Jamaican Police Hunt Famed Reggae Singer in Gay Beatings
365Gay.com, July 19, 2004
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Kingston, Jamaica—Buju Banton, one of Jamaica’s most
famous singers, is accused of taking part in a brutal attack on a group of gay
men in Kingston.
Police allege that Banton was one of about a dozen armed
men who forced their way into a house and beat up the occupants while shouting
homophobic insults. Several people were taken to the hospital following the
attack. None of the injuries is described as life threatening.
Banton, whose song Boom Boom Bye Bye threatens gay men
with a “gunshot in ah head”, was identified by several witnesses. Police
say at this time he is wanted only for questioning.
Human Rights Watch says it is concerned that Banton may
never face charges.
“There is a pattern of police indifference to attacks
on gay men in Jamaica that goes far beyond what Buju Banton is alleged to have
done in this case,” said Rebecca Schleiser of HRW.
“Neither his fame nor the stigma attached to the
victims should stand in the way of a full, fair and complete police
British gay rights group Outrage has campaigned against
Banton and other reggae singers whose music advocates violence against gays.
“This substantiates our claims of the links between
murder music and actual physical violence against gays and lesbians,” said
Outrage spokesperson Peter Tatchell in a statement.
“Critics of the campaign [to stop murder music] have
said that the homophobic content of his lyrics is ‘ironic’ or just
‘fantasy’. “Now the star is wanted for a very real violent incident.”
Last month, a concert in London by Beenie Man, another
Jamaican singer who calls for beating and killing gays, was cancelled.
One of Beenie Man’s songs contains the lyrics: “I’m
a dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.”
The cancellation of the concert came less than two weeks
after the brutal slaying of Brian Williamson, Jamaica’s most prominent gay
His body was discovered in his Kingston apartment by a
roommate returning home from work. Williamson was lying facedown in a pool of
blood. He had been stabbed numerous times in the neck.
Gay sex is illegal in Jamaica, punishable by jail, with
the possibility of hard labor.
[Home] [World] [Jamaica]