Buju Banton

The homophobic reggae singer who is up for a Grammy award has been arrested in Miami where he is facing drug charges.

According to the Miami Herald, Buju Banton, who has called for the murder of gay men in his song lyrics, has been in custody since Thursday last week.

Banton, real name Mark Anthony Myrie, has been accused of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine.” He will be transferred to Tampa where he will be charged. He could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

The news comes on the heels of the furore surrounding the Jamaican’s singer’s recent nomination in the best reggae album category for his CD Rasta Got Soul in the upcoming Grammy awards.

Activists have called on the American Recording Academy to drop Banton’s nomination; his fourth to-date. The organisation has, however, refused to do so, saying that it supports “freedom of speech.”

Banton, who was acquitted of assaulting a group of gay men in Kingston in 2006, has become known for his anti-gay song lyrics which advocate torture and violence against gay men.

In August this year, a number of concerts set to be performed by Banton in the US were cancelled following pressure from gay rights groups.

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