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Germany axes reggae murder music

OutRage! News Service | 20.08.2004 16:38 | Culture | Gender | World

Buju Banton’s concerts cancelled

LONDON - 20 August 2004 – Buju Banton's appearance at the Reggae Jam Festival in Saarbruecken, Germany, on 3 September, has been cancelled. Concert appearances in Hamburg and Darmstadt have also been dropped.

Dragan Nikitovic, the promoter of the Saarbruecken festival, was so disgusted by Banton´s lyrics, which incite the murder of gay people, that he immediately cancelled Banton´s performance, saying he was prepared to do so even if it meant losing money.

The German gay rights group LSVD is taking legal advice in a bid to have Buju Banton prosecuted under German incitement to murder and hate-crime laws.

Today Claudia Roth, the German Member of Parliament and Human Rights Commissioner, added her voice to the calls for action against Banton by writing to the concert organisers, asking them to cancel concerts by hate-singers.

Ms. Roth previously was the chairwoman of the German Green Party and the chairwoman of the Green Party Group in the European Parliament.

In her letter to reggae promoters, Ms Roth says: "I do not want to live in a country where people openly incite hatred and violence against minorities. I appeal to you as the promoters to forego the planned appearances of Buju Banton in Germany."

These successes follow a vigorous campaign by the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) to stop the promotion of homophobic violence by Jamaican murder-music singer Buju Banton.

The campaign has won support from top civic and government officials.

Philipp Braun, LSVD spokesperson says: "Buju Banton does not only call for the murder of gay people in his song Boom Bye Bye, he is also suspected of involvement in a gay-bashing attack in Kingston, Jamaica."

In a statement issued today, the Jamaican lesbian and gay group J-FLAG said: “On 24th June, 2004, we received a call for help from six men who reported to us that Buju Banton, along with a group of men, forced entry at gunpoint to their home, proceeded to beat them, ransacking the home and destroying various items of personal property. Two of the victims were later treated at the University Hospital for injuries sustained in this attack. Yesterday J-FLAG reported that there is an arrest warrant for Buju Banton in Jamaica.”

Reports that Banton is wanted by the police for questioning about the attack have been confirmed by the German newspaper, Die Hamburger Morgenpost, as well as by Amnesty International.

Buju Banton has not apologised for his lyrics inciting the murder of gay people, and he performed Boom Bye Bye on 8 August at a concert in Negril, Jamaica. The song was re-released as recently as 2001 on a Greatest Hits album.

"It is wholly appropriate that Saarbruecken, Darmstadt and Hamburg have dropped Buju Banton. Reggae promoters in Uebersee/Chiemsee, Hamm, Bremen and Berlin should come to the same conclusion and drop this musician immediately. It is unacceptable that local concert stages are used by artists who incite the murder of gay people" says Mr Braun.

The LSVD has informed the German Public Prosecutor’s office and handed them a detailed dossier on Buju Banton. It has asked them to examine translations of his hate-lyrics, investigate their distribution in Germany, and to ensure (if a concert goes ahead) that no statements are made from the stage which constitute a violation of the criminal offence of incitement.

Earlier in the week, the LSVD successfully negotiated with German sportswear company, Puma, to agree to cancel sponsorship deals with artists, including Buju Banton, if they violate Puma´s strict non-discrimination policy. Senior Puma officials have already warned Banton that he will lose Puma sponsorship immediately if he continues to make homophobic statements.

"Buju Banton's concerts are being cancelled left, right and centre. There are moves to have him prosecuted under German incitement to murder and hate-crime laws. Even the handful of venues who are agreeing to honour their contractual obligations are unlikely to ever host Buju
Banton again. His career in Germany is finished," said Mr Braun.

"All the other artists who incite the murder of gay people will eventually suffer the same fate" he added.


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Display the following 3 comments

  1. Outrage behaving Outrageously — asha
  2. fight homophobia — asha is a dork
  3. Dancehall Fans Against Homophobia — DFAH