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Monday, Sept 25, 2006

Homophobic Buju Banton

Posted by Charles Mudede on Mon, Sept 25, 2006 at 2:09 PM

Everyone knows that many of the performers and producers of contemporary dancehall (not reggae—that is another form of music) are hyper-sexist and hyper-homophobic. And so it's odd that one of dancehall's brightest and blatantly homophobic stars, Buju Banton, is set to perform at Neumo's this Wednesday.

From Banton's “Boom Bye Bye”:

Two man hitch up on an rub up on An lay down inna bed Hug up on another Anna feel up leg Send fi di matic an Di Uzi instead Shoot dem no come if we shot dem&mdash


Two men hitch up on and rub up on
An lay down on the bed
Hug one another
And feel up leg
Send for the automatic and
the Uzi instead
Shoot them so that they do not orgasm
if we shot them...

Neumo's is on Capitol Hill, the gay capital of this state (if not the entire region), and having him play in this part of town is tantamount to having a neo-Nazi band perform in the Central District. The show should not happen here or, for that matter, any part of this city.

Banton, here are the keys to your beamer, now get out of town.

Comments (31)


This show should happen here; batty boys shouldn't forget how much they're hated! Blow JAH-b, anyone?!

Posted by Nick on September 25, 2006 2:36 PM

Calling Buju Banton homophobic is racist. It's an old tired argument that Hip Hop performers are homophobic. Artists are free to write songs for any reason the feel like. Just because you don't like a black performer doesn't make him homophobic. Black people are no more or less homophobic that whites.

Posted by racist watch on September 25, 2006 2:38 PM

Better get all up on Kid Hops' jock while you are at it, he regularly plays Banton's music on his show. The horror!

Posted by Pony Boy on September 25, 2006 2:48 PM

I've always been curious why many reggae artists and residents of the Caribbean are so violently homophobic. Some of the most notoriously violent homophobes on Earth live on the islands of the Caribbean. You would think that they would be fully aware of how horrible and destructive their hatred is when, tragically, the opposite seems to be true. Anyone have any theories why?

Posted by Andrew on September 25, 2006 2:52 PM

Careful or you'll be racist. Blacks performers are no more or less racist than anyone else. To claim that Caribbean performers or Hip Hop performers are more homophobic than anyone else smacks of racism.

Posted by racist watch on September 25, 2006 2:54 PM

instead Shoot dem no come if we shot dem&mdash Does anyone have a Buju-Banton-to-Standard-English dictionary for this part? I'm lost now.

Posted by corporate_slave on September 25, 2006 2:55 PM

Please contact the Anti-Defamation League here in Seattle. They will have some effective strategies to share to help keep up the pressure and have the invitation rescinded.

Posted by Keep him out of OUR town on September 25, 2006 2:57 PM

Here is the translation
Boom Bye Bye Lyrics *

Anytime Buju Banton come
Anytime Buju Banton comes
Batty bwoy get up an run
Faggots get up and run
Boom bye bye
Boom (gun shot) bye bye (Goodbye, as in you're dead)
Inna batty bwoy head
In a faggot's head
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
Rude boy don't promote any nasty (queer) man
Dem haffi dead
They have to die...
Send fi di matic an
Send for the automatic (gun) and
Di Uzi instead
The Uzi (gun) instead
Shoot dem no come if we shot dem-
Shoot them, don't come (to help them) if we shoot them—
Guy come near we
If a guy comes near me
Then his skin must peel
Then his skin must peel
(Note: In Jamaica, pouring acid on an individual is a common
revenge tactic)
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
Burn him up bad like an old tire

* (Jamaican patios lyrics are followed, line by line, by translations into Standard English)

Posted by Keep him out of OUR town on September 25, 2006 3:01 PM

Andrew- My not well researched guess would be that there are a lot of born agains in the Caribbean and a lot of the "rude boys" parents are most likely born agains. I worked on Carnival cruise lines for some time, and is what I saw, specially in Jamaica, they love their preachers. Pentecostals, missionaries and born agains come by the plane loads to poor countries and Jamaica is no different. The term in Jamaica back then was mama man, I think batty boy is more popular in England, but I could be wrong. I know that racist watch is a troll. But for the record: dancehall is not hip hop, though one could argue that its grandfather "toast" was, and Banju is not a hip hop performer, and there is a world of difference between hip hop and gangsta rap.

Posted by SeMe on September 25, 2006 3:10 PM

It's just the fear in the black community that drives so much of this. Secretive man on man sex has been going on for generations in the black communities around the world, but ever since the outing of the down low this type of crap backlash has been on the rise. If the black community at large would just accept themselves a lot of this wouldn't be an issue. I would be willing to place bets that most of the lyricists of these dance hall songs have had a cock or two in their mouths or somewhere else, but just aren't man enough to actually deal with it.

