Amid increasingly boisterous protests
from gay rights groups, six additional tour dates by controversial
Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton have been canceled, whittling down
his U.S. tour considerably.
Last month, gay activists managed to
shut down six shows. Cancellations at four House of Blues venues
joined scrapped appearances in San Francisco, at the Regency
Ballroom, and Los Angeles, at Club Nokia.
The tour's first performance at the
Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia was greeted with a loud protest
“We condemn this hate speech and his
call to violence against gays and lesbians, and we also condemn the
exploitation of our community in song for profit,” said Thom
Cardwell, a board member of the Gittings Trust, a Philadelphia-based
gay rights group.
Banton's 1992 hit Boom Bye Bye
advocates for the murder of gay men by shooting them in the head with
a submachine gun and pouring acid on them to “burn him up bad like
an old tire wheel.” Banton has dismissed the controversy, saying
he penned the lyrics when he was “a child” of 15. But the
thirty-six-year-old reggae artists has never repudiated the lyrics
and continues to perform the song.
At least six additional venues have
canceled shows this month.
In Salt Lake City, pressure from gay
activists closed down a scheduled October 8 performance at Urban
Lounge, a downtown venue.
“When initially scheduling the Buju
Banton event, we were unaware of his hateful anti-gay message,”
Will Sartain, co-owner of the club, said in a statement. “Upon
further review, Urban Lounge has decided to cancel the event. We
strive for peace and understanding in our community. We support the
rights of all. We have made this decision on moral grounds.”
A spokesperson for Banton's record
label, the New York-based Gargamel Music, condemned the cancellation
and pledged a Utah concert will take place.
Richmond, Virginia local promoter
Lionheart Promotions was forced to move its September 26 show from
The National to The Hat Factory after the first venue pulled its
In Columbus, Ohio a threatened protest
by gay rights activists managed to shut down an October 3 performance
at the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion. Local gay rights groups –
including Equality Ohio and Stonewall Democrats of Ohio – said the
venue's close proximity to the gay-inclusive neighborhood of
Victorian Village created “a tangible threat to the safety and
well-being” of the gay community.
The Columbus cancellation took down the
tour's entire early October weekend already suffering from
cancellations in Cincinnati and Minneapolis, scheduled for Friday,
October 2 and Sunday, October 4 respectively.
And a Hard Rock Live performance in
Orlando scheduled to take place near the end of the tour, Sunday,
November 1, has also been canceled, according to Ticketmaster.
The tour still enjoys the support of
eighteen scheduled venues, not including the four shows already
completed. And Gargamel Music says it is working to reschedule shows
in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston.