Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A concert in Britain by Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton has been canceled following protests by the local gay community

Mike Collett-White:

Banton, whose lyrics have been described as homophobic, was due to play later on Wednesday at the Concorde 2 venue in the southern English seaside resort of Brighton, considered to be Britain's "gay capital".

"Due to unprecedented pressure from the council, members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and the police, Concorde 2 have been left with no choice other than to cancel the Buju Banton event," the club said on its Web site.

It added that it was concerned about losing its license were the gig to go ahead, although it defended the original decision to stage it.

Concorde 2 sought to assure authorities that Banton would not perform his most notorious song "Boom Bye Bye", written in 1992, which describes a gay man being shot in the head.

"Buju has metamorphosed from a rude boy/teenage phenomenon, causing controversy with the track 'Boom Bye Bye' (which he no longer performs in the UK) into a self assured Rastafarian deejay and singer," Concorde 2 said.

Welcoming the decision to cancel the gig, local authorities argued that the question of whether Banton performed the offending track or not was irrelevant.

"We weren't interested in seeing his set list," said a spokesman for the Brighton & Hove city council.

"The position is that tours are usually used to sell records, and all the offending tracks are still on sale."

The council had warned the club it would consider withdrawing its license had the concert been staged, because it raised questions over whether Concorde 2 was helping "to meet the council's community safety objectives.

"It's questionable how they're doing that by helping promote records which advocate shooting gay people and pouring acid over them."

A July 29 concert by another controversial Jamaican reggae act, Beenie Man, has been canceled at the Bournemouth International Center after police raised concerns over the "violent and homophobic nature of song lyrics."

In November, 2004, a venue in Milton Keynes canceled a gig by Jamaica's Sizzla Kalonji after pressure from gay rights group Outrage!, which said he advocated killing lesbians and gay men.

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