Buju Banton is the only artist in history to fill the Jamaican National stadium to its capacity. He did so in 2019 at the launch of his Long Walk to Freedom Tour. Some will argue that Bob Marley also achieve that feat in the 1978 One Love Peace concert but that would be a false narrative.
Even though today some people like to refer to the 1978 concert as “Bob Marley’s One Love Peace concert”, that is not what it was. It was a concert meant to bring peace on the war torn island where Bob Marley was one of the performers many performers which also included greats like Jacob Miller, Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown. Of course Bob Marley was the biggest name at the concert.
The One Love Peace concert was actually organized by the two leading gangsters of each political party on the island, Bucky Marshall and Claude Massop. Both leaders of the parties also attended the concert; Michael Manley of the People’s National Party (PNP) and Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). The concert would be come to a climax when Bob Marley called both political leaders on stage to shake and raise their hands as a symbol to the people that there were no reasons for them to be killing each other over these two men. Sadly, both political leaders were white but all the killers and killed during this period of political violence were Black.
If Buju Banton did not show up at his Long Walk To Freedom concert, there would be no concert that night. If Bob Marley was not at the One Love Peace concert, the show would have still gone on and it would have still been filled to capacity.
So Buju Banton accomplished a feat that he should be extremely proud of. However, in a recent interview with Essence Magazine, the “I wanna be loved” singer was asked if he thinks he will ever have the impact of Bob Marley to which a very humble Buju responded, “No. not at all”.
Buju’s response was a far cry for the stance he took prior to being incarcerated in the United States. Although he did not say he was the greatest at that time, he let it be known that he did not think Bob Marley was the greatest.
“You know they say that the greatest musician in Jamaica is Bob Marley. I don’t believe that because we have greater musicians. Bob Marley was the most promoted, and well promoted, and we have to appreciate that because it’s our culture. But don’t kill our culture. Enough is enough,” Buju Banton said at the time.
Even though Buju never referred to himself as the greatest back then or even gave a hint that he wanted to be the greatest, many thought was what he meant. Well, in his most recent interview he is letting it known that is not what he meant as he readily agrees that he will never have the impact of Bob Marley.
Still, only one artist has ever filled the Jamaican National Stadium, that artist is Buju Banton.