Etan Thomas: You have accomplished so much musically you have entered into the rhelms of all of the reggae greats of the past, with all that you have done express how important your children are to you and how they are what's really important in your life
Buju Banton: Ideally a father is one who provides & protects. It is a great adventure for any man to be a father. My children are the most important persons in my life. It is important for me to be with my children, guiding them & watching them grow. Fatherhood is the greatest joy & an important ingredient in any man's life.
Etan Thomas: You do a lot in the community. For those who are not
aware of all you do explain some of the things you have done
and why community is so important to you
Buju Banton: I believe that it is important because community functions like the human body. If one part is ill, then the other parts will be or could be affected.In Jamaica I provide for children infected with HIV/AIDS and I also work in politically ravaged areas. I do so to show the sick & the less fortunate that this world has more to offer than their everyday surroundings.
Etan Thomas: You have a strong connection to your culture and it
comes out in your music. Explain what you father taught you
as far as being proud of your heritage
Buju Banton: My father taught me a lot in terms of recognizing and loving my heritage. He also taught me about the role of a father.Although the system is designed to deny black males opportunities to care for their children. Thus they often grow up without a father & without identity, morals & hope.
A father should be someone whom his children strive to emulate. It is therefore important for boys to have their father's love, support, presence & guidance.
Etan Thomas: Explain how you have used your music to influence the
minds of the masses. A lot of artists focus on negativity
but your music has always resonated with positivity and
culture. And explain Rasta influence and to the people that
don't know explain what that exactly means. Like what you
were saying in Hills and Valleys or Untold Stories
Buju Banton: My music is used in a positive way. In the current trends in a world dominated by the white man, I see myself as very black yet my music is for all races & all peoples. I always aim to do that;however, the high rate of black men & black fathers who are incarcerated is genocide to the black race.Through my music I try to let our people know that.How can we steer black men from the bling, fancy cars & scantily clad women.
Rastafari has had an immense influence on my life. Being Rasta opens my eyes to the struggles my father experienced in the 60s. It has brought to the forefront what our fathers went through. Rasta is one whose mind is open to the inner self. God created us in his own image & likeness. Rasta knows that his image is reflective of his God. Rasta is one with God, one with nature, one with the land. He cultivates the land through farming to provide for his family, his children. He does not destroy it. We are one with our Creator.
Etan Thomas: A lot of our young men have been swallowed up by the
system, and often it appears as though they are targets just
as it appears as though you were a target, how can we
educate the masses about Babylon's system so that they can
try to avoid these traps? Or is it even possible?
Buju Banton: It is important for black males to help each other. We must understand that we are led by the dynamics of the white man's world. The war is against the black man. It is not against drugs. They in a subtle, passive yet deep & effective manner deny us of whom we are. We have become voiceless. Now this is where I Buju Banton take a stance for black men and for my race. I use my voice to let the world know that black people will not be crushed by the global system.
There are black men incarcerated for crimes they did not commit or serving harsher sentences than white men who committed the same or similar crimes.When the father is incarcerated or imprisoned the family is destroyed. Who will head the home? Who is going to be the provider & protector? Who will our sons look to for guidance? It is important for black men to help each other. We need to communicate. We must be united.
Etan Thomas: Your song Murderer was in essence telling the masses of
young people caught in a vicious criminal cycle how their
actions are not only a treason to their race but also
against God. Those are lessons that give guidance to those
without guidance which is suppose to be the role of fathers.
Could you elaborate on the message in that song and your
hopes of the impact it would make?
Buju Banton; "Murderer blood is on your shoulder, kill I today you cannot kill I tomorrow" The truth is the murderer is not the one pulling the trigger but the person who gave him the gun. The one standing in the shadow & perpetuating the crime. We know who is systematically pulling the trigger. The gun is intended to destroy the black race. My role is to counter that by any means.
Etan Thomas: Many young people don't know the deeper meaning of
dreadlocks. It has become trendy for them. Keeping along
with you teaching the masses, could you break down the
deeper meaning of dreadlocks and explain that it is much
more than a simple hair style?
Buju Banton: In the U.S culture it is called dreadlocks. In most other cultures we are Rasta. Rasta is a way of life. It is spiritual.
Now everything seems to be for style & fashion & is meaningless. Even as a race we black people have accepted the devaluation of our people. Hence we call the white man "the man." If the white man is "the man" what is the black man? We hear & accept black men referring to other black men as "my boy" or "baby." In the U.S some black men are even dressing like women. If the black man is reduced to being referred to or seen as "my boy" or "baby" how do we as black people address black women, boys, girls & babies? They would be seen as being less than boys & babies.
Black women are referred to or called "mama" and our homes are referred to as "cribs." So therefore what has become of our race when the head of the family/household, the father, is a boy or baby, the mother is called mama because she is now provider for the home & our home is called a crib. A crib is a place where mothers or parents place their babies.
During slavery and colonial times black men detested being called boys by the white men. Now we accept black men referring to each other and accept others referring to us as "my boy" or "baby." Black men accept no longer being the head of the family/ household but being "boys" or "babies" sleeping in "cribs" with their "mamas."
We as fathers must stop the devaluation & disrespect of ourselves & our children because of the stigma other races have attached to our race. And we have accepted. We as fathers must teach our children to first love whom we are "black & beautiful people". We originate from a rich and chosen land. The mother of all creation, Africa. It is from her womb all races were born. We come from great Kings, Queens & mighty rulers whose wisdom, knowledge, understanding, talents, toil, sweat & blood created the greatest nations on this Earth. We are blessed & powerful. Black people need to rid ourselves from mental slavery, know our history for us to achieve our full potential in life. It is sad that we know so well the history of other races and have shunned our own. The system has so well divided us. It is up to us black people to unite. In unity there is strength. It is imperative for fathers to teach our children the history of the black race so our children
could love & embrace our blackness,become greater people & outstanding leaders.