Before Buju Banton recorded Boom Bye Bye, Bob Marley had a song called Midnight Ravers where he sung of confused men dressed up like women so it was difficult to tell the sexes apart.
While Buju Banton’s “Boom bye bye” is still the song people think of where reggae dancehall’s anti-homosexuality message is concerned, it is far from being the first dancehall or reggae song of that nature. True dancehall reggae fans know that before Banton’s song, one of his staunch supporters, Shabba Ranks, did a song called “Mauma Man duck” which was just as anti-gay as the Buju Banton’s anthem.
Jamaicans and other reggae fans often say that Bob Marley did the first anti-homosexual song ‘Who the cap fit’ when he sings that “Man to man is so unjust”. While that is just tongue-in-cheek, Bob Marley probably did record the first anti-homosexual song in reggae, unless there was another such song recorded prior to 1973.
Way before Buju Banton or Shabba Ranks, Bob Marley released a song called “Midnight Ravers”. Bob Marley’s song was much more subtle and poetic but the great imagery he uses to convey his message can be easily interpreted by anyone with a high school education. The song starts off with the following lines:
I can’t tell the woman from the man
They are dressed in the same pollution
Their minds is confused with confusion
To their problem seems there is no solution
So right away, Bob Marley is making it known that he believes men should be men and women should be women. A man playing the part of a woman and vice versa does not only shows confusion but downright pollution. Of course where there is pollution it is a given that there is a problem but Bob Marley still stresses the fact when he says “To their problem seems there is no solution”.
A woman to a man is like a chariot to a horse. A woman needs a man just like a chariot needs a horse. In “Midnight Ravers”, however, the chariots seems to be doing their thing and getting in their grooves without the horses.
I see ten thousand chariots
And they are coming without horses
A chariot going without a horse is unnatural just like homosexuality. Now Bob Marley could have said the chariots were moving without horses instead of “coming without horses”. He used the word coming as a sexual undertone, however, as if to say men and women were cumming in an unnatural way not intended by nature, such as men with men and women with women. As the song continues, it shows that the homosexuals know that what they are doing is wrong and they are in fact ashamed of their sins. This fact is conveyed when Bob Marley says:
The riders they cover their face
So we could not make them out in smoky place
No one hides when they are proud of what they are doing. So the covering up of their faces actually show that they were closet gays.
The most interesting word throughout the entire song is “seems”. When someone uses the word “seems” it means that they are not sure about a situation. So when Bob Marley says that “To their problems seems there is no solution”; he is thinking that maybe homosexuals are born that way but he is not quite sure. Whether they are born that way or not, he sees homosexuality as a mental sickness, thus “their minds is confused with confusion”.
So there you have it. The first anti-homosexual song in reggae is “Midnight Ravers” by Bob Marley.