In a quick reversal that shows the growing power of the LGBT community, both AEG Live and Live Nation responded to the public outcry that resulted from their news release yesterday by canceling the Buju Banton concerts. I wrote an article yesterday title, “Homophobic Lyrics: The Show Will Go On?” I think it is great the the LGBT community has such a strong voice thanks to people and organizations like L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. It’s time to stop promoting hate.
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has released the following statement:
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 28, 2009—AEG Live/Goldenvoice (producer of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival) and Live Nation, parent company of House of Blues, all announced last night that they have canceled their respective concerts by Buju Banton. The cancellations followed a huge outcry from people all over the country, angry that these companies were promoting a singer whose lyrics glorify the murder of gay people.
Banton was to perform at Los Angeles’ Nokia Club (Oct. 14), in San Francisco (Oct. 10), Philadelphia (Sept. 12) and at the House of Blues in: Chicago (Oct. 1), Las Vegas (Oct. 15), Dallas (Oct. 20) and Houston (Oct. 22).
“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 Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. “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.”
Hours after the Center issued a news release yesterday morning and launched a Facebook group: “Cancel Shows for ‘Faggots Must Die’ Singer,” hundreds responded with phone calls and email messages to the companies and signed the Center’s online petition, demanding that AEG Live/Goldenvoice and Live Nation cancel the concerts. Gay Liberation Network, based in Chicago, had been protesting against Live Nation for a week.
Through his music, Banton promotes a culture of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, singing in his most notorious song “Boom, Bye Bye” that “faggots get up and run” when he comes, that “they have to die,” and that he will shoot them in the head or “burn them up bad.”
“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,” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. “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.”
In 2004 the House of Blues responded to pressure from the Center and the LGBT community, eventually canceling a concert at its West Hollywood venue by Capleton, a reggae singer who also promoted violence against gay people. And just a year later, the company eventually agreed to cancel a West Hollywood concert by Sizzla, a performer who sang lyrics that included: “I go and shoot queers.”