Posted by joshy on September 25, 2006 3:14 PM

to paraphrase chomsky, to protect free speech we must protect it for the very people who speak most hatefully. i'm not sure if cancelling buju's gig is the best response--maybe it would be better to let him play and have a "buju is hateful" rally on pike st.

Posted by dna on September 25, 2006 3:30 PM

Or perhaps we can ask him personally, and find out if he still believes the things he said when he wrote that song at the age of 15.

Posted by Pony Boy on September 25, 2006 3:40 PM

DNA, censorship is a governmental action. If a club chooses not to book a club, that's not censorship. It's a business or ethical decision. Same thing with Wal-Mart not selling explicit CDs. I may not like it, but it's not truly censorship, since there are many other outlets for getting that music/book/art/whatever.

Posted by Gitai on Gitai

As someone who knows Reggae, I'll pipe up to say that lots of Jamaican artists defy the "one love" stereotype. Shit, Bob Marley was an egomaniacal, misogynistic Christian zealot. Peter Tosh, a violence-insighting revolutionary. As proven by this song, Buju Banton, like Marley and Tosh, is also something of a hippie-crite.

Homophobia among the "hip" isn't confined to islands, either. Lots of folks in American rainbow counterculture are equally oxymoronic. Deadheads were generally cool with girl love, but a guy licked one cock and he was considered a faggy predator.

Usually this counterculture sentiment is visible in everyone from from the idiots to the icons.

Buju Banton's more-righteous-than-thou machismo is par for the course in the greater Reggae genre. So nobody should be suprised, except maybe Buju when he hits town and gets a cool reception. The Dancehall fan base in Seattle isn’t his typical US Trustafarian frat boy crowd, but rather kinky liberals with a penchant for the off-beat. He's off his beaten path.

Posted by Dominic on September 25, 2006 4:13 PM

last time i checked, this was still the united states of america, where freedom of speech is a protected constitutional right.
buju's lyrics are, indeed, offensive. so is a lot of other shit. if you don't like it you can choose to not attend, you can choose to not support the artist, and you can choose to protest his actions in whatever way you (legally) see fit.
jesus, charles. you've got to be kidding with this one.

Posted by kerri harrop on September 25, 2006 4:14 PM

Thank you KERRI!

This guy would have sold maybe 20 tickets, but thankls to all the blowhards I expect the masses from frat row to turn up in full support.

Posted by Pony Boy on September 25, 2006 4:19 PM

"last time i checked, this was still the united states of america, where freedom of speech is a protected constitutional right."

So of course this trumps Charles' First Amendment right to say he doesn't think this show "should not happen here or, for that matter, any part of this city"?

Posted by dantc on September 25, 2006 4:22 PM

I agree with Kerri. Where's the uproar over all the american artists who promote murder, misogyny, homophobia, and on and on? It's a very long list. Are we proposing Eminem never be allowed to perform? Ice Cube? Slayer? Liberals sure seem to get pissed off when this kind of thing happens to the Dixie Chicks.

From what I can tell, this guy hasn't written anything like this in decades. Do we not believe that people have different ideas as adults than they had at 15?

A young, aspiring dancehall artist writing a song at 15 with these kinds of lyrics is no different than an aspiring rapper writing similarly offensive lyrics or lyrics offensive to different groups. They're copying what's done in the genre they're into. I'm not saying it's good, but the reaction seems a bit out of proportion to the crime.

Posted by Tone on September 25, 2006 4:24 PM

last time i checked, this was still the united states of america, where freedom of speech is a protected constitutional right.

Charles' post is, indeed, offensive. so is a lot of other shit. if you don't like it you can choose to not read it, you can choose to not support the artist, and you can choose to protest his actions in whatever way you (legally) see fit.

jesus, kerri. you've got to be kidding with this one.

Posted by djfits on September 25, 2006 4:27 PM

Buju still performs that song; it's one of his hits. It's a money-maker, a crowd-pleaser. It's why people come to see him.

I must have missed the Dixie Chicks song where they advocated the murder and torture of homosexuals.

Posted by Mediacrat on September 25, 2006 4:29 PM

Hip hop loves to generate provocative lyrics, but has zero social effect.

Remember all the court cases against Public Enemy claiming their lyrics were incitement to riot.

You see any revolution on American streets by young black males in the last 30 years?

Let the man work... it means nothing.

Posted by Macaca on September 25, 2006 4:37 PM

dantc: in no way does it trump charles' right or opinion. i am working under the assumption that the stranger enables commentary on slog postings as a way of fostering dialog within our community.

either that, or they are just really bored.

i offered my opinion, as did a bunch of other people. no one is "right" or "wrong" when it comes to art. but, we are all allowed to respond to it in whatever way we see fit.

freedom of speech means i can disagree with charles, just as he can disagree with me. or with buju. or with little boys crying in the street.

Posted by kerri harrop on September 25, 2006 4:48 PM

"Calling Buju Banton homophobic is racist" (Racist Watch) I am assuming that one is a joke, cause that doesnt make sense. Assuming that he is being called homophobic because he is black? now THATS racist.

