Late yesterday afternoon huge concert promoter Live Nation announced that it was canceling all its concerts with "kill gays" performer Buju Banton. This includes House of Blues concerts previously scheduled for Chicago (10/2), Las Vegas (10/15), Dallas (10/20) and Houston (10/22).
In early August, Chicago's Gay Liberation Network initiated a campaign for Live Nation and other concert promoters to cancel Buju Banton concerts because the performer calls for killing Lesbians and Gays in the lyrics of his songs. Thousands of flyers were distributed and protest messages started to pour into Live Nation officials.
"Live Nation, owner of four House of Blues locations at which 'kill gays' singer Buju Banton was scheduled to appear, has done the right thing and canceled the hate monger," said Bob Schwartz of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network. "These cancellations show the power of protest to deliver the goods," said Schwartz, who has led several protests against "murder music" performers over the years.
Schwartz had written Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino to demand that Banton not be rewarded with bookings for advocating the murder of lesbians and gay men. "We first wrote Live Nation several years ago following their purchase of House of Blues to alert them to the Jamaican Reggae 'Dancehall' singers who advocated killing gays, and had thought we wouldn't have to go down this road again. We hope they have finally gotten the message," said Schwartz.
In Buju Banton's native Jamaica, anti-gay violence is rife and typically tolerated by the authorities. Gay sex is punishable by 10 years in prison. Buju Banton both feeds off of and encourages this violence. As Passport magazine reported,
"When [Human Rights Watch researcher Rebecca] Schleifer visited Jamaica in 2004, Brian Williamson, the country’s leading gay activist, was violently chopped to death with a machete in his apartment in Kingston. Schleifer walked to his street shortly after the murder and found a crowd of people gathered outside Williamson’s apartment singing and celebrating his murder and shouting the chorus of 'Boom Bye Bye,' a popular Buju Banton dancehall hit about shooting gay men: 'Boom bye bye, in a faggot’s head. Rude boys don’t promote nasty men, they have to die.' Others were laughing and yelling, 'Let’s get them one at a time,' and, 'That’s what you get for sin.'”
While the Live Nation House of Blues cancellations are an important victory over Buju Banton, our work is not done yet.
Other concert promoters in several other cities are still sponsoring his concerts:
Philadelphia (Sept 12); Providence (Sept 15); Portland, ME (Sept 17); Revere, MA (Sept 18); Charlotte (Sept 23); Raleigh (Sept 24); Norfolk (Sept 25); Richmond, VA (Sept 26); Detroit (Sept 30); Denver (Oct 6); Aspen, CO (Oct 7); Salt Lake City (Oct 8); San Francisco (Oct 10); Tallahassee (Oct 11); Jacksonville, FL (Oct 12); San Jose, CA (Oct 13); Charleston (Oct 14); Los Angeles (Oct 14); Raleigh (Oct 15)
AEG Live is the promoter behind most of the remaining concerts on Buju Banton's U.S. tour. You can sign the LA Community Center's petition to AEG Live HERE.
If you are in any of these other cities, please begin organizing your own protests! The Gay Liberation Network will be willing to assist you as best as we can. Email us at LGBTliberation@aol.com