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Buju Banton's Grammy nomination angers gay rights groups

January 29, 2010 |  5:36 pm

Buju Buju Banton's unlikely Grammy nomination for best reggae album might alarm some local music fans who remember the controversy over his most recent American tour. Last summer, gay activist groups successfully derailed many dates on Banton's trek in response to his refusal to disavow lyrics in his 1988 song "Boom Bye Bye" that advocates brutal violence against homosexuals.

Banton was quoted as recently as last year as saying he "saw no end to the war" between himself and gays that he depicts in his lyrics.

Banton is nominated for his 2009 album "Rasta Got Soul," though he's currently in jail in Florida awaiting trial on cocaine-related charges and won't attend Sunday's ceremony at Staples Center.

Gay rights groups, including GLAAD and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, placed an ad in today's Daily Variety calling on the Grammys to denounce homophobia in music and any art "that promotes or celebrates violence against any group of people." In a letter to GLAAD, however, the Recording Academy said that it honors artists "regardless of politics" and that "artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast."

-- August Brown

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times