By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
"I can remember there was a particular song by a great singer from my country by the name of Mr. Dennis Brown, and this song was called 'Promised Land,'" Buju would later testify. "In those days, we lived in a — what is called a board house, and we had... like metal sheets on top of our roof. Whenever the sounds would be playing across the street, our neighboring community, it would shake the very foundations of this house. And I always admired that song and tell myself one day I want to be part of the... creation of this kind of music."
Curly Cash, a Jamaican-born musician now living in Miami, remembers when Buju didn't have a pair of shoes and owned few clothes beyond his khaki school uniform. They would hang around Kingston, Buju climbing orange trees to pluck his lunch. There was something pesky about him, Cash says. His confidence and determination seemed absurd for such a young boy. The older Cash once lent 20 bucks to Buju. He also suggested the boy spend some time looking for a job. But poor, hungry Buju just laughed. It was music or nothing.
In the '80s, it took months if not years for an artist to get into a recording booth in Jamaica. Aspiring performers waited around the gates of studios praying that a producer would give them a break. It was a rainy day when Buju's chance came. He ended up in a taxi with an older DJ named Clement Irie who was going down to Blue Mountain studio. Irie wrapped up his set and asked the producer to give the boastful teenager a shot. The producer told Buju, who was then toasting under the moniker Gargamel, to sing when the red light came on.
"I didn't stop singing until the rhythm itself stopped playing," Buju recalled during court testimony. "When I opened my eyes and looked, they were all jumping around here like they liked what I was singing. Yeah, and that is where I really got my first start."
He was pure dancehall, spitting out lascivious boasts over pummeling beats. His roaring delivery quickly became a trademark many would emulate. Buju began churning out singles, and in 1992, he broke Bob Marley's record for number one hits in a year.
But also that year, "Boom Bye Bye," a single he had recorded while still a teenager, was re-released. It is a violent antigay song that, among other things, discusses shooting homosexuals and burning them "like an old tire wheel." The song opens with this declaration: "World is in trouble/Anytime Buju Banton come/Batty bwoy get up an run/At gunshot me head back/Hear I tell him now crew/It's like, boom bye bye/Inna batty bwoy head. " Batty bwoy is a derogatory term for gay men.
Buju's old friend, silk-voiced reggae star Wayne Wonder, remembers how "Boom Bye Bye" came about. He and Buju blew up in Jamaica around the same time. In the early days, Wonder says, they would "campaign," or party, through the dancehalls to build up their following. They collaborated on numerous hits at Kingston's Penthouse Records and went on to tour Japan, Europe, and dozens of other places together.
"We were listening to Punanny Riddim [a popular reggae beat] in my two-door Civic [and] just picked up Buju," Wonder recalls while working at his home studio in Davie. "We were driving back down and pick up one of my little girlfriends. And she gives us dis story about two guys who got caught in a bathroom. 'Boom Bye Bye' wasn't intended for any animosity or to incite violence 'pon gays and lesbians. It was just a personal thing, you know. And a vibe come out in the car, and Buju just says, 'a boom bye bye in a batty bwoy head,'" Wonder recalls to the beat of the song as he rises out of his chair.
It is widely reported that the song was inspired by the rape and murder of a young boy by a gay man in Jamaica. While the song grew popular as a way for Jamaicans who were enraged by that incident to funnel their anger, it had the opposite effect in the United States and Europe. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and dozens of other groups denounced the violent lyrics as hate speech. His airplay abroad diminished. Labels took a step back. Even years after the song's release, sponsors would back out of festivals when they learned Buju was on the bill.
Carolyn Cooper, PhD, a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of West Indies, explains, "The Jamaican language is very metaphorical. I try to make the argument that when Buju says all homosexuals must die — it sounds very literal — it's an indictment of homosexuality and not an incitement to actually kill all homosexuals."
But people like Brian Winfield, managing director for Equality Florida, contend that "Boom Bye Bye" couldn't be a clearer incitement of violence against gay people. "The lyrics talk about shooting gay people; they call on listeners to shoot gay people in the head and burn gay people with acid and fire," he says. "[Buju] has been profiting off the song for 20 years."
Fucking yanks stupid fat bastards with no clue about the way the drug game works do you think an awardwinning artist needs to be involved In drugs nope enough money to retire off music
wow. once you have a voice that the masses listen to they set out to shut you up, that's the way of the world. so sad.
