Brighton gay group welcomes Banton gig cancellation

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A Brighton based gay group has applauded the local authority and police after a performance by reggae artist Buju Banton, scheduled for tonight, was cancelled because of outrage over the singer’s homophobic lyrics.

The Spectrum lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group thanked Brighton and Hove Council and police for stopping Banton’s Concorde 2 gig after he has categorically refused to apologise for his notorious 1990s hit ‘Boom Bye Bye’ which appears to incite the burning, shooting in the head of gay people and pouring acid over their faces.

Arthur Law, Spectrum co-ordinator, said: “Spectrum has sought to relay the genuine anger and concern widely felt by local LGBT people about Buju Banton appearing at Concorde 2 to the Police and Council. We have also sought to provide evidence to counter the misinformation of the venue and Banton’s promoters. We are relieved that concerted efforts to impress upon the venue the dangers to their licence have resulted in the event being axed and the risk of public disorder minimised.

“We applaud the swift and unanimous support we received directly from the leaders of all the political parties on the Council and from the Police in response to these representations. We also pay tribute to the roles played by the Gay Business Forum, Pride and other LGBT groups in alerting and speaking out on behalf of our community.

“We have asked the Council to review licensing policies to ensure that no community is in future exposed to incitement to murder masquerading as ‘music’.

However, the group said the venue still has work to do in repairing relations with the gay community.

Mr Law said: “Concorde 2 continue to maintain that Banton is a reformed character, and refute reports in the Jamaican press and from human rights groups which directly implicate him and his music in homophobic violence. Freedom of expression is not a licence for hate and murder.

“Concorde 2 have some way to go to repair the damage to their relations with the LGBT community and will need to take further action to deter objections to a renewal of their licence.”

In a statement, Concorde 2 said: “We sincerely apologise to ticket holders for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are concerned that we will have our licence revoked and that our premises could be closed down.”

Last month, gay Green Party councillor Simon Williams held a meeting with the management of the venue in regards to his performance.

Following the meeting, Mr Williams said: “Despite strong disagreements between gay community activists, the venue and Mr Banton’s promoters on the importance of the singer renouncing his homophobic lyrics, we’ve persuaded them to issue a joint statement condemning hate crime and we await this statement.”