We received an email today from GLAAD’s
Executive Director (AVS ) Director of Public Relations, Richard Ferraro. In it, he said this:
Today GLAAD, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and a coalition of more than 20 organizations released an open letter that is running as an ad in the Grammy edition of Variety. The letter is to the Recording Academy and protests the nomination of Buju Banton in the Best Reggae Album Category. Letter is live at www.lagaycenter.org and will be at www.glaad.org.
The letter asks the Recording Academy to denounce all music that advocates violence against a group of people during the telecast. We are also issuing a press release (below) aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of homophobia in music.
In December after his nomination was announced GLAAD launched an online petition: http://www.glaad.org/Page.aspx?pid=1149 and had other gay advocacy groups join the protest: http://www.glaad.org/Page.aspx?pid=1155. The LA Center has for years protested concert dates as well as this Grammy nomination.
The baristas have previously expressed our displeasure at how Buju Banton is still finding North American venues to play his music these days, especially when he stated:
“This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot’ and it’s clear. The same night after I met with them (gay associates), they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me? I owe dem nothing, they don’t owe I nothing.”
So, it goes without saying that it seems both incredible and unbelievable that Buju Banton received a Grammy nomination for his latest album.
The ad in Variety is below, and the press release is below the fold.
Dear Mr. Portnow:
When the Recording Academy nominated Buju Banton for a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album, it honored someone who has promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career.
In “Boom, Bye Bye,” which Banton wrote as a youth and continues to perform, he sings that “batty bwoy” and “batty man” (slurs equivalent to “fa–ot”) “have to die” and he will “shoot them in the head” or “burn them.” As recently as three months ago, he refused requests to stop performing the song.
Another song, “Batty Rider” from Banton’s 1993 record, “Mr. Mention,” glorifies the shooting of gay men. And in October 2009, Banton was quoted in news reports as saying: “This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and fa–ots.'”
This type of music has fueled anti-gay violence here and especially in Banton’s home country of Jamaica, where hate crimes against gay men and lesbians–including murder–are common and sometimes celebrated. It is why we opposed his nomination in a letter to you. Your response–that “artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast, despite protests and backlash”–is surprising, as is your defense that the Grammy Awards honor musical achievement “regardless of politics.”
Performers who glorify the murder of gay people through their music aren’t reflecting a “political or cultural perspective,” or “politics,” they’re reflecting their hatred and promoting brutal and illegal violence against a group of innocent people. And to honor an artist such as Buju Banton, honors his extraordinarily hateful work.
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the signatories below, strongly urge you to use the televised Grammy show to denounce all music that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people, and the artists who perform such music.
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
National Black Justice Coalition
People For the American Way
New York LGBT Community Center
New York City Anti-Violence Project
The San Diego LGBT Community Center
Equality California (EQCA)
New York Area Bisexual Network (NYABN)
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Gay Men of African Descent
International Foundation for Gender Education
Queers for Economic Justice
Stop Murder Music Campaign
The Maryland Black Family Alliance
The American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB)
Bisexual Resource Center
Gay Liberation Network
New England GLBT Veterans, Inc.
[Press release from GLAAD and LA’s Gay & Lesbian Center below the fold.]
Promoting Murder is not a “Cultural Perspective” Says Coalition Calling for Action During Grammy Telecast
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, GLAAD Outraged by Buju Banton Nomination and Call on Recording Academy to Denounce Music that Promotes Murder
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2010–In a full page ad in today’s special Grammy-edition of Variety, more than 20 progressive organizations, lead by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, have called on the head of The Recording Academy to use Sunday night’s Grammy telecast to denounce music that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people and the artists who perform such music.
The ad, in the form of an open letter to The Recording Academy’s President Neil Portnow, is in response to anti-gay reggae singer Buju Banton’s nomination for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category. Throughout his career Banton has performed music that glorifies the violent murder of LGBT people, and as recently as three months ago he refused to stop performing such music. Last October he was quoted in news reports saying, “This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs, ‘There is no end to the war between me and fa**ots.'”
In his most notorious song “Boom, Bye Bye” he sings that “batty men (slur equivalent to ‘fa**ot’) get up and run” when he comes, that “they have to die,” and that he will “shoot batty men in the head” or “burn them up bad.” His music has helped foster such an anti-gay culture in Jamaica-where violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is common and sometimes celebrated-that Time magazine recently asked, “Is Jamaica the most homophobic place on Earth?”
“It’s outrageous that The Recording Academy has chosen to honor, with a Grammy nomination, someone who proudly and unabashedly performs music that glorifies the violent murder of gay and transgender people,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “We need to send a strong message to let the Recording Academy and music industry know that promoting artists who advocate such acts feeds a climate of intolerance that can put members of our community at risk for violence.”
In a letter to GLAAD, the Academy claims that the Grammy Awards honor musical achievement “regardless of politics” and that “artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast.”
“Music that promotes the violent murder of LGBT people, or any other group, doesn’t reflect a political or cultural perspective,” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. “It reflects hatred and fosters a culture of violence. Portnow needs to use the Grammy telecast to denounce such music, in no uncertain terms, and those who perform it.”
About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Since 1971 the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the Web at:www.lagaycenter.org.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.
* BooHoo Banton got his candy taken away
* GLAAD Responds to Recording Academy Statement on Buju Banton’s Grammy Nomination
* Condemnation For Buju Banton’s Grammy Nod
* Buju Banton redeclares his war against ‘faggots’
* A first step: anti-gay singer Buju Banton meets with LGBT activists in San Francisco
* More Progress Against “Kill Gays” Performer Buju Banton
* Jamaica’s PM: we must ‘protect the country’ from homosexuality
* Jamaican MP: concerned that ‘violent gays’ are allowed gun licenses
* Who is it OK to hate?
* Buju Banton & the Bashing Connection