Saying he stopped performing his notoriously homophobic 1992 dancehall tune “Boom Bye” long ago in 2007, Jamaican-born reggae star Buju Banton has removed the song from his catalog, any platform his can control, and any place his has influence over. The ban comes only three months following Banton’s release from a United States prison after serving a seven-year sentence on drug charges.
Banton wrote the song, which was about a pedophile who molested a boy, when he was a teenager has resurfaced over the song recently, with considerable coverage about it in the media, but it has been removed from numerous music streaming services, including Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify. Banton says he recognizes that the song caused considerable pain to listeners and to his fans, his family, and himself. After his experience of adversity, he now says he is determined to put the song in the past and continue his efforts to move forward “as an artist and as a man.” Everyone has a right to live as they choose, he added, noting that he welcomes everyone to his performances “in a spirit of peace and love.”
Ronnie Tomlinson, Banton’s producer, said they do not want anyone to think the artist was pressured into making a statement on the issue. They understand how some perceived the song and there were concerns about it, so it was decided that Banton would reiterate his position. The influential song has been referenced in both reggae and hip-hop genres over the past 20 years and will always be part of Banton’s history, but he is emphatic about focusing on the fact that now he is leading with love.
Banton’s highly anticipated “Long Walk to Freedom” tour, which opened in Kingston, Jamaica, is scheduled to perform at numerous international venues, including the Summerjam Festival in Cologne, Germany.