To charge Buju with these ridiculous charges is the most disgusting thing and the U.S. Government should be ashamed! Yes Buju did a song over 20 years ago and he is still being bashed for it. Ain’t no karma in letting a man do time for something he did not do. So this only makes us love Buju even more and despise the corrupt government even more. Yes, the LORD is the ONE and only true JUDGE and HE shall take vengeance on those messing with HIS anointed. Buju’s message will live long after we are gone…for generations they will hear of his praise to the LORD and that is a Blessing. Buju will always be a Blessing to the masses! No one can take that from him! Not even some crooked government. HE who sits in the heavens shall have the last laugh! Yes! May the MOST HIGH have mercy on their soul.
God is your only judge and jury. We will continue to support you on this fight for freedom. Never bow.
free buju. keep your joy!
Go tell clerk a court, go a court fi demselfWho gwan judge di judge, him ah sentence himselfSo tell di lawyer, seh fi lawyer himselfBarrister, dem ah run risk wid demselfPolice man, tell dem go arrest demselfYow, cah mi si seh dem possess demselfSeh dem ah stop crime, but stop demself"
Buju did this to himself. I love Buju but he wanted to be a gangster and this is what happens to gangsters. Why go around tastin coke? Hangin in the dope house sippin margaritas? I thought Buju Rasta? Rasta do Jah Work period. This is the road for Buju his enlightenment goes through the pennitentry just like Malcolm. Buju will survive and come back stronger Jah will not give him nothin he can't handle.
The DEA or Despicable Entrapment Agency has its head so far up its ass they couldn't catch a crack dealer selling nickel bags on the street corner without using some piece of shit snitch with a three-mile rap sheet who plays them like the clueless asshole violas they are. Let the guy go - it is obvious he wanted NO part of this undertaking. Maybe the DEA should do some real drug work and start assassinating Mexican and Colombian drug lords and their gangs. Then there wouldn't be such a problem here.
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i see a clear entrapment defense!just the fact that he did not answer his phone on the following day,says to me that he had no intrest in this deal that was set UP by a snitch!
Time to repeal these fascist drug laws and allow our police to concentrate on the dangerous criminals
Because if I had 13 kids I would be recorded bragging about moving kilos and then just happen to go visit a guy that prides himself on a being a drug dealer and then I just happen to travel and visit this drug dealer several times and end up in a warehouse with several kilos.....wow
Come on people!!! I like his music too he is talented but the idiot put himself in that situation. Bob Marley spoke about the times, real struggle, love and family. The idiots now and days want to be tony montana. If Buju were to get out of jail would he become the next Bob Marley??? no he would go back to playing a victim and wanting to have Tony Montanta swag.................
See the government are a bunch of drugs trafficker themselves where did they get 20 kilos from. And went after this man so hard to convict him because he would not apologies for the song boom bye bye. The two who set up the deal on the phone didn't get charged with the using the phone to set up the deal but Buju did. he also got charged with a gun that was taken off someone else and the jury didn't see thought this sad.
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Lucky Buju is not a Muslin...the setup would be much worse and no civilian courts either. God bless America...yes sometimes I wish there was a God and a heaven and a hell for those who go out of their way to make life hell for those they do not understand.
". . . we are talking about one song, recorded at age 15 . . ."
On "The Word" television show on U.K. Channel 4, in December 1992, Buju Banton said "if it ['Boom Bye Bye'] cause any controversy I apologize . . ." In other words, he apologized for the controversy the song created and not for the "kill LGBT" message of the song. He also said "I don't condone violence." You can see this on YouTube at http://bit.ly/bzVPKJ
Although Buju said on "The Word" TV show in 1992 and in other statements that he "does not condone violence," he continued to perform "Boom Bye Bye" until 2004. "Boom Bye Bye" clearly calls for gay men to be shot in the head, shot with an Uzi, have acid splashed on them and then to be burned like an old tire or necklaced.
Buju only stopped performing "Boom Bye Bye" in 2004 under pressure from Amnesty International. You can read their letter to Buju and his manager, Donovan Germain here http://bit.ly/bnLWFQ
It has never been just about "Boom Bye Bye." Buju Banton preaches and rants and raves about LGBT people from the stage. After he stopped performing "Boom Bye Bye," he would remind audiences of the song by humming parts of it or having them sing it. This way he could claim that he had stopped singing it.
