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Shabba Ranks - The W1nners' Club

Have you ever had to work with somebody that expressed views that were so bigoted you found it impossible to work with them without having a serious argument?

If you have, then you’re not alone.

Mark Lamarr, co-presenter of iconic ‘90s TV show ‘The Word’ was so incensed by the shocking views expressed by Reggae superstar Shabba Ranks, that he proceeded to engage him in a heated debate live on air that just about stayed short of a stand up row.

The controversy arose when another Jamaican dancehall artist named Buju Banton released the track Boom Bye Bye, a song that advocated the shooting and setting on fire of homosexual men.

The chorus lyrics of the track went as follows:

“Boom bye bye, in a batty boy head, Rude boy nah promote no nasty man, dem ha fe dead.”

Ranks was asked what his opinion on the matter was in a December 1992 broadcast of the popular British television show, and to the dismay of the watching audience he suggested that as a Jamaican, he was compelled to support a fellow Jamaican. He then proceeded to state that it’s a question of free speech and that he himself is a supporter of free speech.

When Mr. Lamarr questioned Shabba Ranks further and suggested that Buju Banton was using free speech to promote the killing of gay people, the artist said that he lives by the Bible and its righteousness, before stating that homosexuals deserve crucifixion and that God commanded us to “go forth and multiply” – something he said can only be achieved with heterosexual relationships.

Lamarr was so disgusted that he simply told Ranks that what he was saying was “crap, and he knew it” and ended the discussion by cutting to another segment as a horrified audience gasped in condemnation of what they had just heard.

Despite being by far the most popular breakthrough artist to arrive on the international scene from Jamaica, Ranks’ international career swiftly nosedived amid the media firestorm that followed and It wasn’t until the mid to late noughties that he resurfaced again outside of his native Jamaica via a collaboration with Akon.

The furore tarnished the dancehall movement as Ranks, Banton and even North American acts like Snow who had broken into the mainstream, disappeared in a flash as a result of the bad publicity.

Have a look at the video clip below and ask yourself what you would do if somebody you worked with expressed horribly bigoted views in the office. There’s little doubt that it would probably be as disastrous a career move for them as it was for Shabba Ranks.


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