Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton, whose songs have openly called for the murder of gay men, received a Grammy nomination last week, much to the growing outrage and condemnation of the LGBT community.
Throughout his career, Banton has performed music that promotes a culture of violence against lesbian and gay people; he sings in “Boom, Bye Bye” that “faggots get up and run” when he comes, that “they have to die,” and that he will shoot them in the head or “burn them up bad.” Banton is completely unrepentant, refuses to stop performing the song, and recently said, “There is no end to the war between me and faggots.” “It’s an affront to LGBT people, and to all fair-minded people around the world, that Buju Banton was nominated,” says Center Chief Public Affairs Officer Jim Key. “We certainly hope the members of the Recording Academy will not bestow the prestigious honor of a Grammy on someone whose music promotes murder.”
Earlier this year, a series of Buju Banton concerts in the U.S. were canceled after protests from the LGBT community. Despite meeting with LGBT leaders in San Francisco in October, Banton later claimed that “there is no end to the war between me and f****t.” While we are disappointed that the Recording Academy has chosen to honor Banton’s album, “Rasta Got Soul,” with a nomination the highest honor in music, we are hopeful that the Grammy voters will chose to bestow the Grammy for Best Reggae Album on one of the other nominees who manage to record reggae that does not condone hate.
The other nominees for Best Reggae Album are Gregory Issacs, Sean Paul, Julian Marley, and Stephen Marley.