK for this guy to spew his venom. Or, to be fair, for hip hop performers to advocate killing police (or "hoes" or Whites whatever group they are targeting that day).

Just odd, that's all, who you can pick on and not pick on.

That said, I'm OK with him using the facility. He's first amendment protected. I'll just NOT frequent the sponsors nor travel to Jamaica, or encourage anyone to travel to Jamaica.

Okay, so Buju didn't actually sing that song in the video, the crowd was singing initally, he went into a completely different song. My question is though what is GLAD trying to accomplish by taking this man's bread, he stop singing this song, and people who actually hurt gays don't need a song to do it. I think GLAD's approach is wrong, completely wrong. Choose your battles wisely, When you cry WOLF! too many times, people usually stop listening. Buju isn't preaching hate at his concerts to reduce it to that is very petty. I respect gays and love Buju's music at the same time, he is an artist with a biggest message. He should be allowed to share it.

I would just like to say to Minott that the U.S. does support Freedom of Speech, but does NOT promote hate speech and fighting words.

we need to focus on the real issue at hand which is how to improve the economy and stop worring about something that will never change. IMO if everyone was gay how would we populate the earth. two men can't make a baby.

He was 15-years-old when he made that song. He was a mere boy imitating those around him. Since realizing the seriousness of his message, he has discontinued to voice any opinion he may (or may not) have of gay persons. As well, he has consciously steered his music towards a more loving path - not an easy feat in the dancehall culture - and received much critcism from his very own people for "selling out".
As a woman, I can definitely understand the rage one may have towards any artist who has ever promoted the harm of those who are already targeted for attacks; however, as one other commentor has already said: choose your battles wisely.


@ Mark: "..racist garbage.."? Really? ROFLMAO! No, sunshine, I'm not in the least bit racist, au contraire(you haven't seen the colour of my skin and you have no clue about my ethnic/social background and/or upbringing).
Point: I don't give a rat's bum what colour your skin is or from what country you are. I care about the quality of the spirit, the integrity, wisdom, education, manners, consideration & respect of others, love, etc., and a whole bunch of other stuff, which apparently this BooHoo character and his promoter don't--stick that in your hookah pipe and smoke it!
I challenge you to translate into readable English and post any of the lyrics of his "songs" and please point out where they speak of peace, love, brotherhood, respect, spirituality, and [insert anything positive & uplifting here] etc etc.. (good luck, you'll need it!)

Wow, just wow that hate like this is still around. Guess it just surprises me coming from the US west coast.

I would just love to have the freedom of speech to spew hatred and your demise to thousands of people about your . Bring on the venues, add a little soulful music here and there and its a winning combination
Get it people, if it ain't you, you don't know how it feels.
Sadly even the KKK get free publicity every now and then.

good for these 2 artists.enough is enough with all these gays everywhere!

All of this is bull, he sang that song when he was 15 years old when that was the in thing in Jamaica. It has been 17 years since that song was recorded, he has since seen the error and has stopped singing that song, so what is the problem. In America we have what is called freedom of speech, and what about the straight person like myself who see the gay people kissing on tv, that offends me, but am I boycotting the stations that brings it on, no I just change the channel. Gay people only speak out when it is to their benefit, what about the other minorities they do not stand up for the. Let that man make his bread and let sleeping dogs lie.

Time for gays to take Jamaica off of their travel itinerary?

For crying out loud let the rass music play. Let bygones be bygones. It's about time the gay community lend their protests to more pressing and worthwhile issues. This kind of confrontation makes no sense, these gay riff raffs has nothing better to do.

Im attendin the concert very lovely and promoting it... these gays wanna take over.i love buju song


Thanks for getting Global Vybz Entertainment promoter Andrew Minott on record with his quote "Leave all judgment up to God. Read the Bible. I'm a Christian. If a man lay with a man, you can fill in the blank."

I may be misunderstanding his intent, but he seems to be in full agreement with Buju Banton and Beenie Man about executing LGBT people.

