No End to the War

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International reggae artiste Buju Banton, who this week met with gay activists in San Francisco, says he will not “surrender” to the group’s philanthropy proposals as they would contradict his religion and culture.

Banton also said his concert that night was pepper-sprayed following the meeting with the gay lobby.

buju rasta

“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.”

Buju said that he felt legally and not financially compelled to meet the group.

“It is not about boxing food out my mouth, if a that I would have surrendered to the system a long time ago,” he later added. “The mayor of San Francisco, or the mayor-to-be, claimed that I was in his district and that it was imperative for him and his organisation to meet with me to further see what kind of personality or character (I have).”

The gay activists in San Francisco reportedly want the proceeds from Boom Bye Bye to be donated to J-FLAG. They also want Banton to hold a town hall meeting in Kingston about the need to respect gays.

“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.”

The meeting included convenor Bevan Duffy; Rebecca Rolfe, executive director of the San Francisco gay community centre; Andrea Shorter of Equality California; advocate Michael Petrelis and members of Banton’s management team.

Buju is on a US tour to promote his new album Rasta Got Soul, yet it has been his anti-gay song, Boom Bye Bye, written almost two decades ago, which continues to spur gay protests. “I said to him that this transpired 17 years ago and every year is the same thing,” he said.

Banton said that the US gay lobby was tipped-off by gays in Jamaica. “The ‘mayor’ .said that there are people in Jamaica who are feeding him these information and giving Jamaica a bad reputation, saying that we are the murder capital of the world for gays,” said Banton.

Despite the controversy, Banton and others called his tour the biggest-selling reggae tour of the year. “I have two-and-a-half more weeks and let me tell you this, if a show has been cancelled or postponed by this group of people, it has been picked up and replaced in another venue. Let the struggle continue,” said Banton. “Pray for I, don’t cry for I,” he said on the programme.

Jamaica Observer


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