JAMAICAN REGGAE STAR Buju Banton made an emotional return to the stage last night in a live concert in Miami— his first in over a year – and possibly his last in the United States.
In front of a packed audience of flag-waving supporters, Banton closed the five hour concert with a two-hour performance, ending with a rendition of the 23rd Psalm before walking off stage in the arms of his lawyers.
Banton sang his classics, praised the support of his fellow artistes, declared his innocence in the upcoming drug conspiracy trial and told the thousands that he had missed them.
The Jamaican singer faces a retrial next month after the first one last fall ended with a no decision.
One of the emotional high points of the night was when he brought out Stephen Marley, the follow artiste who stood his bail with a lien on his half million dollar property in South Florida.
Bracing warmly, the two started a short set by singing Bib Marley’s Duppy Conqueror, with a line that says “yes me friend dem say we free again.”
He also sang with Marcia Griffiths, Wayne Wonder and Gramps Morgan.
Before him a slew of mainly Jamaican acts performed at the show—including reggae’s latest sensation Gyptian, international acts Sean Paul and Shaggy, Freddie McGregor, Everton Blender and Nadine Sunderland.
There were also cameos from rappers DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes.
All expressed delight of coming to the aid of their fellow entertainer.
Banton, whose entertainer’s visa has already been revoked by US immigration, was granted special permission to perform by the court.
Many say it could have been his last performance in the United States, since he faces deportation even if freed of the charges.