Activists urge Dallas club to cancel Buju Banton concert

A Story by Renee Baker, Edge Publications, Oct. 14, 2009.

Buju Banton’s scheduled Oct. 20 concert at the Palm Beach Club in Dallas continues to spark outrage among local LGBT activists.

The Resource Center Dallas and Equality March Texas are calling for immediate action to oppose an upcoming performance of reggae artist Buju Banton at the Palm Beach Club in Deep Ellum on Oct. 20.

The Grammy-nominated Banton was previously scheduled to perform at the House of Blues in Dallas on the same evening he is slated to take the Palm Beach Club stage. The House of Blues cancelled Banton locally as well as in Houston and other venues around the country, but the Palm Beach Club booked Banton.

The Jamaican-born Banton is infamous for continuing to perform his 1992 hit Boom Bye-Bye and its subsequent remixes that appears to advocate violence against gays by burning them “like an old tire wheel.”

Rafael McDonnell, spokesperson for the RCD, urged LGBT North Texans and their allies to contact the Palm Beach Club and ask them to reconsider their decision to invite Banton.

“Be respectful, but ask why they are promoting hate by booking this performer and urge them to cancel the show,” McDonnell said.

Equality March Texas has also called upon the club to cancel the concert by Friday. McDonnell said his organization and Equality Texas met yesterday to determine what, if any, actions they will undertake next week.

Daniel Cates, co-founder of Equality March Texas, added if the Palm Beach Club does not respond by that date, he and other activists will picket. He says that the focus of the activism will be “on the club itself as they have a choice of performers.”

EDGE could not reach Banton for comment, but he met with a group of LGBT activists in Larkspur, Calif., yesterday. San Francisco City Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Eric Mar, LGBT Center executive director Rebecca Rolfe, Andrea Shorter of Equality California and gay activist Michael Petrelis were among those who met with Banton.

“I don’t perform the [Boom Bye Bye] song any more,” Banton said as the San Francisco Examiner reported. “The reality is, I’ve gone past that.”

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach Club stressed to EDGE the establishment and its affiliates “do not condone hate of any kind.” She further echoed the sentiments Banton reportedly made during his meeting with California activists.

“This artist is held up in high regards towards bring people together and sings of peace now in his adult life,” the spokesperson continued. “He has changed his understanding of gays and lesbians.”

In spite of this apparent change of heart, McDonnell said his organization continues to lobby for the cancellation of another scheduled Banton concert in Austin on Oct. 21.

For more on the story, click the EDGE link.

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