As Buju Banton arrived home to a big welcome Friday evening in Kingston, cultural and music experts have been weighing in on what may be expected of him.
Buju arrived just after 8 p.m. Friday, at the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, and went directly to his “stomping grounds” along Red Hills Road, where friends, family and fans hailed his return.
Some reports said he had a burger that he had asked for earlier.
The 45-year-old Reggae superstar whose birth name is Mark Myrie, was released Friday, December 8, from a Georgia correctional facility, after serving seven years on a drug charge.
But many fans and entertainment experts looked past that, saying his return offers a possibility for him to fill a vacuum for top flight music left by his departure from the music scene nearly a decade ago.
Professor Donna Hope, told a local radio station last evening that Buju’s return was likened to the prodigal son and that he could fill a huge vacuum.
Teddy Laidley, a tour manager said it would not necessarily be easy for Buju, the Grammy winner, who was taken away at the heights of his musical exploits.
Many things have changed, according to Laidley, including the increasing importance and access to music through social media as well as the demographics of Buju fans. He said Buju should come back and resettle himself.
Others have suggested that what Buju has to offer will depend on how he responds in his music to his incarceration.
Meantime, Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan of Morgan Heritage told another local radio station that Jamaicans should “prepare for the best of Buju Banton.”
Still, there are many fans who are simply looking for the date of the first big concert. Yet others are saying Buju should use the next few years to tell the youth about the dangers of drugs and crime and be a moral ambassador.
For author and entertainment observer Roger Grant, in a radio conversation regarding Buju, Jamaicans will have to wait and see which of the two alter egos will manifest.
“It depends on who turns up: Mark Myrie or Buju Banton.”
By: Franklin McKnight