There is an update to the case of anti-gay "murder music" singer Buju Banton, who has been jailed in Miami on federal drug conspiracy charges. Bail has been denied and he will be transferred to Tampa, reports the AP.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff issued a temporary order of detention for the 36-year-old singer, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie. Banton did not speak at the hearing, except to reply, "Yes, sir," to the judge's questions... Banton has been in federal custody since last Thursday. He is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. According to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit, Banton and two others traveled to Sarasota last week to purchase a large amount of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer. The DEA was tipped off by a confidential informant who agreed to wear a recording device during the drug negotiation session. Banton's attorney said the singer is "completely innocent" of the charges against him. "He's a very spiritual person," Herbert E. Walker III said. "He has a lot of faith in God. He's confident he's going to be exonerated."
Gay activists in North America and Europe have called attention to Banton's "spiritual" lyrics, which incite violence and call for attacking, torturing and killing gays. His song "Boom Bye Bye", a dancehall anthem released in the 1990s, calls for 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.
The federal drug conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Earlier this month, Banton's ninth album, Rasta Got Soul, was nominated for a Grammy for best reggae album and sparked outrage. GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) spearheaded an online petition drive against The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. The petition is HERE.