Buju Banton is refuting rumors that the LGBT community pressured him into banning his 1992 classic single, “Boom Bye Bye.”
Reports recently surfaced that the Grammy Award-winning Reggae superstar has removed the song from his catalog and will not be performing the song in the future.
“In recent days there has been a great deal of press coverage about the song ‘Boom Bye Bye’ from my past which I long ago stopped performing and removed from any platform that I control or have influence over,” Buju Banton said in a statement earlier this month.
“I recognise that the song has caused much pain to listeners, as well as to my fans, my family and myself. After all the adversity we’ve been through I am determined to put this song in the past and continue moving forward as an artist and as a man. I affirm once and for all that everyone has the right to live as they so choose. In the words of the great Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends.’ I welcome everyone to my shows in a spirit of peace and love. Please come join me in that same spiritm,” he added.
Following Buju Banton’s announcement, Dancehall and Reggae fans become inflamed and suggested that he was pressured into banning “Boom Bye Bye.” However, Ronnie Tomlinson, publicist of the “Wanna Be Loved” singer, said that the move is similar to when he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which was drafted by a gay-rights group as part of their Stop Murder Music campaign and was also signed by other artists like Capleton and Beenie Man, in 2007.
“So we don’t want it to seem as if he was pressured or that people were saying he cannot be on shows if he doesn’t give a statement,” Tomlinson said.
“We realized that there were some concerns and so we just decided to say it again. We know he hasn’t performed the song since 2007, but we realized that was 12 years ago and so maybe others didn’t know,” Tomlinson added.
Buju Banton’s rep also shared that the artist has since matured and evolved since recording the song years ago.
“It’s a man who has seen life, who has gone through so much that is making this statement, a man who is saying ‘hear wah, to each man their own’. I think many of us have now come to that term now where we’re saying you live your life and I’ll live mine,” Tomlinson said.
“His music is about love, his legacy is about love, that’s what he wants to be remembered by,” she continued.
This comes after a protest from an LGBT lobby following Buju Banton’s return to Jamaica, last December. “Boom Bye Bye” has been popping up across the world which caused the LGBT community to become concerned.
“Boom Bye Bye,” which has been causing controversy since its release, was recorded by then-teenage Buju Banton in 1988. The track denounces homosexuals and promotes violence towards them.
The backlash Banton experienced from the single was almost enough to silence his career as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights groups lobbied for his ban at several concerts across the globe.
The Dancehall superstar is slated to perform at a number of upcoming shows in the Caribbean as well as Summerjam music festival in Germany. In his recent statement, he explained that he completely removed “Boom Bye Bye” from his catalog, including all streaming platforms that he has control over.