Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie July 15, 1973) is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae musician. He has also recorded Pop and Dance songs, as well as songs dealing with political topics. Banton is politically outspoken and influenced by Marcus Garvey and the Rastafari movement. He is currently on a $250,000 bail (November 10, 2010) from the Pinellas County Jail while he awaits a retrial (scheduled for February 2011) on federal drugs charges relating to cocaine.
Buju Banton was born in Kingston, Jamaica in a poor neighborhood called Salt Lane. "Buju" is a nickname given to chubby children which means breadfruit and was given to him by his mother as a child. "Banton" is a Jamaican word referring to someone who is a respected storyteller, and it was adopted by Myrie in tribute to the deejay Burro Banton whom Buju admired as a child. It was Burro's rough gravelly vocals that Buju emulated and ultimately made his own. Buju's mother was a higgler, or street vendor, while his father worked as a labourer at a tile factory. He was the youngest of fifteen children born into a family which was directly descended from the Maroons, a group of formerly enslaved Africans who became freedom fighters, fighting the British for centuries and obtaining a treaty with the British, giving them semi-autonomy in Jamaica.