All Rights reserved
Billboard.com reports that Buju Banton had two words for gay rights groups who have been protesting his concerts across the U.S.: "Fuck them."
"I have never bashed any gays before, and if I bashed gays, I bashed them 16 years ago," Banton tells the Web site. "There's no tolerance from [the gay community]. I'm not a gay basher. I'm not a homophobe."
The 33-year-old Jamaican star was blasted for his controversial 1992 song "Boom Bye Bye," which preached violence against gays. Banton was also accused of taking part in an attack on gay men in Kingston, Jamaica; however, he was cleared of all charges in January of this year. Despite being found innocent, several of Banton's scheduled performances have been canceled due to protests. Concerts in both Los Angeles and San Francisco were canceled this month; another in Boulder, Colo., was picketed by protesters but still went on.
Banton is touring to promote his new album, Too Bad, his first release on his own Gargamel label. Though not the first reggae musician to start his own record company, Banton hopes the trend will continue.
"It doesn't matter whatever happens to me. It's the uprising that's important," he went on to say. "In Jamaica the industry is changing from the hands of the oppressors into the hands of the artists, but the problems come because artists do not know the principles of the music business. We are emerging to be a force to be reckoned with, ruling our destiny." (The Advocate)