TO TruthHurtz: You ask, "Where are gays when others are like blacks and hispanics are discriminated against?" The LGBT community stood side-by-side the black marchers during the civil rights movement, long before gays started fighting for their own equal rights. Members of the LGBT community have ALWAYS fought discriminiation and inequality whenever and wherever it reared its ugly head. Try another argument!

Replace the word Fa**ot with the word Ni**er and we'd be having a totally different argument and the concert would have already been cancelled!

Ask yourself "What would Bob Marley do?" He being the granddaddy of reggae. He was a prophet, a preacher and a lover of love, not a hater of gays or anyone .


I like that WWBMD? Carefully or you'll make the WWJD people angry.


Ok, fine he has sang the song. It's over. Why don't you invite him to one of your gay meetings or something and let him speak his mind. Have you thought of that. Maybe he is beyond the song. Have any of your tried to reach out to him? Probably not. It seems that you'd rather the fight then seek the peace and love that you preach. Go ahead invite him to a place to have a dialogue, (I dare you)!

When someone uses music to preach hatred, it speaks about them personally. When you sing a song, you are responsible for the lyrics. Music gives much more power to words than the words would have had without the music. If it doesn't matter, why doesn't Buju sing stuff extolling the KKK, or governments who oppress blacks? This is not hyperbole--you are responsible for your actions. Buju is responsible for his. Shame on him!

This is why I don't get mixed up in activism, and movements. MISINFORMATION.

FIRST OFF. Banton's Song that is sited, came out MANY years ago. Banton HAS written many positive songs in his career and continues to. To say that a concert with Banton at will be all about hating Gays and killing them is simply untrue.
There has already been an agreement NOT to have that message sent at his concerts, so WHAT is the problem?
The goal is to stop individuals from promoting violence through music, and that's what has been obtained. However, to attempt to have the whole show shut down is disenfranchisement. That is simply wrong. To do so is violating the rights of other to be FREE. So what is being said is, that Banton is not allowed to sing at all? How is that American?
Why is the automatic response to shut him down? Like said before, open up a dialogue.
If he says he won't sing about it and he does, fine him, and make all that money go towards a LGBT that fights for their rights.
Turn a negative into a positive people, and think for yourself, before you swallow what other's dish you.
I love Banton's music, but I will not listen to music that promotes violence period. You can appreciate an artist's music, you don't have to agree with everything he has said in his music.

I can't believe that the promoter is actually admitting that he is a "christian" and "fill in the blanks". True Christians don't promote
hatred, violence or the love of money and material wealth. Being subjective about the bible and quoting from it can always work for whatever agenda you have. Is Minott also not "working on the Sabath, eating shellfish and
committing pre-marital sex or sexual thoughts"???
then if he does, Fill in the blanks!
I respect anyone's attempt at making music and freedom of speech, but when that right infringes on another's right and promotes hate and possible injury, then I feel that individual has lost that right. He hasn't changed his mind, he was involved in a 2004 incident and still sings the hateful song as recently as 2006. People are suggesting the Gay/Lesbian community should forgive him and speak to him allowing him to clarify his views,
how Christian like! It is funny that a community that has been discriminated for SO LONG, is one of the communities that continue to discriminate. Charity starts at home, actions speak louder than words. Reggae has always to me been a music that brings people together, not
divisive. I can only hope that this enlightment will actually help the division, not
make it worse.

@ David Wylie: I'm going to borrow your quote and add a little something; hope you don't mind.

Replace the singer with a redneck white man, switch the word Fa**ot for the word Ni**er and we'd be having a totally different argument and all the concerts would have been cancelled already and the singer chastized & ousted from the music industry and the African-American community would be up in arms and Rev.Sharpton, et al, would be filing lawsuits left and right...

"we need to focus on the real issue at hand which is how to improve the economy and stop worring about something that will never change. IMO if everyone was gay how would we populate the earth. two men can't make a baby."

Ummm, I'm certain we can handle two issues at the same time...like we did simultaneously with the civil rights movement, Vietman War, women's movement, and sexual revolution during the 60's.

And, as for hatred against gays never changing...I'm sure people from the eras before the 1950's thought the same thing with African-Americans. Remember Jim Crow and KKK?

How quickly we forget.

