Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buju Banton canceled on threat of protests

Posted By on September 15, 2009, 11:09 AM

The Urban Lounge canceled its Buju Banton concert no less than a few hours after City Weekly first got word that the show would be protested because of the artist's violent and homophobic lyrics.

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Buju Banton, a Jamaican reggae/dancehall performer is reviled by some for his lyrics. Many also doubt his innocence in a 2004 attack against 6 Jamaican men believed to be gay, of which Banton was acquitted.

Banton was scheduled to play Urban Lounge Oct. 8.

Salt Lake City activist Ash Johnsdottir made public her call for a protest against the show only this morning with a press release to media. She said venues that host Banton are "profiting from hate speech."

But not Urban Lounge! Owner Will Sartain, in an e-mail to City Weekly:

When initially scheduling the Buju Banton event we were unaware of his hateful anti-gay message. Upon further review, Urban Lounge has decided to cancel the event. We strive for peace and understanding in our community. We support the rights of all. We have made this decision on moral grounds.

I informed Johnsdottir moments ago that her mission has been accomplished.

"That's fantastic. Thank you to Urban Lounge for doing the right thing," Johnsdottir said.

But it might not be over yet. LA, Frisco, Philly, Chicago, Vegas, Dallas and Houston shows were all canceled by venue owner AEG/Golden Voice. Some were rescheduled at new venues, as you can see on Banton's MySpace page.

Sad thing is, I really like Banton's music, his lyrics notwithstanding. "Boom Boom Bye," the song most often referenced for its violence, is good, if you're into aggressive, contemporary Jamaican music, which I am, a bit, the homophobia notwithstanding. I used to drive around to it all time. %uFFFDBut don't protest me Johnsdottir: I didn't pay a dime for it. I downloaded it for free.

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