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Buju Banton Banned From The U.S., Opposition Mounts Worldwide

bujubanton

As growing controversy

mounts worldwide around the lyrics of dancehall artist Buju Banton and an incident

where he allegedly took part in assaulting a group of gay men, reps for Banton

said he was recently banned from the United States.

“Buju Banton

has been unjustly banned from the United States because of an absurd conviction

in April for possession and cultivation of marijuana,” a spokesperson

told AllHipHop.com in a statement.

According to reps,

on December 3, 2003, police raided Banton’s Kingston, Jamaica recording

studio and claimed to have found a marijuana plant that belonged to Banton.

Banton denied the

plant was his and said that he had been home for just two days, after an 18

month stretch on the road.

He was found guilty

on March 29th and on April 5th he was fined $9,000 or 60 days of imprisonment.

“Only when

Buju tried to return to the States in April did he learn he was forbidden entry.

He was detained for 18 hours in Miami and subsequently deported back to Jamaica,”

representatives said.

Last week, Amnesty

International said they confirmed reports that Banton was involved in a homophobic

attack in Kingston two moths ago.

“We can confirm

that Amnesty International has received information from reputable national

and international human rights organizations concerning reports that Buju Banton

was involved in a homophobic attack,” the organization said. “These

reports take the form of statements that allege that on June 24 2004, six men

were driven from their home and beaten by a group of armed men, and that the

alleged assailants included Buju Banton.”

The report said

that the attack was motivated by hatred of gay men. The victims said the assailants

called them “battymen,” a derogatory term for a homosexual.

Banton said the

charges were “completely untrue and wholly unfounded.”

Banton’s

song “Boom Bye Bye” is well known for the violence it calls for

against homosexuals. Banton has said he recorded the song in 1992 and has not

made another song in that vein since.

“Buju Banton

has never repudiated the sentiments of the song ‘Boom Bye Bye’,”

the organization countered. “Furthermore, it is reported that Buju Banton

continues to perform the song.”

Opposition against

the singer is mounting. In Germany, Banton’s September appearance at the Reggae

Jam Festival in Saarbruecken was cancelled.

Appearances in

Hamburg and Darmstadt have also been dropped. Festival organizers said they

were so disgusted with Banton’s lyrics that they immediately cancelled

his shows, even if it meant losing money.

A report last week

said that an arrest warrant was issued for Banton in Jamaica so police could

question him about the attacks.

In addition to

being banned and his concerts being nixed, gay rights groups put pressure on

German sportswear company Puma, who agreed to cancel sponsorship deals with

Banton and other artists if they violate the company’s non-discrimination

policy.

Banton just released

a new single, "Magic City," from his forthcoming album Rasta Got

Soul.

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