Reggae star agrees to sign pledge to stop homophobic lyrics

Buju Banton signs

Reggae star Buju Banton has signed a pledge to stop singing homophobic lyrics.

The rapper has signed the Reggae Compassionate Act set up by the gay rights campaign group Stop Murder Music, following a three-year campaign to bring Banton into line.

As previously reported Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton signed an agreement renouncing homophobia in June.

Banton said: “There’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.”

The rapper has agreed not to make homophobic statements in public, release homophobic songs or authorise the re-release of previous homophobic songs, reports The Guardian.

Banton has been the focus for gay activists since the release of ’Boom Bye Bye’ in the 90s, in which he sings about shooting gay men in the head, pouring acid on them and burning them alive.

Dennis Carney, vice-chairman of the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group, said yesterday (July 22): “These performers are sending a clear message that lesbians and gay men have a right to live free from fear and persecution, both here in the UK and Jamaica.”

Mark Richards, known as DJ Kemist, from reggae label Xtremix, said: “I can see why he’s done it. He doesn’t want to jeopardise his whole career over just a few songs. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to change any of his opinions.”

Carl Edmonson from Jamaican gay rights group J-Flag said: “I really hope that his actions are genuine and it is not just because international pressure is hurting his pocket. We hope it is a sincere commitment that will end homophobic violence.”

Protest by gay rights groups have resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of concerts and sponshorship deals, costing the artists in excess of £2.5 million.