Anti-gay "murder music" singer Buju Banton has been jailed in Miami on federal drug conspiracy charges:
"Drug Enforcement Administration agents say Banton, real name Mark Anthony Myrie, has been in custody since Thursday and will soon be transferred to Tampa, where the U.S. Attorney is charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. Banton has homes both in Jamaica and Tamarac. While legions of dancehall reggae enthusiasts view Banton as one of the most prolific voices of Jamaica's poor masses, critics say he's a gay basher whose lyrics incite violence by calling for attacking and torturing homosexuals. His song 'Boom Bye Bye', a dancehall hit released in the 1990s, advocates shooting gays in the head and setting them on fire."
In recent years, the singer's North American and European tour dates have routinely met with protests, demonstrations and cancellations. In October, San Francisco-based LGBT activists met with Banton and afterwards the reggae singer's anti-gay rhetoric appeared even more hardened: "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs, 'There is no end to the war between me and faggot'. The same night after I met with them [gay activists], they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me? I owe dem nothing, they don't owe I nothing."
Jamaican news coverage of Buju Banton's arrest has, predictably, attempted to link his legal problems to his anti-gay views.
Banton's recent Grammy nomination has been met with outrage. GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) have spearheaded an online petition drive against The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. The petition is HERE.