gay inc.

Does Starting an Online Petition to Fight Buju Banton Qualify as GLAAD’s Activism?


The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, whose entire strategy for the years 2009-13 fits on a single page and includes no specifics, has launched an online petition to fight the Grammy nomination of Buju Banton. As we best understand it, GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios — whose salary appears to remain unkown — wants the Recording Academy to pull a Milli Vanilli and withdraw any recognition of the anti-gay reggae artist.

GLAAD, which counts 15,000 “contributing members,” has posted the petition here through, and has seen its efforts retweeted just 55 times.


More significantly, after email blasting a link to the petition, GLAAD has seen just 427 people sign their names to it– and there’s a goal of just 1,000 names. (For the record, that’s a goal of getting just 6.66 percent of its active donation roster to fill out a web form.)

Meanwhile, a petition to save something called “Rabbit Residence Rescue” — yes, a facility to save rabbits — started by a guy with an address, has racked up 587 signatures.

UPDATE: The Recording Academy responds:

The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards have a long history of supporting freedom of speech and creative expression, and of supporting artists and the music they create. Artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast, despite protests and backlash. The Academy acknowledges that there are very strong and diverse opinions on many issues and in many instances, we have helped initiate dialogue on matters that require education and further discussion. It takes tolerance to teach tolerance, and it is through dialogue and debate that social discovery may occur. The GRAMMY Awards is a celebration and recognition of outstanding musical achievement by music makers, regardless of politics, and that will continue to be our mission.

GLAAD responds:

“While we appreciate the Recording Academy issuing a response, we firmly disagree with their justification for nominating Buju Banton for a Grammmy Award,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “Advocating the murder of gay people is not a ‘political or cultural perspective.’ We urge Recording Academy members NOT to support Buju Banton’s nomination. Ignoring his continued promotion of brutality against gay people sends a message that violence against our community is OK.”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #activism #bujubanton #gayinc. stories and more


  • Bill Perdue

    It helps.

    Dogging his tours in the EU, the US and wherever he climbs out of the sewers by organizing militant, disruptive demonstrations whenever he tries to make a buck would work too.

    He’d pick up a little support from other bigoted scum but not much. Certainly the European and Euroamerican christers aren’t going to come to his defense. Dobson isn’t going to attend any reggae concerts, bigoted or not. A campaign of pickets and demonstrations at his bigotfests would send promoters and advertisers fleeing in droves.

  • Kieren

    Sad but this is how people consider themselves activists: they start a Facebook page or online petition, and that’s where their activism ends.

    We need to get away from our computers and start being seen again. I’m not saying stop the online efforts, but they should only be a small part of a bigger movement.

  • naghanenu


    Which song did he sing bashing gays? Can someone gimme the title? Is it recent?

    Why am i just hearing about this? What happened to CNN????

  • FakeName

    One example is “Boom Bye Bye” in which he advocates the murder of gay men.

  • JonJon

    For any not-for-profit organization, the salaries are public record….by law. Do the research.

  • Zack

    Oh, I’m sorry. Were you guys actually offended by this Buju Banton nomination? Last I heard, you were downplaying his murderous lyrics to chastise GLAAD for not condemning Katy Perry. Give the organization a break.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @ Zack

    Exactly. Queerty people are the most unhappy and fucked people around…

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    Also, we’ve all worked for non profits.

    Using the term of a single page is so beyond INSANE. You KNOW it was done on a single page to make it more accessible for some. Should they put up a 100 page or more PDF??

    How will the lay man or woman understand that?!

  • alan brickman

    you just empower his songs by banning them..every “gangster” will have them on their ipod…trust me…

  • Rich

    Ah yes–let’s drag down people and organizations dedicated to actually improving the lot of folks in our community. That makes perfect sense.

    I have another idea: let’s be constructive. Have ideas on how to improve activism in the age of social media? Let’s discuss those.

