Buju Banton says Rastas “under threat” following Supreme Court ruling

Reggae artiste Buju Banton is speaking out against a ruling by Jamaica’s Supreme Court regarding Kensington Primary School’s denying access to a child for her dreadlocks hairstyle.

Reggae icon Buju Banton has spoken out against a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court regarding a school denying a child entry because of her dreadlocks hairstyle.

Banton shared his views on Instagram yesterday, August 3, following the ruling handed down in favour of the school last Friday.

In a video to 1.1 million followers, the artiste born Mark Myrie, said that Rastafarians are under threat once again. “ So yes, once again, Rastafari is under threat. We’ve come a far way, now to a point where even the ‘herb’ [marijuana] legal; everybody a mek a money offa it, but yuh still a hamper our education and our children’s ability to be educated in your schools and I see that as discrimination, because you would never do that to a Jew or ask a Muslim to remove their kopf, which would be religious discrimination,” the Blessed singer said.

“So, dem bakra master judge and dem system yah and ‘isms-skisims’ weh we have a fight against Rasta.”

– Buju Banton

He continued, “So, why you want the Rasta man dem children to trim dem hair? When you refuse to give us our own schools to educate our children in the way that they should be educated, cause we refuse to be what you wanted us to be, enuh. We can’t be that anymore, because our eyes are opening, and the people’s eyes are opening every day. So, dem bakra master judge and dem system yah and ‘isms-skisims’ weh we have a fight against Rasta…Rasta need fi wake up and become industrious.”

The Supreme Court’s written judgement was made public yesterday, spelling out its rationale behind declaring the school’s policy as not violating the seven-year-old’s constitutional right.  

Justice Sonia Betram Linton, said “While I am in agreement that people have a right to express their religious beliefs, or indeed any other conscientiously held beliefs to which they adhere, there is nothing in this case that directs the mind of this court to believe that the claimant’s right to freedom of religion has been breached, as she has not adduced sufficient evidence to this court to say that the actions of the school infringed this right, for example, by somehow encouraging or forcing the child or her parents away from their stated beliefs — beliefs which I might add were never disclosed.”

Bertram Linton added that the claimant’s attorney failed to convince the court that everyone with locks should be identified as Rastafarians, and should not have to state their religious beliefs. “I cannot support this submission,” she said.

Dale and Sherine Virgo filed a lawsuit against Kensington Primary School in St Catherine, after their then five-year-old daughter was refused entry because of her locked hair, which they said breached her constitutional rights.