A member of the Barbados parliament is not pleased with the fact that many young people look up to Jamaican reggae artistes Bob Marley and Buju Banton as heroes.
During a parliament debate in Barbados on drug abuse, Dr. Sonia Browne who is the chairman of committees suggested that young people needed a change in perception of who are heroes and heroines. To prove her point of who young people look at as heroes when they should not, she chose the king of Reggae, Bob Marley and the living legend, Buju Banton.
In December of 2018 Buju Banton was released from prison after serving 8 years of a 10-year-sentence. Since his release, he has embarked on a very successful international tour that saw him performing in front of sold out crowds in Jamaica, Trinidad, Bahamas and Barbados. Dr. Browne believes that his huge success is partly due to young people “romanticizing” Buju’s drug charges.
“I don’t think we quite understand the seriousness of the drug use and abuse. Let me clear it by saying I am a fan of Buju Banton. I admire his music, but when we got a society that more or less romanticizes a gentleman coming out of prison after spending a decade of incarceration on drug charges, when on his Long Walk to Freedom, I am not so sure from where, but when we can romanticize that and greet somebody like this at the airport and give them one of the biggest concerts . . . we need to change the perspective of our young people with respect to our heroes and heroines, we need to change the focus,” Browne debated.
Browne did not stop at Buju Banton but went on to say that Bob Marley should not be held in high regards because of his marijuana use. She says that while marijuana might have affected Bob Marley positively, it has a negative effect on most of who look up to the king of reggae and smoke weed.
“Yes, there are the Bob Marleys of the world, and I love him too, but from the perspective of the young people, they use him as a prime example that marijuana does nothing. Not everybody can benefit from the clarity I assume he exhibited from marijuana use. Not many people can belt out the lyrics he did. In fact, the majority can’t,” Browne said.
“But we need to change the focus and move to different role models. We have a man like Mr. Banton, that stepped out of prison and now I am sure he is a virtual millionaire. We need to change the focus of who we look up to for our young people,” she continued.
Browne acknowledged that the drug abuse problem was way bigger than young people looking up to two reggae artistes from Jamaica.
“I agree substance abuse goes way beyond the usual cigarette smoking and alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. We see substance abuse everyday with respect to over-the-counter drugs,” she said.
When Buju Banton performed in Barbados last month it was the biggest concert in the history of Barbados, even bigger than when Rihanna who was born in that country performed there.