Buju Banton, the antigay, Jamaican reggae artist who will stand trial starting Monday for the second time on federal drug trafficking charges that could put him in prison for life, won the Grammy for Best Reggae album Sunday night.
Banton won the Grammy for his latest album, Before the Dawn, which he partially recorded while behind bars.
Banton was caught on tape by law enforcement officials in 2009 checking out some cocaine, putting it on his finger and tasting it, according to the Miami Herald. He was arrested in December, 2009 at his Miami home.
Five months ago, Banton’s first trial ended with a hung jury.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, claims he was entrapped by a confidential informant and got in over his head trying to impress him, who Banton says implied he could help his music career. Government officials say Banton conspired to buy a shipment of cocaine from an undercover officer.
According to the Miami Herald, fans of Banton in Miami and Jamaica think he is being framed by the government or gay activists angered by the violent, homophobic lyrics in his music.
Banton's lyrics have repeatedly been the focus of gay activists, with the reggae artist calling for violence against gays in multiple songs. His concert appearance have been boycotted by gay activists and frequently canceled by club owners as a result.
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