Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buju Banton meets with gay leaders in San Francisco--Why?

Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida:
"'We didn't expect any concrete promises,' California AIDS and gay-rights advocate Michael Petrelis says. 'We thought all we were going to get was a meeting, which was a good start. [We got] a promise to keep some dialogue going.'"

What do you think? It seems NOTHING came out of this meeting. Why sit for a fist-bumping photo-op with him? I believe we should engage our enemies in dialogue. However, to set up a meeting where we sit down and discuss everything, we deserve some prospect of a tangible resolution at the end. This was a COUP for Buju Banton, who was acquitted in 2004 of the murder of a gay man. He now looks like he's willing to work with the gay community, even though clearly he is not. Every time there is a threatened boycott of one of his shows, he can send this press release out to the venue and keep it from getting canceled.

This was absolutely irresponsible of the San Francisco City Supervisor Beaven Dufty, and gay blogger and AIDS activist, Michael Petrelis ought to have known better. Dufty said "You don't make progress unless you talk to people." What progress was made?

Banton has refused every single one of their requests:
Donating money to Jamaica's LGBT group, JFLAG
Creating positive messages about gays for his performances
Make statements in Jamaica calling for tolerance of gays
Holding a townhall meeting in Kingston discussing respect toward gays and lesbians

He's done this before. A few years ago, Banton--facing calls for arrests by British civil rights leader Peter Tatchell and others--signed a pact with other artists renouncing violence and violent musical content. He later denied having anything to do with that pact. The rouse worked, however. Pressure to cancel Banton shows lessened and his career came back from the brink.

Michael Petrelis described the meeting as "very civil and productive," but clearly he doesn't know what 'productive' means, as nothing was actually produced but friendly looking pictures.

Peter Tatchell responded: "Despite their failure to secure anything from Banton, LGBT
activists reportedly agreed to allow his concert at the Rock It Room to go ahead. If true, I am stunned that Banton's demand for a concert was conceded in exchange for nothing tangible from him."

For a man who bitches a moans about "symbolic" meetings at the White House or with the President (ones he's not invited to) Michael Petrelis couldn't wait to get home and blog about how productive this nonproductive meeting was! He goes on in his blog about how absolutely nothing was accomplished, and yet "..we felt it was a very positive step forward that the meeting took place."

I'd say this was a win for Buju Banton, and a total fumble for the San Francisco gay leaders. #FAIL.

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