Wednesday 2 December, 2020

WATCH: Buju goes on anti-mask rant, urges Jamaicans to 'wake up'

Screen grab from a video posted by Buju Banton to social media on Wednesday in which he urged Jamaicans to stop wearing masks

Screen grab from a video posted by Buju Banton to social media on Wednesday in which he urged Jamaicans to stop wearing masks

Reggae superstar, Buju Banton, has called for an end of mask wearing by persons in Jamaica, claiming the wearing of the protective gear will not prevent persons from contracting COVID-19. 

The Government ordered the mandatory wearing of mask as part of its COVID-19 prevention measures since the island recorded its first case in March of this year.

But seven months later, Banton in a strong and controversial video posted on his official Instagram account on Wednesday, with the caption, 'Free My People Now,' has called on mask wearing to end.

"Well someone sight I and ask I if everything alright. I tell the bredrin 'No; everything nuh alright and everything can't alright. We want done with this mask wearing f%@¥£€ inna Jamaica. Who fi dead ago dead and who nah go dead haffi just live,'" the reggae singer said.

"We tired ah you intellectual fools trying to tell us how to live our lives. If you're so smart why you haven't found the cure to cancer. You all touting a line and putting the Jamaican people in abject fear and driving all to poverty," he further argued. 

Banton, who won this year's edition of the Jamaica Festival Song competition with his entry, 'I Am A Jamaican', asked those he referred to as 'intellectual fools' what they had done for the scores of people who had been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or those affected by the early closure of some businesses due to the curfew measures.

The latter was imposed by the Andrew Holness-led administration to also curtail the spread of the virus, which has entered the community spread phase.

To date, over 8,000 Jamaicans have been infected by the virus, killing 174 persons. Despite that fact, Banton — whose given name is Mark Myrie — called on Jamaican people to "wake up", insinuating that the virus was fake. 

"Jamaican people need to wake up and mi done with the f%¥#, Jamaican people need to wake up! Mi nah wear no mask. Mask nuh mek fi man. 

"So hear dis... dem a f%¥# with the people dem. Free me people. FREE my people now," he argued in his expletive laden tirade. 

In a follow up video also posted on Instagram, the artiste said: "They taught you to love Michael Jackson and then they taught you to hate Michael Jackson. They taught you to love Bill Cosby... Don't you see they have been lying to us for all this time? So why should we believe them now?" 

Banton posited that it was ironic how the COVID-19 virus "acted like it was more intelligent than man. Is like it (COVID-19) move and follow individuals everywhere they go." 

The artiste known for songs such as, 'Driver A', 'Blessed', 'Untold Stories' and 'Wanna Be Loved', also rapped Jamaicans for "selling their votes." 

"My people unuh better wake up because unuh going... First and foremost, Jamaicans unuh sell unuh vote enuh. And from unuh sell unuh vote, unuh nah nuh sense. 

"So anything can happen right now. Wise up and stand up! A unuh last chance before unuh reach the precipice," he pointed out.

And in a last video on the topic, Banton declared that his love for Jamaicans "supersedes all that this world has to offer." 

He assured too, that he would not join other entertainers in 'tricking them'. 

In continuing, he affirmed: "I will not lead you down a path of destruction. I have always been sincere and true to you my people. A lot of people are benefitting by leading people down that path that is totally destructive here in Jamaica, here in America. 

"I don't care my life is not mine; never been! So here mi my people, while I am here with you, stand up enuh," he urged in a more calmer tone. 

Meanwhile, several social media users voiced their disagreement with the views expressed by Banton including his daughter, Jodian Myrie. 

Myrie, who is the Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for East Central St Andrew, tweeted: "Let us all as Jamaicans play our part in flattening this curve by continuing to wear our masks and practicing social distancing! Follow the protocols set in place to protect not only your life, but the lives of your loved ones." 

Myrie failed in her bid to defeat Opposition leader, Dr Peter Phillips, for the seat in the September 3 General Elections.

Other social media users scolded Buju Banton for his view that urged persons to not adhere to mask wearing, a key part of the COVID-19 prevention protocols.

One individual tweeted: "To anyone watching this please do not listen to Buju Banton he is talking nonsense #WearAMask and be safe." 

Shared another Twitter user: "This man encouraging herd immunity in not so many words. And you will have soft brained Jamaicans who will listen to him. Buju possibly can fly out and get care. Half of the people he influences will only create a burden on the already burned health sector. Sigh." 

Another tweeted: "Please don’t listen to the foolishness Buju is telling y’all to do. WEAR A MASK. Especially Jamaicans, the healthcare system DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU UNLESS YOU’RE RICH. Buju has money, if anything, he can get the care he needs, for a lot of other Jamaicans that’s not the case." 

But amid the uproar, Banton has been supported by other Jamaican entertainers, including Chi Ching Ching and Spragga Benz. Both commented under the artiste's Instagram videos.

"Bin a b.... seh this," commented Chi Ching Ching.

"N.O.W... NOW!!!" Wrote Spragga Benz Benz support of Banton's message to "Free My People Now."

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