At 1:27 PM, the Deseret News released the following information:
The Buju Banton concert scheduled at the Urban Lounge on Oct. 8 has been canceled. Urban Partners Inc., the company that books the shows for the Urban Lounge and Kilby Court, axed the show after it was brought to their attention that gay organizations consider Banton's lyrics homophobic. "When initially scheduling the Buju Banton event, we were unaware of his hateful anti-gay message," Urban Partners said in a statement. "Upon further review, Urban Lounge has decided to cancel the event."
Denver update: I called the Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. The receptionist took a message for me, and confirmed that they had received several inquiries and complaints about booking Mr. Banton. When I asked whether these were local or national calls, she said they were local. At the time of my call, she said she could "not presently confirm" whether the show would go on as scheduled. She said she would have one of the owners call me back. And, to my pleasant surprise, I received a call a few minutes later from Jay Bianchi, co-owner of Carvantes. "We are not cancelling the show," he confirmed, and said he believed the truth is "somewhere in between." He also pointed out some other interesting insights: The Cervantes, he said, is "not in the financial position" to cancel the show. He said one Denver-area activist who complained was invited to attend the show for free to find out for himself what Mr. Banton is saying and singing presently. Mr. Bianchi also admitted that rumors that Banton has been videotaped singing "Boom Boom Bye" in more recent years did raise troubling questions.
One of Mr. Bianchi's more insightful comments was that most of the emails he has received from GLBT activists did little more than cut and paste already-used message points. Mr. Bianchi seemed to imply (reasonably, I think) that such emails were probably not as persuasive as ones that were unique and written personally by the senders.
My conversation with a promoter from Belly Up Aspen was equally productive. She told me that the owner, Michael Goldberg, was extremely concerned about the complaints he'd been receiving, and that the venue was connected with many progressive, pro-gay causes (which is true). She believed that those who were complaining about Banton were relying on outdated information, and that she believed Banton had apologized. In fact, however, she was referring to the same press release I posted in last night's blog post, which did not, in fact, contain a personal apology from Mr. Banton, and contained some other inconsistencies. I assured her that Shared Sacrifice Media was not on a witch hunt, that we believed the Aspen community and the Belly Up venue were respectable, progressive entities, and that we just wanted every side of the story. She promised to have Michael Goldberg get back to me. She said they had received some "uneducated" emails by protesters relying on the previously mentioned outdated information. She said "we support the gay community." No reason to doubt that, even though it's questionable whether Mr. Banton and his publicists have sincerely repudiated the hateful language of his past.
Here's a request--something that would be very helpful for us. It's been alleged that Mr. Banton recently said "the war between me and faggots will never end." If anyone has a citation or reliable link confirming or denying this allegation, PLEASE send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, of course, we're going to be podcasting on this controversy again tonight, from 8-9 PM mountain time. You can find the podcast at blogtalkradio.com/shared_sacrifice.
UPDATE: Thanks to Jimbo Maritato, Shared Sacrifice's resident culture guru, we have an answer to the reference question above: The line is from the song "Fire Burn Batty." The video is here. Jimbo advises: "The line you are looking for is belted out at the 2:20 mark." He found the information from a comment on Robin Gorsline's blog.
The video contains other seemingly demeaning references to gays. See for yourself. I may have to email the venues in Denver and Aspen for follow-up commentary.