GLAAD Launches Online Petition for Recording Academy to Reject Buju Banton for a Grammy

LGBT Advocacy Organization Calls on Media to Spotlight Anti-Gay History of Banton

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009, New York, NY - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today called on community members and allies to contact the Recording Academy and sign an online petition protesting the recent Grammy nomination of reggae singer Buju Banton’s album “Rasta Got Soul,” and urging Recording Academy members to not support his nomination. The petition can be viewed at: http://www.glaad.org/bujubantonpetition.

GLAAD continues to reach out to the Recording Academy to advocate against their decision to recognize Banton. Last week, Banton’s ninth CD, Rasta Got Soul, received a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album.

“Reggae singer Buju Banton’s anti-gay lyrics and the climate of hatred they create are a threat to the safety of gay and transgender people everywhere,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “In a climate of increased anti-gay violence in this country and Banton’s home country of Jamaica, it is deeply disappointing that the Recording Academy would choose to laud the work of a singer who has advocated violence against the gay community.”

The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center yesterday also condemned the nomination.

In a popular song released in 1988 entitled "Boom Bye Bye," Banton repeats the anti-gay slurs, "batty bwoy" and "batty man," which are equivalent to the slur "fa**ot,"  and says that they "have to die" and he will "shoot them in the head" or "burn them." He continues to sing this song at his concerts today.

The Associated Press has reported that the song “Batty Rider” from Banton’s 1993 record “Mr. Mention” glorifies the shooting of gay men.

In October 2009 Banton was quoted in news reports as saying “This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and f----t' and it's clear.”

“We call on the media to shine a spotlight on Banton’s history of anti-gay lyrics in coverage of this year’s Grammy Awards as well as the Recording Academy’s decision to honor him without taking steps to ensure his future career is not marked with promoting violence,” said Barrios.

In 2007, GLAAD issued an alert calling on Clear Channel to withdraw its sponsorship of its Power 105.1 station’s Reggae Carifest featuring Banton and Bounty Killer. Following publication of that alert, Clear Channel dropped its sponsorship of the event.