And fear not...there's still pleeenty of straight people out there to make babies (straight and gay babies, mind you) so that our planet will still be populated.

Ok seeing as though most of you people here are ignorant especially the gay community who are opposing the upcoming concert. The clip posted shows no hatred or any talk against gays. As a Jamaican i can tell you what happened in the video. He only said the words BOOM BYE BYE twice and the CROWD filled in the lyrics. Then he went into a DIFFERENT SONG at 0:18 called " HOW THE WORLD A RUN", which is a song about everything wrong in the world with the violence, how people are getting richer and people are getting poorer, how we should b positive role models to the children, and bad politics. So if your going to post a video or even fight against reggae/dancehall have your facts. The reason the song "BOOM BYE BYE" was written was against an incident that a man did in fact rape a little child, so that is where the anger the hate talk came in from. LOW MI ARTIST!

Here is the clip to the 2ND song at 0:18

Buju Banton is getting exactly what the Law of Karma is administering unto him… you preach hate – hate will be coming back at ya… so to Mr. Banton and supporters… his words of hatred and a call to kill homosexuals has set a karmic response into motion – cause & effect – any segment of society also has the right to call him out and protest his shows… Buju now has to eat the seeds of hatred he himself planted…

So Era2012 that means that you are supporting a man who raped a little boy because like i said before that is the history behind that song. Get your facts straight and learn about the songs before you pass judgement.

It's not ok when you are promoting dead and killing people, in Jamaica ppl will kill you for being gay and noboby will say anything , they will murder you they will cut you in pieces and they will be happy about it, In America you are ok u still discriminated but can still fight, But when u start allowing ppl from jamaica to came here and sing music to stereotype a group, thats not right!!. AMERICA AUTHORITIES OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!!.

NOTE TO GAYS: Leave Buju alone!! let him sing. you know he has many, many songs & you gays focus still on this song from a decade ago.Get on with your life I stop being hypocrites.. So I guess it's ok whe 3 gays grab a man, beat him & RAPE him so that he kill himself. Buju has a wife & family & he deseves to make a living like anyone else. A lot of people find gays to be discusting but we don't go to their jobs & make trouble or try to stop them from shopping in stores or mall. The Gay community is creating a war & creating trouble for the world. SHUT UP already & live your lives in a posative light. it's just 1 song out of hundreds. GET ON with you lives already. You are also taking away the rights of many many people who enjoy seeing their favorite artists. Should we as nongays create a war of protest against Elton John of Lance Bass. Life is a two way street. You are making the views of gays a one way street to a dead end with your hypocrite ideas. YOU ARE CREATING MORE HATE THAN THE 1 SONG YOU CRY ABOUT

There has been an ongoing saga of 'THE GAYS AGAINST BUJU BANTON" Buju has a song "Boom byebye". the gay community has made it about themselves and protested for years against Mr Banton & sometimes sucessfully causing his concerts to be canceled. The song was written in 1991 in response to a man who raped a little boy. The gay community has thrown away the boys life and made it about themselves, accusing Mr. Banton of promoting people to kill all gays. I myself have never heard of any gay man killed because Buju said to do it. This song was written over 15 years ago. Is there nothing else in their life that they can focus on? There are 14 million songs in circulation(THIS IS 1 SONG) and they have made it their life's mission to take away the rights of Buju to make a living, people who work for him and many, many fans who want to see their favorite artist. So the question is should we as straight people protest & cause trouble for gay people at their jobs, in the grocery store,malls etc..?? What about the gay Broward Sheriff who for 2-3 years forced illigal male immigrants to perform sex acts with him. Or the man who got raped by a group of gays till he was forced to kill himself because he could not live with the trauma that happened to him. These are just 2 examples of their hypocritic ways. I wonder why they have nothing to say about those subjects. We in the reggae cummunity know well of this situation, I am asking all of you to pass this on to all you know so we can have our side. The organizers of Buju protests are stratton pollitzer of equality florida& Steve Rothaus of miami herald. I encurage you to drop them an email with your thoughts at stratton@eqfl.org & srothaus@miamiherald.com

Thank you, A reggae luver,Renee PLEASE PASS ON & LETS STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHTS

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