Indiana Club Cancels "Kill Gays" Singer After House of Blues Protest
Bloomington, IN club responds to protests in Chicago & locally by cancelling 9/14 Buju Banton performance
CHICAGO - Gay rights activists are applauding the September 13th decision of a Bloomington, IN nightclub to cancel the scheduled September 14th performance of Buju Banton, a dancehall musician who has become infamous in some circles for his graphic advocacy of murdering gays. In his song "Boom, Bye Bye," for example, Banton urges people to shoot gay men in the head, pour acid over them, and burn them alive.
Gay rights activist Morgan Tilleman of the Hoosier Rights Campaign reports that the manager of "The Blue Bird" Club in Bloomington said that he had not heard of the controversy about Banton until news reached him of the pending protest in Chicago, and that it was in response to community concerns about Banton's advocacy of violence against gays that he cancelled the performance just 24 hours before it was to have taken place. Tilleman reports that in place of the cancelled performance, gays and other supporters of equal rights plan to pack the club with patrons as a thank you to The Blue Bird management for its opposition to violent hate.
In Chicago, activists with the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) and Black LGBT & Allies For Equality protested outside the near north House of Blues club on September 13th in advance of a Buju Banton performance there a little later that evening. In August, upon learning that the House of Blues chain was in the process of being purchased by a firm called Live Nation, GLN contacted Live Nation with an offer to discuss the issue of Buju Banton and other "kill gays" performers that House of Blues has sponsored over the past few years.
While Live Nation said that it was "happy to keep the lines of communication open for further discussion," it avoided the issue of a negotiation session, let alone affirmatively pledging to never book performers who advocate violence against gays or any other group. In response, today the Gay Liberation Network issued the following statement:
"We demand that the House of Blues and Live Nation agree that henceforth they will book no performers who advocate death or other violence against Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender people or any other group. It is not 'free speech' to advocate violence and murder of anyone, any more than it is 'free speech' to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater."
"The following entertainers have repeated advocated killing gay people, and have thus far adamantly refused to distance themselves from these remarks, let alone repudiate and apologize for them: Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Capleton, DMX , Elephant Man, Sizzla Kalonji, TOK, and Vybz Karbel."
"House of Blues and Live Nation are under no constitutional obligation to provide a lucrative venue to any violent hate group, whether it be Buju Banton or the Ku Klux Klan. Proactively agreeing to never again sponsor or promote violent hate groups should not be a difficult commitment for any reputable business to make. We call upon House of Blues and Live Nation to respond to this message and make such a proactive commitment by Saturday, October 7th."