*Gay activist groups, upset over a Grammy nomination for jailed Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton, are protesting the ceremony for its recognition of an artist they said had “promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career.”
Banton, 36, is up for a best reggae album award for his “Rasta Got Soul” CD. He’s currently sitting in a Florida jail awaiting trial on a cocaine charge and will not be attending the awards show on Sunday.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center took out a full page ad in Hollywood show business paper Daily Variety, urging Grammy organizers to use Sunday’s televised ceremony to denounce music “that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people.”
Friday’s ad, in the form of a letter signed by more than 20 gay, civil rights and anti-violence groups, said that honoring “an artist such as Buju Banton, honors his extraordinary hateful work.”
The lyrics of Banton’s most controversial song “Boom, Bye Bye” in 1988, call for the murder of gay men by shooting or burning. [Listen below.] Banton was quoted late last year as saying he saw “no end to the war” between himself and gay men.
The Recording Academy has said that the Grammy Awards honor musical achievement “regardless of politics” and that artists from many different political and cultural perspectives have been nominated over the years.