  • AndrewW

    @ Rich:

    Before “we” start providing ideas – please tell us how GLAAD is doing a good job? How we need them, instead of our new media that has essentially replaced GLAAD’S efforts.

    Why do we even need GLAAD? We have given GLAAD more than $200 million – with little to show for it. Please explain why they should continue to exist. Their donations are way down and dropping quickly – if you have some rationale to keep them, please share.

  • SamK

    This is Buju Banton’s fourth Grammy nomination.

    Buju Banton’s song “Boom Bye Bye” calls for gay men to be shot in the head, shot with an Uzi, have acid thrown on them and then to be burned like an old tire. The song is basically a paraphrase of Leviticus 20:13. He wrote the song about 21 years ago when he was 15 and it was released on a single in 1992. He apologized for the song in 1992 and then continued singing the song until 2004 or later.

    He has a newer anti gay routine. He didn’t perform it on this 2009 tour of the U.S.

    He has never really distanced himself from the song. Deeply religious, he is still as anti gay now as he was in 1992.

    More information: and

  • SamK

    It is worthwhile to have petitions and get out publicity about this nomination now.

    Whether Buju Banton gets a Grammy or not depends upon the Grammy voters. Perhaps some of them are LGBT.

    If Buju Banton does receive a Grammy, then that will be an opportunity for further educational effort.

    Buju Banton and his many reggae dancehall artistes from Jamaica are calling for our deaths, and also for vigilante actions against us including beatings and rapings for lesbians. What does it say about us if we stand quietly by as all of this goes on?

    There have been protests and campaigns against Buju Banton and the other “kill gays” musicians from Jamaica since the early 1990s.

    LGBT people have freedom of speech too! People should look at “Dancehall Dossier” 8 anti gay reggae dancehall performers and their anti gay songs and this document is just a beginning!

  • Swarm

    No it doesn’t qualify for me. In about 30 seconds I can think of more effective methods.

    Has he been on t.v. doing extensive segments say, on Maddow, Olberman and even Fox?

    Create a website specific to Buju Banton. ALA Peta’s KFC Kentucky Fried Cruelty dot com.

    Has he held a press conference admonishing the Grammy voting body? These people are industry insiders who nominated this guy.

    So GLAAD is the media watchdog that won’t or can’t use the media. Time to put a stake in the ground and stop giving out awards. If you can’t get t.v. time for YOUR platforms what’s the point? At least redefine your mission statement, GLAAD.

  • adam

    Would the Grammy organization give a gong to an artist who sang “Kill The Jews” or “Lynch The Blacks”? I doubt it. How then can the Grammy organization justify rewarding a singer who promotes gay killings?

  • hephaestion

    The Recording Academy is full of shit.

    The Recording Academy needs to be shut down. There’s no way this kind of shit would be tolerated if ANY other group was being attacked.

    The Recording Academy is baldly anti-gay and must be taken down and replaced with something else.

  • meh

    meh.. Dr. Dre and Ice-T both have won grammies and both wrote popular songs promoting the killing of police officers.

    i dont listen to dancehall but if the music deserved the award it deserves the award, even if you don’t like the message. art does’t stop being art just because the artist is hateful.

  • Sam Kestu

    Ultimately, GLAAD produced and ran a very powerful ad opposing Buju Banton’s 2010 Grammy nomination. The ad ran in the January 29, 2010 issue of Variety, the Variety Grammies issue.

    The ad was signed by more than 20 groups.

    You can see the ad (PDF file) at

    Here’s a paragraph that I like:

    “Performers who glorify the murder of gay people through their music aren’t reflecting a ‘political or cultural perspective,’ or ‘politics,’ they’re reflecting their hatred and promoting brutal and illegal violence against a group of innocent people. And to honor an artist such as Buju Banton, honors his extraordinarily hateful work.”

    Good work, GLAAD! And thanks to all the groups that supported and signed the ad.

Comments are closed.