Several gay-rights groups are protesting a Halloween-night concert at a city of Miami-owned hall by Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton, whose hit song "Boom Bye Bye" advocates shooting gays in the head and setting them on fire.
"The message is that gay people's lives are cheap, and that harming gay people is OK," said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a statewide gay-rights group calling for the concert to be canceled. "Any time a message of violence and hatred against any group is put out there, it has to be challenged."
Banton, with homes in Tamarac and Jamaica, could not be reached for comment. His South Florida promoter, Andrew Minott of Global Vybz Entertainment, says Banton, 36, stopped singing "Boom Bye Bye" years ago.
"He did that song they're referring to when he was 15 years old," Minott said. "The song was forgotten about. Because they are making it a big issue, it's come to the forefront. Let sleeping dogs lie."
A YouTube video, however, shows Banton singing "Boom Bye Bye" during a May 2006 concert at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami.
Minott said non-Jamaicans often misunderstand the lyrics of reggae performers like Banton and Beenie Man.
"It's a dance hall phrase, 'Let's murder him. Murder the boy over there,'" Minott said. "It's not literal. It's figurative."
Minott has paid a $3,000 deposit to rent the city-owned James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami for the Oct. 31 concert. Scheduled to share the bill with Banton: Beenie Man, whose song titles include "(Batty Man Fi Dead) Queers must be killed." Amid similar protests in 2004, MTV bounced Beenie Man from a concert during the Video Music Awards in Miami.
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