Bil Browning

Help stop local bigotry

Filed By Bil Browning | September 12, 2006 11:49 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Fundie Watch, The Movement
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On this Thursday, September 14th, notorious homophobe and Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton will be performing in Bloomington at the Bluebird nightclub.

Banton is well-known for his song "Boom Bye Bye" which calls for violence against the LGBT community. In the song, Banton suggests killing gays and lesbians by shooting them in the head, pouring acid on them or setting them on fire. Forced by his recording label to make a statement, Banton refused to apologize - instead citing the Bible and his Rastafarian religion. Rastas, however, are supposed to be non-violent.

Several Banton concerts have been protested or canceled as the LGBT community has reacted in outrage. Amnesty International has called for Banton's prosecution for a June 24, 2004 attack on six gay men who were forced from their homes and beaten severely. One of the assailants was Buju Banton. Banton was not arrested and charged until September 2005 - nearly 15 months after the alleged attack - despite a warrant for his arrest having been issued in June 2004. He was acquitted last January. No one was held responsible for the attacks - they were simply swept under the rug.

If you don't think that Bloomington, Indiana - one of the first municipalities in the state to offer protections to the LGBT community - is the right venue for Buju Banton's brand of homophobia and sexism, please call or e-mail the Bluebird management and tell them today. You can call the Bluebird at (812) 336-3984.

Remember - the concert is scheduled for Thursday. Time is of the essence! Give them a call today and ask that they cancel the concert. Let's not sweep Banton under the rug in our state.


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If you're going to be in the Bloomington area Thursday night and want to be involved in the protest (should one take place) please e-mail iuhrc(AT)indiana.edu!

I believe that the same person that owns The Bluebird owns The Vogue as well. Tell them that they will loss your business both places.

I called the Bluebird tonight (to make sure they were open) and spoke with the guy who answered the phone. The manager wasn't around. I told him that I thought promoting a guy who advocated pouring acid on gays and lesbians was beyond the pale. He agreed with me and said he'd even told management that he didn't want to see the concert happen either. :) Even the staff supports us!

It saddens me to see such ignorance and hatred coming from a group of people who is in need of so much support from the general community in times like these. Reggae music and rastafarianism is a beatiful religion, based upon the teaching of Marcus Garvey. Yes, there are parts that some don't agree with. However, by entering another's culture from the outside and telling another man your rights have suddenly over-ridden his and the rest of ours, you have set back black rights for the sake of your own. There is no way to fight bigotry with bigotry. I am tired of seeing people on the internet bash this man for remarks made in his youth. And I also believe strongly that we have all been given the chance for reprieval at some time or another. Here is a man grown up in a culture based in slavery, which by the way, was the very same oprresors who outlawed homosexsuality in Jamaica; Britain. So, I urge everyone not to give in to this hatred against religion and allow people who want and need spiritual upliftment and positivity to hear this wonderful music. How can you hold down another to further your own cause? Allow this man to do his work!

Tasha C. S. Rodney | September 26, 2006 7:24 PM

Jamaicans society is largely Christian. Due to their religious beliefs most Jamaicans like most people of non-western cultures strongly disagree with homosexuality but they do not react violently towards gays. Many dancehall artists like most Jamaicans think that homosexuality is wrong, however they do not advocate for the actual killing of homosexuals nor do they incite violence against them. These accusations are based on a misinterpretation of dancehall lyrics and are not based on the facts.

When the lyrics of many Jamaican dancehall songs are translated into other languages they appear extremely violent. The literal meanings of these songs are in fact violent. However, these lyrics are not meant to be taken literally.

Dancehall artists discuss a number of issues with violent terms making reference to a "lyrical gun" as explained by an expert on the subject Dr. Carolyn Cooper a professor at the University of the West Indies. Artists discuss issues from sex to lyrical competitions violently. They talk about ?killing? competitors, their sexual partners,informers, and homosexuals in their lyrics. However, these lyrics are merely allegories. Similar to the one Bob Marley used in his song ?I Shot the Sheriff?.

Dancehall artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla, Bounty Killa are following in the footsteps of Bob Marley. They uplift the people with their music and encourage them to fight to improve the system. These artists should not be crucified; they should be crowned.

Tasha C.S. Rodney
Attorney-at-Law