(AllHipHop News) Reggae legend Buju Banton’s faith got him through the “hell” of spending almost a decade in prison in the U.S. on drugs charges.
The Jamaican star was arrested by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Miami, Florida in 2009, and he was convicted of drug trafficking and firearm offenses in February 2011.
He was released in December 2018 and returned to his homeland, and tells The Guardian he got through the “improvised hell” of jail through his Rastafari faith, reading and reflecting.
“Time and space is relative,” he says. “You have to shield your mind, and as a man of hope and a man of faith I can see the world is right there and I am right there, but can absent myself from the mundane existence.”
The star also stayed strong due to his pride in his ancestors, who fought with Jamaica’s Maroons, a coalition of escaped slaves and indigenous people who fought British colonizers so successfully that Maroon communities persist to this day.
“My Maroon heritage is very important to I, because it kept I close to my roots and my origins,” Buju adds. “I think about it every day. It kept me solid through the recent years, because I know how my people suffered long and they fought hard for freedom. It puts my struggles into perspective and shows why every black man have to fight.”
He has now released a new album, Upside Down 2020, which features contributions from the likes of John Legend and Pharrell Williams, and is determined to look to the future.
“You have to move forward – it’s liberation,” he explains. “There is no future in the past. Let it serve as a guiding force, but that’s all. Music is in my blood. I can’t lock myself in a single room; evolution is what you’re supposed to do.”