Buju Banton has been prominent in the fight against HIV/AID

Dear Editor,

I am sure that everyone is aware of the concert dubbed “The Guyana Music Festival” which is scheduled to be held on October 27, 2007 at the Providence Cricket Stadium. The promotional hype for this event is at a frantic pace, since it boasts several international musical acts such as, Third World Band, Mr. Easy, Kiprich, Collie Buddz, and Buju Banton. I hope this event will be an incident free one for all stakeholders involved.

However as I was perusing your daily newspaper, I kept noticing a particular group which represents persons of “Alternative Lifestyles” in Guyana (SASOD) have been giving Buju Banton negative criticism on the eve of this concert. Now I question the modus operandi of this group.

Mr. Banton recorded a song titled “Boom Bye Bye” almost sixteen years ago, as a young, dancehall reggae artiste.

In this song he was very outspoken about his stance on the issue of homosexuality. His lyrics did not sit well with Gay Rights Organizations/Communities. The lyrics were deemed “Homophobic” and as a result several concerts where he was featured were cancelled due to pressure exerted by these same kind of groups overseas.

Now over the years, Buju has reinvented himself and his style of singing since he is now a Rastafarian, and his songs now deal with the challenges being faced by poor folks which is evident in his many album releases, which has elevated his status in the dancehall arena as one of the mega stars.

I want to remind the SASOD organization that Buju was at the forefront in the fight against the HIV AIDS virus, with his foundation “Operation Willy” which gave fame to the song “Rubbers” with the words “ragga muffin’ don’t be silly, put a rubber on ya’ willy, aids ah’ go ’round and we na’ want ketch it”. After that hit song, he recorded several other songs with good clean content such as: Hills and Valleys, Single Parent, Till Shiloh, Love Sponge, Driver, and too many more to mention.

The members of the SASOD organization wrongly insist that he still peddles “homophobic” lyrics when clearly his work has shown, that he has moved away from that kind of singing and he only sings songs of positive meaning.

Buju may have made a mistake like many other young artistes looking to make a name for themselves, at least he was man enough to change his ways, to make a positive impact with his music, unlike many other artistes. He has paid his dues in the form of canceled concerts, and he should be allowed to continue singing.

S Smith

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