GLAAD Responds to Recording Academy Statement on Buju Banton's Grammy Nomination

LGBT Advocacy Organization Says Academy Ignores Banton’s Support for Murdering Gay People

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

December 9, 2009

December 9, 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 responded to a statement issued by the Recording Academy following GLAAD’s petition drive protesting the recent Grammy nomination of reggae singer Buju Banton’s album “Rasta Got Soul.”

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.”

The Recording Academy sent this statement to GLAAD:

The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards have a long history of supporting freedom of speech and creative expression, and of supporting artists and the music they create. Artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast, despite protests and backlash. The Academy acknowledges that there are very strong and diverse opinions on many issues and in many instances, we have helped initiate dialogue on matters that require education and further discussion. It takes tolerance to teach tolerance, and it is through dialogue and debate that social discovery may occur. The GRAMMY Awards is a celebration and recognition of outstanding musical achievement by music makers, regardless of politics, and that will continue to be our mission.

"While we appreciate the Recording Academy issuing a response, we firmly disagree with their justification for nominating Buju Banton for a Grammy Award,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “Advocating the murder of gay people is not a ‘political or cultural perspective.’ We urge Recording Academy members NOT to support Buju Banton's nomination. Ignoring his continued promotion of brutality against gay people sends a message that violence against our community is OK.”

GLAAD urges you to protest Buju Baton’s Grammy Nomination and tell Recording Academy members to not support his nomination. Please sign our online petition now: http://www.glaad.org/bujubantonpetition.