Buju Banton & Beenie Man Concerts Axed


London – 6 July 2006

Concerts by reggae stars Buju Banton and Beenie Man have been axed in Brighton and Bournemouth following successful lobbying of council leaders and police by local gay community organisations groups, with the support of gay human rights group OutRage!

“We applaud the decision of the police and council to axe the performance of a singer who advocates the murder of gays and lesbians. Incitement to murder is a criminal offence. Free speech does not include the right to encourage the killing of other human beings,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

OutRage! lobbied the police and council to use their powers (under Section 161 of the Licensing Act 2003), which permit the police to close a licensed premises on the grounds of a possible risk to public safety and public order.

“It could be reasonably argued that the presence of a large number of homophobic fans of an avowedly homophobic singer would threaten the safety and security of the town’s gay citizens as the fans arrive and leave the venue – a risk that would have been compounded by the presence of gay bars not far from the vicinity of the concert ,” said Mr Tatchell.

Section 161 was used by Manchester police to halt a “murder music” concert last year.

“We had an agreement but Buju Banton has broken the spirit and letter of the agreement,” said Mr Tatchell.

Attached are copies of his “kill gays” lyrics – all these records are still on sale and Buju is still profiting from this “murder music”.

“We are told by colleagues in Jamaica that last year he performed Boom Bye Bye,” added Tatchell.

“This song incites the murder of gay people, urging people to shoot gay men in the head, pour acid over them and burn them alive.

“In April this year, on BBC Radio 1Xtra!, Banton defended Boom Bye Bye and his homophobic hatred, claiming he was entitled to his murderous opinions.

“Banton has never apologised for Boom Bye Bye. His record company did apologise many, many years ago (in the early 1990s) but Banton then repudiated the apology and reiterated his homophobic incitements to murder.

“He has since regularly performed Boom Bye Bye. He has also regularly re-released Boom Bye Bye on compilation albums. These are not the actions of a man who shows regret or remorse.

“Buju Banton narrowly escaped conviction earlier this year for a violent assault on gay men in their home in Kingston, Jamaica. These gay men are adamant that Banton was one of gang who homophobically abused and beat them.

“Banton is an unrepentant homophobe who has incited the killing of gay people. Inciting murder is a criminal offence in every country.

“Even if Banton agrees not to perform Boom Bye Bye, this is unacceptable. To give him a concert platform would be the equivalent of hosting a neo-Nazi singer on the condition that he promised not to sing about gassing Jews.

“Since I am sure no one would host a singer who called for the lynching of black people, we expect the authorities to take a similar stance against singers who call for the shooting and burning of gay people.

“We want zero tolerance towards incitements to murder gays and lesbians,” said Mr Tatchell.

As well as Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have also violated the agreement to end lyrics and statements inciting the murder of gays and lesbians.

“Last Hurrah” carnival concert – Jamaica – Sunday April 3, 2005

Sponsored by Supreme Ventures and others

“It is alleged by various people who were at the concert, and others who watched it on TV, that both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer sang songs, and / or made statements from the stage, which either encouraged the murder of lesbians and gays, or reaffirmed their previous encouragements to kill queers,” said Mr Tatchell..

It is reported that Beenie Man came on stage and sang a song he wrote about not apologising to gays regarding his violently homophobic lyrics.

He said something like:

“Me not apologizing to no funnyman”(gay man)”.

This song and statement amounts to a reaffirmation of his previous lyrics advocating the murder of lesbians and gay men.

Bounty Killer followed in a similar vein, saying:

“Man that come here to look pon man fi dead”
(a man who comes here to look on another man must die)

In the context, this is an incitement to kill gay men.

Other comments from the artists variously included:
“Fire fi the man dem that looking man” (burn gay men)
“Gunshot for a funnyman” (shoot gay men)

Both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have, in the view of the Jamaican gay rights group J-Flag, broken the letter and the spirit of the agreement we reached to suspend the Stop Murder Music campaign.

The promoters of the Last Hurrah concert, including Red Stripe, have taken a similar view. They have announced the withdrawal of all sponsorship from Beenie Man and Bounty Killer – and from events with which they are involved,” said Mr Tatchell.