Grammy-Winning Reggae Artist Buju Banton Launches Foundation To Help At-Risk Jamaican Youth

Written by Ann Brown

For the last few years, Grammy-Award winning Reggae artist Mark “Buju Banton” Myrie has been surrounded by controversy, but he seems to have turned a corner.

Not only is Banton touring, but he just announced the formation of The Buju Banton Foundation to help at-risk youths in his native Jamaica.

“Born in abject poverty I know what it is for a child to go without basic necessities,” Banton told the South Florida Caribbean News. “I also know what it is to be a youth with big dreams and lots of determination. Unfortunately, daunted and unable to achieve your destiny, due to lack of a helping hand. It is not an easy road, my children.

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“However, Jah has blessed me. I have made it my mission through the Buju Banton Foundation, to help, by giving light to youth living in the darkness of poverty. Through the provision of food, clothing, healthcare and education. Thus ensuring they too have equal opportunities to succeed.”

The foundation’s goal is to aid youth ranging in age from newborn to 20 and offer training, talent development, educational empowerment, and other sustainable assistance. The foundation will provide food, clothing, healthcare, and education.

Run by a team of professionals, the foundation will seek out underserved communities throughout Jamaica and partner with various charities throughout the Caribbean on the Long Walk To Freedom Tour.

FILE – In this Oct. 13, 2003 file photo, Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton poses at the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Miami. A Florida jury has found Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton guilty on cocaine conspiracy charges. Jurors returned their verdict on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 after deliberating for 11 hours over two days. (AP Photo/Yesikka Vivancos, File)

The Buju Banton Foundation was founded as a public charity in 2019.

In December 2018, Banton was released from a U.S. prison after serving time on drug charges. Prior to that, he was embroiled in a controversy about homophobic lyrics in his song “Boom Bye Bye.” But in 2007 Banton reportedly signed, along with other artists, a pledge called the Reggae Compassionate Act to refrain from performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements.