Buju faces court today - 'Rasta Got Woes' over cocaine charge in US
Published: Monday | December 14, 2009
Jamaican reggae superstar Buju Banton is probably wondering why he didn't name his latest album Rasta Got Woes instead of Rasta Got Soul.
The international recording artiste is to appear in court in Tampa Bay, Florida, today.
This is a preliminary appearance and it is not clear if he will request bail or even enter a plea, The Gleaner has learnt.
Buju, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, has been in United States custody since last Thursday when he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to sell five kilos of cocaine.
A source said Buju Banton's manager, Traci McGregor, is scheduled to meet with Jamaican diplomatic officials in Tampa today to get assistance in putting together his legal defence.
Florida-based Jamaican attorneys Kirk Burrows and David Rowe are reportedly on a shortlist of lawyers being considered to represent the Grammy nominee.
Spreading like wildfire
Buju's arrest made headlines in major newspapers yesterday, spanning Jamaica, the United States and as far away as Taiwan.
'Boom Bye Bye Reggae Superstar arrested in Florida for allegedly dealing drugs', screamed the headline posted on the popular United States-based MediaTakeout.com.
The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Associated Press (AP), the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Taiwan News were just some of the widely circulated publications to post articles on their websites.
No new information emerged yesterday on the circumstances under which Banton was held, although the AP reported that the arrest stemmed from a Drug Enforcement Administration case in Tampa, Florida.
News of Buju's arrest also dominated other popular social-networking sites, where the reaction was mostly shock and disbelief.
"I don't believe this for one second. I'm not saying the story isn't true, but I'm saying that I think he was set up. Not Buju," read one comment posted on MediaTakeOut.com.
Buju Banton has been on a US tour, some segments of which have been torpedoed by protests and cancellations, to promote his ninth album, Rasta Got Soul, which has been nominated for a reggae Grammy.
The US-based Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which organised protests at some of the concert venues, has since launched an online petition protesting the nomination because of anti-gay lyrics the artiste recorded more than a decade ago.
The group declined comment on his arrest when contacted yesterday.