Barbados: LGBT calls on Buju Banton to denounce ‘Boom Bye Bye’

buju banton

(BARBADOS TODAY) — The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community has called on Jamaican dancehall recording artist Buju Banton, fresh from serving a prison sentence, to publicly denounce one of his most popular songs ahead of a performance scheduled here next year.

Early Friday morning, music promoters Fas7Star Entertainment uploaded a poster with a picture of the artist, indicating he would headline an April 27 concert called Long Walk to Freedom at the 2019 Barbados Reggae Festival.

The news comes just two weeks after the artist – real name Mark Myrie – was released after serving seven years in a US prison for a major drug conviction.

While his release has prompted celebration from many fans across the Caribbean, it has also raised new questions about his popular song, Boom Bye Bye, which openly advocated the killing of gay people in 1988.

While spokesperson for the local LGBT community, Ro-Ann Mohammed, welcomed the news that Buju would be headlining next year’s reggae festival, she admitted that “there is some merit to how some people feel with regard to the rhetoric surrounding some of his early music, particularly the Boom Bye Bye song.

“And even today, it is a song that is used to advocate the literal death of LGBT people, based on sexual orientation, gender identity . . . and that is wrong; that is fundamentally wrong on every level. Even though Buju himself wrote that song as a teenager and he doesn’t perform the song anymore, the song is still used to discriminate against LGBT people and to cause harm and to perpetuate harm against LGBT people. So I think people are very valid in feeling unsafe considering it’s a time of uncertainty,” she said.

While Mohammed said she would be attending the concert, she still called on the artist to give more clarity on his position on Boom Bye Bye 30 years on.

She said she was not aware of any protest being mounted against staging the concert.