Buju has several other anti LGBT songs including "How It Ago Go" and "Gay Waan Rights." These songs are on YouTube and were not big hits. Buju also performed an anti LGBT routine, which was a modified version of his song "How Massa God World A Run." This routine was once on YouTube as "Fire Burn Batty." That version was removed, but you can see another version here http://bit.ly/infCRs This routine has Buju's famous line "there is no end to the war between me and fa**ots."
Over the years, Buju has had numerous opportunities to "move on." He has not done so.
Buju has never distanced himself from the "kill gays" message of "Boom Bye Bye."
send the monkey back to where he came from....the scum isnt welcome here...and take all the other island people with you !!!
It may be true that he's innocent of drugs charges in this case, but this could be viewed as karma for all the gay bashing he's done over the years. As someone who claims to understand and revere the Lord, who is he to sit in judgement of other's lifestyles? Only the Lord has the authority and the Lord will do with it as he sees fit. As someone who sings about "One Love", I find him to be little more than a hypocrite. I hope that Buju spends the next ten years making real peace with the Lord by repenting for the error of his ways. That's when we'll hear the real spiritual music, when his soul has been cleansed. In this case, it seems to me that the Lord has spoken in volumes.
"all the gay-bashing"? smh. we are talking about one song, recorded at age 15, which has been used by LGBT activists for 20 years as a rallying cry and a sure-fire hot button for fund-raising appeals for LGBT organizations -- the same ones who sold out their constituents to the telecoms on the failed AT&T/Comcast merger in the US and advocated for gay rights as seperate from human or civil rights in the UK. one could ask, how much money has the gay activist community has made off claiming to be victims of boom bye bye and buju banton -- then compare that to the nonexistent royalties made of a song whose copyright banton doesnt even own. or we could mention that there are numerous jamaican artists who have recorded anti-gay tunes at the behest of the government, but banton is not one of them.
it is interesting, "Ipinion" that you not only claim the name of "rastafari"--an orthodox christian sect which doesnt believe in homosexuality from a moral standpoint--in vain, but you seem to think that a corrupt government agency --which also launders Mexican drug cartel cash and okays murders and drug dealing by MS-13 members--working with a professional snitch and a prosecutor who have been pulling the same set-up scam for ten years -- is "karma." would this be karma if it werent a celebrity arrest?
You obviously know as little about Rastafarianism as you do about banton's music. And while Buju obviously made mistakes, you seem to think that an injust justice system which routinely imprisons innocent people to fuel the lavish lifestyles of criminals and professional liars and bolster the careers of prosecutors, is ok. in my book, that makes you a bigger hypocrite than buju could ever be.
BTW, "One Love" is a bob Marley song used by the Jamaican tourist board to promote cruises and resorts which dont benefit poor jamaicans. Voice of Jamaica is a Buju album.
Excellent take on the subject. I appreciate being supplied both sides of the story. Interesting, informative, well documented piece.
The whole nation of America is watching this debacle of justice. You will be out soon. Obvious entrapment, that's how Florida rolls it seems.
I'm sorry that you had to spend this time, showing the rest of us how flawed our justice system is, once again. I know your mind and songs can shatter all confinement in a hearbeat or two. You will be out soon.
Florida, the whole country is watching, and palm slapping their faces in disgust...
Looking forward to babylon understanding the meaning of "entrapment" and that it's now big business for our prison-industrialized nation. We demand Mark Myrie released from this unconstitutional detainment in our flawed country. Now is not too soon.
Much Love and Full Support. Peter I & I & I Shall NOT BE REMOVED.
Good over evil. . . . when judgement day comes I wouldn't wanna be Alex Johnson. Regardless of Buju's involvement he has a higher purpose and does so much for his community, he needs to be spreading positive messages through music and blessing those in his community not sittin in jail. His heart is pure, we all make mistakes and his only mistake was befriending some pussy hole!
Sea View mi seh!
Buju is a reggae GOD & should be released immediately! Buju pays the IRS more money in a year from the milllions he earns as a reggae artist than Johnson (the snitch) wll ever pay in his whole lifetime!!!
I was not there and I don't know if he is guilty or not,
But I still have my suspicions, even though he might not be guilty in all that was said, I still think he needs to learn a lesson as these celebrities need to know that our young people are watching them. thus using drugs, Ganja, Cocaine or even alcohol can set a bad example for them.
What I can say for sure is that the justice system in this great, God blessed country, is one of the wickedest in the world, I sometimes I wonder how these prosecutors and even some judges sleep at nights? do they really have a conscience?
Listen to my story.
