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.
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.
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,”
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.”
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.
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.”
the singer is mounting. In Germany, Banton’s September appearance at the Reggae
Jam Festival in Saarbruecken was cancelled.
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
Banton just released
a new single, "Magic City," from his forthcoming album Rasta Got