BBC Radio London Live (formerly GLR) is the main sponsor of Buju Banton’s performance at the Festival of Peace and Love in London today, Sunday, 23rd July, 2000.
The festival at Three Mills Island in east London, being held to celebrate Jamaican culture and the life of reggae legend Bob Marley, includes a set by Banton.
Banton is notorious for, in 1992, writing and performing Boom Bye Bye glorifies the shooting of gay men, urging people to get a gun and blow out the brains of a “batty boy”, (pejorative Jamaican slang for homosexual). Subsequently he has said that gays should be treated like discarded tyres and burned.
The furore that arose in both this country and in the USA forced him to apologise on the Channel 4 programme The Word on 4th December, 1992: but not before massive cancellations of TV and other appearances on both sides of the Atlantic hit hard.
An interview published on the 29th May, 2000 in New Nation, a newspaper serving members of the black community, includes a reiteration by Banton of his homophobic views and a denial that he had ever recanted or changed these views.
In consequence of the intervention of OutRage!, of Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia, of Eurogay internet magazine, and of our approach to Jenny Abramsky (Director, BBC Radio), the Editor of London Live immediately stopped promotion of the festival on his station and obtained assurances from the Festival’s PR people that ‘Boom Bye Bye’ would not be part of Banton’s set. Banton’s own PR people, however, were not so forthcoming and give rise to concern that he may be planning to use the his mantra of hate at other venues, in the UK or elsewhere.
OutRage! and Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia are working with Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, (GLAAD), in the USA where Banton is planning a tour to promote his recent album Unchained Spirit. .