News: Gay Rights Groups Speak Out Against Reggae Star Buju Banton, Grammy Awards Recognition

Friday, Jan 29, 2010 3:05PM

Written by Biz Jones

Gay rights groups have voiced their displeasure that incarcerated reggae rapper Buju Banton was nominated for an award at this weekend's Grammy ceremony.

According to reports, the rapper has caught heat for past anti-gay remarks in songs.

Gay rights groups angry about a Grammy nomination for jailed Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton took out a full page advert on Friday, protesting the honoring of an artist they said had "promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career." Banton, 36, is up for a best reggae album award for his "Rasta Got Soul" release at the Grammys on Sunday. In an advert in Hollywood show business paper Daily Variety, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center urged Grammy organizers to use Sunday's televised ceremony to denounce music "that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people." The lyrics of Banton's most controversial song "Boom, Bye Bye" in 1988, promote the murder of gay men by shooting or burning. (ABC News)

Still behind bars, Buju's attorney claimed the United States government intentionally set-up the rapper to be arrested on drug charges last year.

In court documents filed Tuesday, David Markus says the government used a paid informant to convince his client to buy cocaine. The defence is pushing to have the informant's identity revealed. To prove entrapment, Markus will have to show that Banton was not predisposed to engage in criminal behaviour and that the government induced him. (Canadian Press)

Earlier this month, Buju refused to seek a plea deal for drug charges.

Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton has pleaded not guilty to a drug charge in a Florida federal court. Banton was arraigned Thursday (Jan. 7) on a charge of conspiring to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota last month. The 36-year-old singer, born Mark Myrie, did not seek bail. If he bonded out of jail, he would be held by immigration officials. Banton's attorney says his client is innocent and does not plan to seek a deal. Banton will likely miss the Jan. 31 Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for his latest album, "Rasta Got Soul." (Billboard)

He was taken in by authorities last month.

The four-time Grammy nominee is accused along with two others of allegedly attempting to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota last week. Banton was arrested Thursday at his home in Tamarac. The charges carry a maximum sentence of over 20 years in prison. (Carribean World News)

Check out Buju Banton's controversial "Boom Boom Bye" record down below:

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