Friday, September 29, 2006

 

Buju Banton concert off - and a question of core values

I only caught the tail end of the story on KMUD news tonight - the gist of which was that Carol Bruno of People Productions had pulled the plug on tomorrow night's Bujo Banton concert set at the Mateel due to some homophobic remarks he'd made 15 years ago - or that's how I heard it having missed the beginning. My first reaction was that people were overreacting. Everybody says stupid things, right? And we're not all raised under the banner of political correctness.

Turns out it was a song, not random remarks. And the song is apparently quite disturbing. From Wikipedia:

Banton has incited a considerable amount of international controversy because of his 1992 song "Boom Bye Bye" which calls for violence against homosexuals - including shooting them in the head, pouring acid over them and setting them on fire. As a result, Banton was forced by his label to issue a statement; nevertheless he refused to apologize, citing his Rastafari religion, citing the Bible (Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13) as the basis for his beliefs. Banton still performs the song, notably at the Smirnoff Festival in Negril, Jamaica 8 August 2004. As a consequence, Banton's concerts are often met with protesting crowds and calls for cancellation. His most recent scheduled performance in Seattle in the diverse neighborhood of Capitol Hill was canceled due to local outrage from the LGBT community.
I'm still uneasy about the censorship portion of the equation, but I do admire Carol for putting principle before her financial interests - and she will take quite a hit over this. Ironically, the tour has been dubbed "the Too Bad Tour."

Estelle reported that she and Carol spent a couple of hours trying to get him or someone representing the band to make some kind of public apology, or indicate in some way that could be conveyed to the young people who listen to him that he's had a change of heart. All the rep would say, off the record, was that they didn't endorse violence.

According to the Wikipedia entry he was also implicated in a more recent incident of violence against homosexuals, but he was acquitted of those charges after posting bail. Give him the benefit of the doubt on his denial I guess - not much is said about the case. Amnesty International isn't so sure of his innocence.

I haven't thought it completely through yet, but I lean towards supporting the decision to shut down the concert. However, I would never attend a Bujo Banton concert sans a complete turnaround with overtures made to the gay and lesbian community. Actually, modern Reggae really isn't my thing anyway. But I was troubled to hear Estelle's interviews from younger members of the community who intended to attend the concert anyway. I certainly hope those opinions aren't representative of the younger generation. Carol mentioned that the e-mails and telephone calls she's received were divided roughly in half. I wonder if we have a generation gap in play here.

In any case, perhaps the topic of my last two radio shows is passe. Maybe we need to ask ourselves if Rastafarianism is a message of peace.

Update: There's a heated discussion on Thank Jah (KMUD) as I'm typing.

Second Update: Estelle Fennel is working feverishly to get a statement from the artist himself for tonight's news. She's made it up to his manager, but they're still being very slippery about it all.

Comments:
Freedom of speech and censorship are tricky issues from any angle. I have harshly criticized you many times for what I believe to be your typical liberal hypocrisy and your latest post fairly reeks of it. BUT, hypocrisy runs the full gamut of all political persuasions and no one is immune. Bujo Banton's 15 minutes ended eons ago. That's why he's playing the Mateel. In spite of your and Heraldo's objections to the contrary, we are all free to speak our minds and we are all free to criticzie others for speaking their minds. It's life and it's not always pretty or pleasant. Get on with it and quit anguishing over the details.
 
I'm thinking about visiting this gay and lesbian community you refer to. Can you tell me what exit I take to get there and are there any good places to eat?
 
anon 812 - Encouraging kids to pour acid onto the faces of gay and lesbians is not a question of "political correctness." It's seriously screwed up.

The Mateel scores a number of big names incidently - particularly in the Reggae industry.

I never said that he doesn't have the right to speak his mind. I simply said that I would not attend a concert of anybody who encourages violence against homosexuals.
 
Check out the unbelievable photo of Arkley that Buhne just published. I guess all that whispering about his drinking was true. He looks awful, a heart attack waiting to happen. Maybe he should stop worrying about being a billionaire and focus on being a bullionaire. Might save his life.
 
In spite of your and Heraldo's objections to the contrary, we are all free to speak our minds and we are all free to criticzie others for speaking their minds.

You misrepresent. We don't have the power to censor you. Sure, we can delete comments on our blogs, but you can get your own blog and say whatever you like.
 
Our commitment to free speech begins with speech we do not agree with; it's easy to be for free speech when it's not threatening.
 
9:25 am .... you retarded dweeb, that's not Arkley! Can't you even read the caption before you mouth off? Maybe you have trouble reading ? Maybe Dick's not the only one that didn't graduate high school?
 
And of course, nobody's suggesting that anybody's free speech be abridged. People Production simply decided that they don't want to be associated with him.
 
Heraldo, it's you who misrepresent. If you'll simply check, I never said anything about the power to censor. I said we have the power to criticize. However, on the subject of censorship, blog hosts do in fact have the power to censor, and I seem to recall you using that power more than once.
 
11:01 - I just checked Buhne's site and there ain't no caption under the photo of the Arkleys. I think you owe 9:25 an apology.
 
I've used it. I don't like using it. But I've had to censor spam, wierd sexual references, creepy comments about private situations, and even one quasi-death threat. Since I've embarked on this hobby, I've found that it's much more complicated than I'd imagined. It's not a harmless medium. It has power. And we have to take some responsibility for what is posted, because it can cause problems for people unchecked.
 
That is an unusually frank response for you Eric and I respect you for it. Censorship is tricky business, but at the end of the day, I don't know a single person who doesn't engage in it to one degree or another. That what makes it hard to criticize others for engaging in it.
 
I've had to censor spam, wierd sexual references, creepy comments about private situations, and even one quasi-death threat.

Yep, that's how it goes.
 
I agree with it and your rationale entirely, but it's still censorship and limiting freedom of speech. No getting around it.
 
I was just reading an article about the internet in the Netherlands and more to the point, the debate over net netrality. The quote from the article that reminded me of this discussion is "Anything goes unless it's forbidden." Kind of sums it up nicely.
 
I'm still working for an effective set of protocols. There are other concerns besides freedom of speech, and it's all a question of degree.
 
tospLu The best blog you have!
 
m92cyw actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Nice Article.
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Nice Article.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Hello all!
 
Thanks to author.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Please write anything else!
 
GonIcE write more, thanks.
 
Magnific!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Nice Article.
 
Nice Article.
 
Nice Article.
 
Magnific!
 
Good job!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Hello all!
 
Please write anything else!
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Hello all!
 
Good job!
 
Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.
 
C++ should have been called B
 
Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
 
What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.
 
What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?
 
Good job!
 
If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.
 
Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?
 
What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?
 
Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
 
Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.
 
All generalizations are false, including this one.
 
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
 
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Save the whales, collect the whole set
 
Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.
 
All generalizations are false, including this one.
 
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!
 
A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.
 
Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?
 
Energizer Bunny Arrested! Charged with battery.
 
Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!
 
What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?
 
Good job!
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!
 
Ever notice how fast Windows runs? Neither did I.
 
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
 
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!
 
Nice Article.
 
When there's a will, I want to be in it.
 
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
 
Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?
 
Ever notice how fast Windows runs? Neither did I.
 
Good job!
 
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