On the evening of Wednesday, October 21, 2009 about 20 queer people of color and allies came together at Austin’s Flamingo Cantina to demonstrate their concern about the promotion of music that advocates for the killing of LGBT. allgo protesters chanted, distributed nearly 200 copies of the statement of concern (included below) and engaged in meaningful discussions with concert goers, club employees, passersby, and Buju Banton entourage members. We even had an opportunity to engage briefly with Buju himself when he and his band had to pass through our demonstration to enter the club. We are certain that he heard and understood our chant, “hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has got to go”….. because as he passed through the demonstration he began a little dance to the rhythm of our chant.
Several people who came to attend the concert decided not to attend after reading our statement of concern or talking with us. Two young women joined the protest and now see themselves as part of the allgo family. One demonstrator engaged with a Buju entourage member off and on for several hours. We certainly achieved our goal to non-violently articulate allgo’s position, bring attention to the impact that the promotion of hate and murder has on our community, and provide concert goers and others with information.
We heard from many people who would have liked to attend the demonstration that the late announcement impacted their ability to come. We made a determination to go forward with a demonstration very late due to our desire to give the Flamingo Cantina an opportunity to respond to our requests for a conversation. On Wednesday morning when we did not have a response from them we began making preparation for a demonstration. The spirits of all of you who couldn’t be there were with those who were able to participate.
The Promotion of Murder and Hate is not Entertainment
allgo: Statement of Concern
As Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender people of color, we are confronted with homophobia, racism and sexism in our everyday lives. We see it in the media, hear it in music and experience in our communities. At allgo, we strive to bring about a day when our communities are visible and respected for whom and what we are. Today we are confronted with those who make money off of advocating the murder of our sisters and brothers. Those who sell out humanity in the name of the almighty dollar only serve to remind us of the corroboration that began the trans-Atlantic slave trade and oppressive colonization. Jamaican Reggae artist Buju Banton has unapologetically dehumanized LGBT people in the name of making a buck and distorts Jamaican culture to justify advocating the hatred and murder of LGBT people.
In Jamaica and all over the world, LGBT people have been drowned, mutilated and set on fire because others thought they might be gay. All the while Buju Banton was making money off of his song “Boom Bye Bye” which boasts shooting women and men with Uzis and burning their skin with acid “like an old tire wheel.” Just last month he said that “There is no end to war between me and ******.” No end to a war that has our LGBT sisters and brothers as its casualties, while people like Buju make money.
Let there be no mistake. This is not just about Buju or just Reggae culture, nor just about Jamaica. We DEPLORE any song lyric that advocates the mental or physical killing of fellow black people for entertainment.
LGBT people of color are the ones, who in the end and by our silence, will be knifed and killed the quickest and there will be no dramatic presentation to commemorate our life. We fellow people of color, queer as well as allies, stand against misogyny and homophobia from the pulpit to the concert stage. We cannot allow racism and homophobia to pit us against each other or allow people like Buju and others to make enormous profit out of dividing oppressed people.
Venues all over the country and in Texas have canceled Buju Banton concerts and in many cases those concerts have been rescheduled in other venues. Venues cancel due to the controversy and other venues continue to book Buju because they can make money with little regard to the human consequences. An employee of the Flamingo Cantina stated that all the Flamingo Cantina cares about is the money and they think that Buju will bring in some money. He said that they are a business and do not care about any political talk.
The Flamingo Cantina will make money tonight, Buju will make money tonight. Now and tomorrow, here, in Jamaica and all over the world we will continue to struggle for safety, respect and dignity. This is about humanity.