By: Cerone White
On this day in history, July 15, 1973, Jamaican dancehall, artist Mark Anthony Myrie a.k.a Buju Banton was born in Kingston, Jamaica in a poor neighborhood called Salt Lane. Buju came on the scene in 1988 but rose to prominence in 1992 with the release of Mr. Mention, which became the best-selling album in Jamaican history upon its release.
After his successful album in 1992, Buju released Voice of Jamaica in 1993 after he signed with Mercury Records. In the mid- 1990’s Buju switched to Rastafarian then shortly after the transition his music took on a more spiritual tone. His 2010 album Before the Dawn won Best Reggae Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.
Buju’s career has been filled with many accomplishments but it has been filled with many disappointments as well. The Grammy winner has been linked with anti gay lyrics when his 1992 song “Boom Bye Bye” sparked controversy around the world. After charges were dropped against Buju and 11 others who were accused of beating men whom they believed to be gay in a house in Kingston near Buju’s recording studio, he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act which was created by the Stop Murder Music campaign. The act sought to refrain from performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements in 2007, but he later denied that he had made any such commitment.
Buju has also faced drug charges which landed him in prison in 2009 after he was sentenced to ten years and one month in a federal prison for the cocaine trafficking conviction. Buju is scheduled to be released in December 2018. To date, Buju has released ten successful albums, and he has 15 children.