The Gargamel Music Family is saddened by the vehement persecution of international Reggae star, Buju Banton, by gay activists. The LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) spent tens of thousands of dollars to take out a full page ad in Variety — solely to blast Banton’s well-deserved Grammy nomination for his acclaimed album Rasta Got Soul (Gargamel Music) — when those resources could have been better spent lending a helping hand to our suffering Haitian brothers and sisters.
In the form of an open letter to Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who stands by the nomination, the ad makes the sensational claim that Buju Banton has “promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career” despite the fact that his overwhelmingly positive music catalog proves otherwise. Predictably, they cite the twenty-year-old “anti-buggery missive “Boom Bye Bye,” without ever contextualizing that the song was written by a 15-year-old Buju in response to a widely reported man-boy rape case back in Jamaica.
Replete with misinformation, the letter curiously goes on to say that Buju Banton’s classic hit single “Batty Rider” glorifies the shooting of gay men — even though the song is actually about the popular skin-tight short-shorts young women wore to the clubs back in the ’90s.
The 2010 Grammy nod for Rasta Got Soul is Buju Banton’s fourth. The artist was previously acknowledged by the Recording Academy for his albums Too Bad (2007) Friends for Life (2004) and Inna Heights (1999). Since its release in April 2009, Rasta Got Soul has received rave reviews from such prestigious media outlets as Billboard, Exclaim!, Hip-Hop Weekly and All Music Guide, who called the album an “instant classic.” A documentary-style video for the new single “Optimistic Soul” will premiere in Jamaica soon.