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Buju Banton: “No End To the War Between Me and Gays”

Jim Burroway

October 16th, 2009
Back row, L - R: Buju's PR rep Jonathan Mack, SF Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Andrea Shorter of Equality California, Eric Mar, Rebecca Rolfe and Tracii McGregor of Gargamel Music. Front row, LGBT activist Michael Petrelis and Buju Banton.

Back row, L - R: Buju's PR rep Jonathan Mack, SF Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Andrea Shorter of Equality California, Eric Mar, Rebecca Rolfe and Tracii McGregor of Gargamel Music. Front row, LGBT activist Michael Petrelis and Buju Banton.

So much for dialog. Buju Banton, speaking by telephone to a Jamaican talk show, completely disavowed his meeting with three California LGBT activists, saying he will not “surrender” to the group’s proposals, claiming they would contradict his “religion and culture”:

“This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot’ and it’s clear. The same night after I met with them (gay associates), they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me?” claimed Banton who phoned Mutabaruka’s Cutting Edge talk-show on Wednesday in order to clarify his meeting in the US gay capital. “I owe dem nothing, they don’t owe I nothing.”

…”Them come with demands which I and I a go flop dem right now, because give thanks to my culture and upbringing I coulda never endorse them things. I can’t sell myself out, neither would I do that in a thousand years,” he continued. “I love everyone in the world. I don’t love no special group from another group. There are other needy organisations out there.”

It looks like Peter Tatchell was right. J-FLAG is was skeptical about the meeting as well.

[Hat tip: GLBTQ Jamaica]

Comments

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----
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

“I love everyone in the world.”

Oh, the irony.

AJD
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

There’s no irony. His “love” is the same as that of fundamentalist Christians or the “love” that a physically abusive husband and father feels for his wife and children.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

I have a theory about this.

I went to Jamaica 18 years ago. We had a very nice time in a very different kind of place. Food was not so hot, and there were always people trying to get us to buy pot or hash– even in the middle of the ocean. It was also educational– imagine how much residual racism you have to deal with when two very large black men come up to you on a dark street and ask you if you want to buy drugs?

About those men– Jamaica was an island full of the most hunky and beautiful black men I had ever seen. Nearly Every man, even old ones, had a stunning body. Eye Candy Island. Or maybe, Porn Island.

I can’t help but wonder if this bigot’s attitude is a direct reflection of an island-and-culture wide effort to repress all male homosexual thoughts, which on that island, I, at least, was having in plenty. (fortunately, for my partner, I’m a one man man). I can’t imagine living there, surrounded by a great deal of nearly Hellenic masculine beauty, and not thinking about it.

A lot.

And if I, my island, and my culture, were just a little bit homophobic to begin with, that might be enough to really scare the hell out of me.

As we know, it is not an unusual pattern. homophobia is not the fear of homosexuality. It is the fear that you, yourself, are homosexual.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

“As we know, it is not an unusual pattern. homophobia is not the fear of homosexuality. It is the fear that you, yourself, are homosexual.”

Sorry, left out two words:

As we know, it is not an unusual pattern. homophobia is not MERELY the fear of homosexuality. It is ALSO the fear that you, yourself, are homosexual.

Stefano A
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/Entertainment/html/20091015T200000-0500_161899_OBS__J_FLAG_NOT_IMPRESSED.asp

When J-FLAG maintains such negativist attitudes toward dialogue and constantly undermines any outside efforts of assistance, it’s difficult to expect any progress through such meetings as the one in San Francisco.

Lindoro Almaviva
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

Do all Jamaicans sound this uneducated? I mean, English is not my first language and my grammar is a hell of a lot better than his.

Jim Burroway
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

Londoro,

I would be very careful with that assumption. Jamaica has developed its own dialect of English that has its own rules of spelling and grammar, much the same way that Cajun and Haitian Creole are distinct dialects of French.

More info here.

Burr
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

Seriously, he sounds like an even bigger moron than the usual hater.

Pepper-sprayed the concert? Is that serious?

werdna
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

Jamaican patois is just different than standard US or UK English (and the way most people in both of those countries talk varies pretty widely, too). Many Jamaicans speak excellent standard English as well.

David Malcolm
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

Maybe Dobson should see if he can get him signed to a Christian label? I’m sure Forefront would take him ;) Maybe INO.

The guy’s a moron, I don’t know why anyone would even bother talking to a guy this far gone? What they should be doing is waiting to find him on his knees in a bathroom stall.

SamK
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

Buju Banton grew up in a poor section of Jamaica, one of 15 children. The area where he lived, Kingston’s Salt Lane, is described as being full of conservative Christian churches. You will find that Buju Banton has converted to the Rastafarian religion and they too are homophobic. Like the conservative Christian churches that Buju Banton grew up around, the Rastafarians follow the rules in Leviticus in the Bible which call for not eating pork or shellfish and which also call for the execution of gay men. Rastafarians do not eat pork or shellfish. Probably most conservative Christians do eat pork or shellfish.

