GLAAD Letter, Buju Banton

GLAAD; Soul Brother/Getty Images

No doubt opening the Grammys with a performance from Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John is really gay—in the good way, that is!

But that doesn't mean gay rights groups are forgetting about the nomination Jamaican singer Buju Banton has received for best reggae album…

Media watchdog group GLAAD and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center protested the nomination as soon as it was announced, because Banton's song, "Boom, Bye Bye," includes lyrics about killing gay men by shooting or burning them.

And just today, GLAAD and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center bought a full-page ad in Hollywood trade paper Variety in the form of an open letter to Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. "This type of music has fueled anti-gay violence here and especially in Banton's home country of Jamaica, where hate crimes against gay men and lesbians—including murder—are common and sometimes celebrated," the letter reads.

In early December, the Recording Academy issued a statement defending the nomination on the basis of freedom of speech and creative expression.

"Artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast, despite protests and backlash," the statement read, in part.

GLAAD and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's ad, cosigned by more than 20 gay rights groups, blasts the reasoning because "performers who glorify the murder of gay people through their music aren't reflecting a 'political or cultural perspective' or 'politics,' they're reflecting their hatred and promoting brutal and illegal violence against a group of innocent people."

A copy of the ad, which also asks the academy to denounce violence of any sort during the awards show live telecast on Sunday, was delivered to Portnoy's office yesterday, according to reps for GLAAD and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. They have yet to get a response.

Banton will not be at this year's show because he is currently in a Florida jail awaiting trial on cocaine-related charges.


For a look at some of our less controversial musicians, check out our 2010 Grammys: Nominations photo gallery. PS: Don't forget to follow Marc Malkin on Twitter, @marcmalkin.

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