“Wanna Be Loved” – Buju Banton
I remember the first time I heard Buju Banton. I was in 9th grade, in a time when Napster was god and music was EASY to get for free. I had asked a friend of mine to burn me a CD with a bunch of good reggae, and the first song that came on was “Boom Bye Bye,” (recorded by Buju Banton at age 15), a song that is explicitly about killing “bati boys”- a derogatory term for homosexuals. However, at the time I thought very little of the subject matter of the song and “Boom Bye Bye” is a an absolute jam, aside from the distasteful nature of the lyrics. The song was the subject of outrage in the United States and Europe, leading to Banton being dropped from the line-up of the WOMAD festival that year. Banton subsequently issued a public apology.
“Wanna Be Loved” however is a beautiful love song about wanting to be loved not for your future potential or who people think you are, but for your true self.
Wanna be loved
Not for who you think I am
Nor what you want me to be
Could you love me for me?
Buju Banton was born in Kingston, Jamaica in a poor neighborhood called Salt Lane. Buju is a nickname given to chubby children that means breadfruit and was given to him by his mother as a child. Banton is a Jamaican word that refers to someone who is a respected storyteller, and it was adopted by Myrie in tribute to the deejay Burro Banton, whom Buju admired as a child. It was Burro’s rough gravelly vocals that Buju emulated and ultimately made his own. Buju’s mother was a higgler, or street vendor, while his father worked as a laborer at a tile factory. He was the youngest of fifteen children born into a family that was directly descended from the Maroons of Jamaica (click this, it’s fascinating).
Banton has found himself in hot water with multiple governments, and is currently serving a 10 year sentence on drug based charges. For all his issues, Banton has recorded an enormous amount of fantastic reggae and has written songs with genuinely wholesome lyrics. Often artists have been ruined over one song, and in Buju’s case his homophobia can of course be attributed to his upbringing in Jamaica. Enjoy this song and be loved!