You can read an important article about Buju Banton in this Time Magazine article: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1182991,00.html “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?” Britain has given asylum to a number of Jamaican gay men because of the extreme homophobia and violence in Jamaica. This article also has an account of an alleged armed assault on six gay men in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2004. Buju Banton was later arrested for this assault, but it never came to trial. Buju claims that he was “cleared” of the assault charges. http://www.gargamelmusic.com/artists_buju_time4.html In actuallity the case never came to trial. No evidence was ever presented to a jury. Buju was neither “cleared” nor “acquitted” of the charges.

Buju Banton is a very homophobic man. He comes from a country which is very homophobic. Buju’s religious background and beliefs, fundamentalist Christian and Rastafarian, are extremely homophobic. I believe that he believes that the Old Testament of the Bible requires that homosexuals be executed. What he says in YouTube video “Elephant Man Buju Banton Shabba Ranks Boom Bye Bye” is that he thinks homosexuals should be executed, in so many words.

We need to keep the pressure on during the final two and a half weeks of his current tour. See http://cancelbujubanton.wetpaint.com/

Emily K
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

His being Rasta explains his use of English. They have their own dialect.

Howie
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

To bow to any pressure from lgbt groups would make a dancehall artist look weak in the the eyes of his fans and the industry which prides itself sometimes at great embelleshments to have stood up to the Stop Murder Music campaign in the UK and Europe.
Hence comments from Sizzla and others that suggest that they will not bow to “nasty people”
Many artists earn their main income from tours in the US and elsewhere and there was a belief that the SMM would not take off as it did in Europe.

NOTICE THAT THE OTHER DANCEHALL ARTISTS INCLUDING OTHER SMM ACTS LIKE SIZZLA AND CAPLETON TO NAME A FEW HAVE BEEN VERY QUIET DURING BUJU’S TOSSLE WITH THE AMERICAN LGBT COMMUNITY.

This is very instructive as Buju has been alone in this I feel the other acts fear there earnings and reputations may also be damaged from joining the discussions.

The level of scorn that is implied in the anti gay statements fits pefectly into the anti gay sentiments on the ground whether those sentiments are real or just clandestine gays hiding theit true selves is another matter which I have addressed and will continue to address on my blog.
(see labels on situational homosexuality and down low lifestyles)
http://glbtqjamaica.blogspot.com/search/label/Down%20Low%20Lifestyles

http://glbtqjamaica.blogspot.com/search/label/Situational%20Homosexuality

There is more to this so called opposition than meets the eye friends and those issues also need to be carefully elicidated if we are to make any meaningful moves towards tolerance as a nation.

It’s a loooonnnng run ahead.

H

Matt
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Got ill reading the comments on the Jamaica Observer website.

Many outrageously claim that all gay murders are done by other gays who are jealous/jilted lovers, etc. When a crowd of people beat to death a gay man, how exactly is that a crime of passion among gays? When a father incites a crowd to kill his own son, how is that pleasing to “God”?

Weird that in other countries pot makes people mellow and loving (Woodstock, anyone?). I really don’t understand Rastafarian beliefs, but the explanations here–it’s interpretation of Leviticus/connection to Fundamentalist Christianity–is very revealing.

e2c
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

I think…. that slams on Jamaicans, their dialects (including patois) and religious beliefs are not going to help anyone’s cause, no matter how good that cause is. (And I think it’s a worthy one.)

It also strikes me that Americans (including me) tend to assume that the rest of the world should be like us, rather than acknowledging that we don’t have any real cultural claim to “superiority.”

What I’m *not* suggesting: that Banton is right. I believe him to be very wrong on this issue. But it might help the whole cause (on many levels) if, say, Americans were to look for ways of starting a dialogue with Jamaicans in general, and with Jamaican Christians *and* Rastas. All too often, we tend to come off as arrogant (not to mention rich!) in the eyes of those in other countries who have much less than we do.

My thought is that that is exactly the place where most Jamaicans are, and that it’s not their fault. For every man who appears to be “eye candy” to American and European tourists (of all sexual orientations), there are probably 3-5 more people at home who are depending on that man’s salary. Hate and anger can be as much about people who don’t have much seeing those who do as uncaring about them and their culture. I’m afraid that observations (made by anyone) about “eye candy” might only serve to fuel negative perceptions of those who make them.

My .02-worth, anyway…

e2c
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

You may need a UK proxy server to listen to this story, which includes interviews with a JFLAG staffer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/tx/documentaries/gayinja.shtml

Should help explain a bit of the background.

----
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

“I really don’t understand Rastafarian beliefs, but the explanations here–it’s interpretation of Leviticus/connection to Fundamentalist Christianity–is very revealing.”

Rastafarianism is just an offshot of Ethiopian Christianity with the twist that they smoke ganja and worship Haile Selassie as God incarnate. They also hold Afrocentrist nonsense in their movement and condemn western society, even though their “moral” views descend directly from Fundamentalist Christianity and Orthodox Judaism.

e2c
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

@ —-

There’s much more to it than what you’ve just said. The connection to the Ethio. Orthodox Church isn’t something that’s agreed upon by all Rastas, or all Ethiopian Orthodox, for that matter.

ravenbiker
October 25th, 2009 | LINK

I hope the fool goes broke. I hope when his stomach goes hungry, his religion will be there to feed him.

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