Both AEG Live/Goldenvoice and Live Nation have cancelled upcoming concert dates for Jamaican dancehall artist Buju Banton, due to community pressure over the promotion of an artist whose lyrics are anti-gay. The Gay Liberation Network protested Live Nation’s bookings for over a week before the promoter axed its shows.
The cancelled shows included House of Blues concerts for Live Nation in Chicago on October 1, Las Vegas on October 15, Dallas on October 20 and Houston on October 22. AEG Live had him booked at the Nokia Club in Los Angeles on October 14. His Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA show on October 10 and Philadelphia Trocadero Theatre gig on September 12 were also axed. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.
There is a still a bevy of Banton shows on the books — ones not promoted by AEG Live or Live Nation. He also performed shows earlier in the year in the United States.
Banton’s anti-gay lyrics started back in 1992 with his single “Boom, Bye Bye” that proposed pouring acid on gays and shooting them in the head.
“I hope this victory sends a deafeningly loud message to other promoters and concert venues, that singers who glorify violence against LGBT people, or any group of people, should never be welcomed,” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean in a statement. “It shouldn’t be necessary for us to pressure promoters to do the right thing; people like Banton should never have been booked in the first place.”
Jean further commented: “In his home country of Jamaica, Banton and his fellow performers of ‘murder music,’ have helped to create and sustain a culture in which violence against LGBT people is not only tolerated, it’s sometimes celebrated. The Center is an ardent supporter of free speech and artistic expression, but we cannot — and will not — tolerate speech in any form that promotes violence against LGBT people.”
Banton is not the first artist to be banned at the House of Blues. In 2004, reggae vocalist Capleton was cancelled due to lyrics that promoted violence against gay and lesbians, and in 2005, Sizzla got axed over lyrics that included the line “I go and shoot queers.”