You have a freedom to speak. The freedom to live. The freedom to be your true self. Do it now.
Homophobic reggae singer Buju Banton was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison and for his connection to a cocaine deal.
The grammy-winner was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense, according to an Associated Press article.
Some of Banton’s music has called for the killing of gay men, starting with the 1988 song “Boom Bye Bye.” The song mentions “batty men” (a slur for gay men) singing he will “shoot batty men in the head” or “burn them up bad.” Some call his work “murder music.”
He has been quoted as saying, “This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot … ‘
After the initial sentence, he will have five years probation. Supporters of Banton, including fans, some of his 15 children and celebrities, have attested to his innocence in letters to the judge. Dozens are included in the court filing.
“Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer,” wrote actor Danny Glover to U.S. District Judge James S. Moody. “Society would not benefit from his incarceration.”
Banton’s involvement as a broker in the sale of cocaine was discovered by a confidential informant working with the Drug Enforcement Administration.