In a posting to their website on Friday, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center condemned what they called “the appalling Grammy nomination for Buju Banton, a performer whose music promotes the violent murder of LGBT people.” The Recording Academy announced on Wednesday that Banton’s 2009 album Rasta Got Soul was nominated for Best Reggae Album.
“We’re shocked that Buju Banton, a singer with a long record of performing a song that glorifies the murder of gay people, would be honored with a Grammy nomination, regardless of the artistic merit of any of his work,” said the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s public affairs officer Jim Key, in a statement on the website. “Throughout his career, Banton has performed music that promotes a culture of violence against lesbian and gay people; he sings in ‘Boom, Bye Bye’ that ‘faggots get up and run’ when he comes, that ‘they have to die,’ and that he will shoot them in the head or ‘burn them up bad.’ He is completely unrepentant, refuses to stop performing the song.”
A rep at Gargamel Records, the label behind Banton’s last album, released this statement to EW: “Gargamel Music, Inc. is extremely proud of Buju Banton’s recent Grammy nod for Best Reggae Album for Rasta Got Soul. The fact that this is Buju Banton’s fourth nomination by the Recording Academy is a testament to his artistic excellence and career-long commitment to making quality music that can indeed touch the world.”
Meanwhile, a rep for Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy Awards, said on Dec. 7 via a statement: “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.”