After getting married in 1991, the union lasted little over a year, the mistake I made was to marry a woman with a temper as hot as Cayenne Pepper, due to that we separated, we lived apart for over 10 years before this incident I am about to tell you about.
During those years she kept turning up at my job, my home even at church verbally abusing and harassing me. I petitioned the courts three times for a restraining order so she could stop coming to my place, each time it was denied, the judge or judges claim she is no threat to me.
In the year 2002 or some where about she came to my place of business hurling profanities with verbal threats, all because I took $20.00 from my son towards his own book bag.
The day in question she turned up at my place of business knocking violently at the door, I refused to open it, so she got even more upset by this time our then 10 year old son was in the car, realizing that I wasn’t going to open the door, she went back to her vehicle, then sent the child to knock the door, I still refused to open it, as I knew that she would seize the opportunity and come at me.
The child began to cry and yelling daddy open the door, so I opened the door, in the process of handing him back the $20.00, while I was doing so she came rushing towards the door cursing and swearing, there and then we both got into an argument, she then rushed to back to her vehicle, seeing that, I bent over fill my hand with some gravel, I mean broken stones, small ones that was used in the back section of the building. Filled my hand so as to defend or ward her off in case she turns up with a weapon, this was just a split second decision. Those gravel could not stop her if she had returned with a gun or a knife.
Unfortunately our child say the whole thing and ran, that’s a very unfortunate thing for any child to witness, something I live to regret today, that ended the whole fussing as we both went to get him.
After that I went inside with tears in my eyes I called the police, the officer asked twice is this a man or a woman reporting this incident, I said I am a man, I waited over two hours no police came, I called again and in about a another hour one officer came, he took the report and said I should go to the State Attorney’s office and file harassment charge against her.
I said no! she is my child’s mother I’ll just let it go. That was the worst mistake I have ever made, after the incident she left, then went to the police station, made a false report, on the report the officer put aggravated assault base on what she said but no arrest was made.
8 months later she placed my our son in a so called religious military school, one day the child showed me a scar in his face and told me a man at the school hit him in the face and after he told his mother that he is going to tell his dad, she throw something and hit him.
I then seek the assistance of the court in taking the child out of the school, the judge did not believe me as Child welfare took sides and told the court that I just want to take the child away from the mother. So the judge ruled that the child should appear in court so she could question him.. The child went to court the judge asked him and he said it just like he told me.The judge instantly gave me temporary custody and ordered that the child be taken out of that so called Christian military school. The judge even said, that some of these religious institutions are nothing but cults.
People this was just a victory short lived. I did not know that the man my son pointed out as the one hitting him in the face was a police officer who was also an instructor at the school.
To cut along story short, that police officer along with one detective Shannon Walton of the Miami Dade police department found the report my wife made 8 months prior.
Called me to her office then charged me with
Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon, Burglary and Battery
The Burglary charge and the Aggravated Assault are felonies that can carry 30 years in jail or more. See how wicked the justice system is, she claim that I put my hands inside the vehicle in an attempt to hit her, and that amounts to burglary.
Listen people this woman came to my place of business threatened me and in trying to defend myself from a woman with a hog’s temper I almost got sent to prison for years. RIGHT HERE IN THIS GREAT AMERICA.
This is just a part of what really took place, but time will not allow me to go into further detail.
Today because of that incident and the lies that were told so as to get a conviction, my Green Card is about to be taken away.
I love this country but the judicial system is totally against men. It encourages women to abuse men and get away with it and even if the State and the prosecutors have to lie they don’t care, as long as they get a conviction.
What a wicked world!
@ Sellous, we were not there, we don't know if you are innocent or not. You have to remember you have a child that watch your every move. SMDH! you are right, the juvtice system in this country is one of the wickedest.
Sallous, what the hell does your bad decisions and junk relationships have to do wiht a man that has been wrongfully imprisoned? So..because you had a bad relationship and don't know how to raise you kids, you think this has something to do with the voice of a movement being silenced. Please just pay attention to your own sad shortcomings and leave other, more innocent men at peace.
Buju would say something comforting to you right now if he could, I just want to slap you for trying to compare your inability to live your own life even semi-correclty to his ability to help others live it better every day.
I hope I can grow and have more compassion to completely useless people like yourself.
Grow a dick and take responsibility for your own crappy decisions and if you need a voice of never-ending support, LISTEN TO BUJU BANTON.
Excellent article! I learnt much more about the whole incident than before, and am no longer convinced of his guilt. Thanks.