It’s sort of hard to launch a campaign against a concert tour promoter when there are only, like, two left in the country. Which are about to merge. For the past few weeks, Live Nation (which is trying to team up with Ticketmaster) has been taking heat for promoting four U.S. shows for Buju Banton, the noted Jamaica reggae artist who uses his lyrics to taunt homos and encourage others to sic ’em till they’re dead. Why, rational people wondered, was an American corporation trying to profit from such hatred? Well, Live Nation has finally made a call: they won’t.
The concert-merchandising giant agreed to cancel Banton’s four U.S. dates at Live Nation-owned House of Blues venues in Dallas, Chicago, Houston, and Las Vegas.
Except Banton’s U.S. tour isn’t dead yet. In fact, he’s got a helluva lot more performance dates, where he’ll be able to spit lyrics that, you could argue, amount to hate speech and incitement to violence. Here’s one line from a Banton track: “‘Boom bye bye, in a faggot’s head. Rude boys don’t promote nasty men, they have to die.”
Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, which lobbied Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino to quit trafficking in Banton’s hate, also notes these upcoming tour dates with AEG Live: Philadelphia (Sept 12); Providence (Sept 15); Portland, ME (Sept 17); Revere, MA (Sept 18); Charlotte (Sept 23); Raleigh (Sept 24); Norfolk (Sept 25); Richmond, VA (Sept 26); Detroit (Sept 30); Denver (Oct 6); Aspen, CO (Oct 7); Salt Lake City (Oct 8); San Francisco (Oct 10); Tallahassee (Oct 11); Jacksonville, FL (Oct 12); San Jose, CA (Oct 13); Charleston (Oct 14); Los Angeles (Oct 14); Raleigh (Oct 15).
And that’s where the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is involved, lobbying AEG Live’s executives to revoke their support as well.
Now, we’re all for free speech. In fact, we’re fine with anyone who wants to write a song about how terrible homos are, how they’re going to ruin American families, and how they dress funny. That is an exercise in free speech, and we wouldn’t take that from anyone. But Banton traffics in a very different type of speech: hate. And he goes one step further, literally calling for the murder of gays:
Anytime Buju Banton comes
Faggots get up and run.
Boom (gun shot) bye bye (Goodbye, as in you’re dead)
In a faggot’s head
Rude boy don’t promote any nasty (queer) man
They have to die…
Send for the automatic (gun) and
The Uzi (gun) instead
Shoot them, don’t come (to help them) if we shoot them…
If a guy comes near me
Then his skin must peel
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
Notes the Center’s chief Lorri Jean: “If these were artists who sang about murdering any other group of people, no one would be booking them. Promoters, especially huge businesses like AEG Live and Live Nation, must finally understand that there can be no excuse for booking performers who glorify the murder of, or violence against, LGBT people.”
UPDATE: AEG Live has come to its senses and canceled Banton’s tour dates with the company.