“There’s not a third party. My choices are limited.”
That was among the key reasons given by Buju Banton, in explaining why he had no option but to throw his support behind the Peoples National Party (PNP), instead of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), during an Onstage interview that aired last night.
Buju, a Rastafarian, had stunned the nation after he appeared at a PNP conference two Sundays ago, clad in an orange shirt, with Born For Greatness, the title of his newly-released album emblazoned on it, and held up his fist in the air (the party’s symbol).
During the Onstage interview, Buju spent approximately five minutes discussing the topic of the Jamaican political landscape as he argued that nobody should be denied the right to participate in the political process, this after host Winford Williams suggested that they “take the elephant of the room,” the thing that everybody’s talking about, it’s your affiliation with the People’s National Party”.
“The question should not be about my affiliation. The question should be, do I have a right as a citizen of his great nation to exercise my constitutional rights as a statutory-payer as well to choose and to decide for my own?’” The Politics Time Again artist declared.
“Mi nuh like hypocrite, an nuff a dem a hypocrite. Some people are green (JLP), some people are orange (PNP). But dem nuh waan seh. I man nuh gi a hell wha you want. I know who I am, and I know I have to rule my destiny. So you don’t tell I what I supposed to do I may not be your favourite person, but you still don’t have the right to tell me what I’m supposed to do as it concerns my constitutional right as a Jamaican,” he added.
Continued Buju: “It’s hypocritical. Because you find that there are other entertainers who do the same thing, but I don’t hear them being lambast. And yet the same hypocrites go to America, an assimilate to a Democrat or a Republican system and still coexist with other people. So don’t tell me that in my country we’re not going to move forward from this parochial mindset, where we cannot choose our affiliations without backlash or resent! Openly too!” he exclaimed.
According to the I Am A Jamaican singer, his only desire is to “see my people happy; to see the people benefiting from the nation is all of us aim, not just one individual aim because that is aimless”.
Frontally addressing his detractors who have been arguing that Reggae artists and other entertainers ought not to dabble in politics, Buju said that this notion is outdated, and ought to be dispensed with.
“I do my part in music you know, but don’t tell me that because I a musician I must only stick to music ‘cause you are a stupid idiot if you think that. Because you stick to what you stick to, but don’t relegate me to your mindset,” he said.
“We have always been pigeonholed… ‘oh my, entertainer stick to music’. Gone are those days. Haven’t you heard that entertainer was president of Haiti? Haven’t you heard that even this puppet guy Zelenski down there in Ukraine, was some dude, some guy,” he continued, before erupting in laughter.
“So do not try to pigeonhole us; we are born for greatness. You just not see it yet,” he added.
Buju pointed out that political tribalism has no place in modern-day Jamaica and added that he could not fathom how Jamaicans would bind together at other times when it comes to matters such as entertainment, but be at odds with each other when governance issues are involved.
“The issue is us as a people moving away from political tribalism. The same people from both parties; we party in the clubs we party in the dance hall we party in carnival don’t? But then you have a a separation when it comes to issues that affect us all as Jamaicans. No one should stand aloof and no one should be made to feel like they should not participate in the process of their country,” he said.
Buju also made the point that if mature people continue to shun political activism and encourage young people to steer clear of politics, then Jamaica’s future, in terms of leadership, will be dim.
“Worse, these young people who are coming up now they tell them oh stay away from that then what’s going to happen who’s going to lead our nation? what’s going to happen to them when they remain politically illiterate and do not know the functions of their governments? They’re going to be sheep being told and being led. We have to move away from that,” he declared.
Buju also drew for Emperor Haile Selassie I as an example when asked about those trolling him as a Rastaman, saying “Rastafari is not for politics”.
“Who seh suh? Haile Selassie I was not for politics? Who told you that? Who was it that stand up in the League of Nations fighting for our cause? Who told you that? Go and do your research man and not because you have hair an yuh locks means you are a dotard,” Buju stated.
“That’s a misconception again; that’s a dysfunction of the mindset we are here to change. You don’t pigeonhole I. No guy can. You don’t pigeonhole I. No guy can I rule my destiny. Go and rule yours!” he ordered.