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Antigay singer to play Philly

by Jen Colletta
The Philadelphia Gay News
09-03-2009 - LINK

GLN permalink posted 09-03-2009

A controversial Jamaican singer who has promoted the murder of gays in his music will appear as scheduled for a local concert next weekend, despite show cancellations in other cities.

Last week, concert promoter AEG Live canceled the three Buju Banton shows it was sponsoring — in San Francisco, Los Angeles and one set for Sept. 12 at Philadelphia’s Trocadero — but Jamaican Dave Productions, which was a copresenter of the local show, took over its production.

“We canceled the show, but the venue and the copromoter came to an agreement to go ahead with it,” said Michael Roth, AEG Live spokesperson.

Live Nation also canceled four shows it was involved with at House of Blues venues in Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston.

The two companies were targeted by a recent phone and e-mail protest led by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network and Change.org.

The Philadelphia show, the first on Banton’s U.S. tour, was widely reported in the press to have been canceled as well, but it is the only one of the seven shows the two promoters dropped that will still happen.

Joanna Pang, spokesperson for the Trocadero, said the venue did not play a role in booking Banton, but rather rents space to companies that independently organize events, such as Jamaican Dave Productions, AEG, Live Nation and Clear Channel, and had been unaware of the controversy around Banton beforehand.

Pang said the venue has a contract with Jamaican Dave for the space, which can fit up to 1,200. The production company typically stages five or six reggae shows at the Troc yearly.

David Russell, owner of Jamaican Dave Productions, did not respond to requests for comment.

Banton first drew the ire of LGBT individuals in 1988, when he released “Boom, Bye Bye,” the lyrics of which call for violence against gays, such as, “Any time Buju Banton comes, the faggots get up and run. Boom, bye bye, in a faggot’s head ... They have to die. Send for the automatic and the uzi instead. Shoot them, don’t come if we shoot them.”

Banton was arrested in 2005 and accused of being part of a group that attacked six gay men in Jamaica, but was later acquitted.

The dancehall singer was reported to have signed The Reggae Compassionate Act, a pledge to eradicate violence and homophobia from music, in 2007, but later, denied taking such action.

In addition to the local show, Banton has 12 other performances scheduled.

Jen Colletta can be reached at jen@epgn.com.


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