"This guy would have sold maybe 20 tickets" Pony Boy are you serious?

Posted by ac on September 25, 2006 4:50 PM

"Racist Watch" is a troll. Do not engage.

Posted by Tone on September 25, 2006 4:53 PM

A private business has every right to choose what kinds of speech it wants associated with it. To imply that Neumo's shouldn't, or doesn't have the right to exclude homophobic musicians is absurd and shows a juvenile understanding of the principals of free speech.

That this guy can promote the murder of people for being gay and people like kerri harrop can chastise charles for calling for some action on this is absolutely disgusting. I wonder if the reaction would be the same if this was KKK member signing about the lynching of blacks. Kerri and friends are some truly frightening folks that hide their bigotry as support for a constitutional principal they don't even understand.

Posted by Lanik on September 25, 2006 6:19 PM

Charles, is Buju Banton just the diablo dujour or can we expect you to publicly sanction all homophobic acts?

Are you playing The United States to Buju Banton's Bosnian Conflict while you turn an indifferent ear toward Dim Mak's Rwanda.

Oh, wait, you gave Seattle Hip Hop act Dim Mak's often homophobic Epoch CD glaring praise in The Stranger here.

and here

You've in fact been very supportive in your writing of many acts who are extremely homophobic in their lyrics and should I feel compelled to dig up moer examples I guess I suppose I'll post them here.

So why is it so important to focus all of this energy on Buju Banton. I'm not into him either. For the most part I don't give a shit about dancehall or hip hop, but I just wonder why Buju's such a tempting target. Is it because Seattle won't be out done by Los Angeles and Bloomington, IN? Is there something more insidious about Buju Banton than the umteenmillion other homophobes who come to play and get major lip service from The Stranger?

Posted by No, Sereiously, You've Got To Be Kidding on September 25, 2006 7:00 PM

No, Sereiously (sic) - Don't you know that Charles can't be homophobic? Only straight white men can be homophobic because homophobia implies a power structure and clearly Charles (as a underpaid black Marxist journalist/artist) doesn't have much power!

Posted by aclue on September 25, 2006 10:41 PM

Who accused Charles of being homophobic? He's the first to slog about the booking of raging homophobe Buju Banton, but as pointed out above, he's either unaware or unconcerned about other homophobic acts he's given his seal of approval.

This shit is stupid. Snap out of it. The outrage is better directed at more pressing things. Vote with your dollar. Feel free to pass on the Buju tickets. Fuck it, picket that stupid show, but the whole demand that Neumo's should pull the plug on the day of the show? That's a bit much. Quit acting like victims.

Idiocy like this forces perfectly good establishments like Neumo's to go under. If you're so outraged, let it be known by never purchasing another drink there, seeing another show there, Stranger, turn down their ad dollar. I look forward to seeing all of you hipocrites at Neumo's over the next few months. Especially when there's an open bar and catering, right Charles? Then the outrage is right out the window.

I've seen some attempts at mitigation in these threads, almost bashful attempts to forgive Neumo's and Jason and Steven. That's a good look, you should've all stuck with that from the outset and taylored your policy more along the lines of, "That Buju Banton is a biggot and I'm not going to see his show so I wonder why you would" or something as such.

This whole thing is dare I say a bit bellicose and alot jingoist isn't it? C'mon.

Posted by Puhlease on September 25, 2006 11:34 PM

Love it. It's always soooooo instructive when First-Amendment Fundamentalism comes crashing down around the bigot racists going head to head (so to speak) with bigot homohaters.

Posted by banton bennaton on September 26, 2006 10:31 AM

This is inane. I am gay and out. Personally, This whole topic is yet another flock of seattle's cackling hens, bitching about things that have little to no relevence. If America's LGTB communities would put forth this much effort in voting at elections, we probably would be a Bush Free nation. I think we have bigger issues facing us than some second rate reggae musician playing a few unintelligible songs in a third rate venue.

Posted by Chef Xero on September 28, 2006 12:27 AM

How can a club that holds about 450 people pay an artist $15,000? Were tickets selling for $40+? And are they really on the hook for the guarantee? If so, it sounds like they signed a bad contract in the first place.

Oh, and on the real topic... as reprehensible as the artist's material is, the pressure applied to cancel this show demonstrates a double standard by the people who applied the pressure. Why is free speech and artistic expression okay when it reinforces liberal values but not okay when it offends us? What would the outcome be if a conservative organization was offended enough to engage in a similar outcry against an artist it found offensive for its own reasons? I've never even heard of this artist, but thanks to the publicity surrounding this thing, I have. Would it have possibly been better to let the guy play to his couple hundred fans and leave town without any publicity? I'm a liberal who lives in Capitol Hill, but I hope this doesn't mean that in my neighborhood it's only okay to express yourself if the locals give you permission.

Posted by soder on September 29, 2006 8:12 AM

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