Music News

Buju Banton Nominated for Two IRAWMA Awards Despite Being Locked Up

The past few years have been rough for Buju Banton, but the incarcerated reggae star received a bit of good news earlier this week. 

Buju, who's serving a decadelong sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution Miami on questionable drug charges, has been nominated for two International Reggae and World Music Awards. 

The first nomination is in the Best Song category, for which Buju's collaboration with Stephen and Damian Marley, "Jah Army," is up for the award. Earlier this year, the song won the Stone Love Dubplate of the Year award. 

Buju uses his verse to vent some of his recent frustrations and absolutely kills it. Here's the video:

The second award is for Concert of the Year, for which Buju's "Before the Dawn" concert at Miami's Bayfront Park is nominated. Buju and his legal team had to jump through all types of judicial hoops to get clearance for the show, which quickly sold out and garnered rave reviews.  

Here's a portion of the performance:


In a news release announcing the nominations, Ephariam Martin, one of the event's organizers, expresses concern for the circumstances surrounding Buju's arrest and conviction and encourages the artist to remain positive. 

"Buju was and is still a messenger for the people in his own right," Martin writes. "History shows and tells us that just about all great leaders, messengers, and freedom fighters who ended up in jail or prison at some point returned to be better leaders."

Buju won the Grammy last year, mere hours before his second trial on federal drug charges kicked off. 

The IRAWMA awards will take place in Chicago on July 5. 

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Chris Sweeney