(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Protestors flocked to Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut, for controversial reggae artist Buju Banton’s performance on Sunday night, challenging the rhythmic star’s fans with similarly rhythmic chants:
“1, 2, 3, 4…send Buju out the door! 5, 6, 7, 8…tell Toad’s to stop the hate!”
Yale’s gay activist group Queer Political Action Committee joined the legions of protest organizations in denouncing Banton’s popular music, because the lyrics of his 1992 song “Boom Bye Bye” have been accused of inciting the killing of gay and lesbian people.
Banton is also awaiting trial for a fight in a private home in Jamaica, for which he maintains his innocence. Critics have claimed it was an attack on a gay man.
“Buju is inciting people violence against gay people, and if we’re denouncing Buju here, there’s a reason,” Hugh Baron of Yale’s QPAC told New Haven’s WTNH news station.
“He has every right to say what he wants, but Toad’s has the moral duty to say no,” he continued. “To not host him and other singers just like him.”
Banton has repeatedly told the press that he denounces the lyric, and that it is in his past.
A representative of Toad’s also reported told the news station that Banton’s representatives said he will not be singing any song of hatred against any group.
Rich Lupo, owner of legendary Providence, Rhode Island, venue Lupo’s, where Banton is scheduled to perform tonight, has also faced criticism for the decision to book the controversial artist, as well as similarly controversial Beenie Man.
In a letter written to the Providence Journal, Lupo assured readers that he had fully researched the matter, and felt comfortable with presenting the show – uncomfortable with censoring it.
“Over the course of 30 years, we’ve had about 300 reggae shows at Lupo’s; Beenie Man and Buju Banton have played at Lupo’s many times. A reggae show at Lupo’s is a peaceful experience,” he wrote to the paper.
“To my knowledge, in all these years there have never been anti-gay lyrics from our stage, nor any violence. Each artist has promised he would not perform anti-gay lyrics in the club.”
He went on to address the issue of censoring the artists.
“There is the issue of my rights and artists' rights,” he wrote. “At Lupo's we have never censored a show on the basis of artistic content. I feel this policy is vital. Censorship is censorship. Furthermore, in America, isn't someone innocent until proven guilty? And if a musician has been a felon — such as former convicts Chuck Berry or Charlie Parker — does that mean he or she shouldn't be hired?”
Lupo has been informed by a small group concerned with gay awareness that unless they get nothing short of a cancellation, there will be an “all-college boycott” of tonight’s show. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers