Burna Boy Disrespected Steel Pulse at Summer Jam Festival, Reggae Band’s Guitarist Says

Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Burna Boy is under fire from reggae fans after he allegedly disrespected Grammy Award-winning reggae band Steel Pulse by trying to force them out of their dressing room at the recent Reggae Summer Jam festival in Germany.

The uproar began after Steel Pulse singer and guitarist David “Electric” Hinds shared on Instagram that Burna Boy, who arrived at the festival with a large entourage, demanded extra dressing rooms and attempted to move Steel Pulse to accommodate his crew.

“Burna Boy and the security team totally disrespected us, @steelpulseofficial, by trying to kick us out of our dressing room so he could have 4 dressing rooms for his massive entourage. Original Steel Pulse member Selwyn Brown was furious and our team stood their ground and told them to stop and that you can’t do that to people, especially a band that paved the way for reggae music,” the guitarist noted in a World A Reggae article about the festival.

“Summerjam why do you have a full security team that thinks they can come and intimidate people? Who does @burnaboy think he is? And because we refused to leave, the security team proceeded to build a barricade with a black chain link fence that separated the hallway between our locker room and his, making it look like we were in jail or something,” he added.

Electric also said the style and behaviour of Burna and his team was unbecoming, did not fit the ethics of reggae and should not be tolerated.

“I hope these legendary reggae festivals realize that this cannot be part of reggae culture. This is Babylon’s business. We don’t treat people like this. Please acknowledge this because Steel Pulse has been totally disrespected. Reggae is about peace, love, unity… stand up for your rights, we must never give up the fight #reggaemusic,” he added.

Steel Impulse

Steel Pulse’s determination was welcomed by reggae fans, who expressed their support for the group and disapproval of Burna Boy’s actions.

“You have disrespected a seminal group that played a pivotal role in the legacy that reggae music has today!! @burnaboygram you have disrespected the entire genre and culture and @summerjam_festival_official you should be ashamed of yourselves Burna boy is absolutely nobody in comparison the world needs to value impact over fame,” said Lloyd Laing of Reggae University.

“He has the nerve to copy reggae culture and then turn around and disrespect the legends. Burna Boy Fire fi dat!! You have no respect for this type of behavior, it’s unacceptable,” another man added.

News of the incident was also greeted with disgust by legendary reggae musicologist and producer Kurt Riley.

“The Babylon affair? Let’s see what happens next. I know that slowly but surely, money tends to take precedence over respect, morality, rights and principles. Reggae welcomes everyone, reggae is love, harmony, pain, solution and resistance,” said the Party Animal producer.

“Reggae does not prescribe that mentality. Reggae denounces and eliminates that behavior, regardless of the individual or the group. What is the price of what is right? We will see, because Jah is watching. But I will say this: ‘He who has no respect for the past will be deceived and rejected over time by the future,’” Riley added.

Laing also questioned the issue of genre crossover at reggae music festivals. He and other commentators also pointed out that while Burna Boy has gained international fame for his contributions to Afrobeats, his presence at a reggae-focused event was unnecessary.

“This is what happens when you try to take black music and make it androgynous. Burna Boy should not share the stage with[Steel Pulse]. AfroBeats is not Reggae. Bees and flies don’t coexist in nature, so why is Summerjam mixing honey with sh*t?” Laing said.

“Oh my God, bro, why do these artists let fame go to their heads? This is why you have to monitor the frequency of the people you listen to daily because the frequency is transmitted through the music waves,” one man said.

“I wondered why he was there in the first place!!! And it’s mostly the people who work for the artist who think they can boss around and be rude, sometimes artists have no idea what’s going on! But let reggae stay reggae ,” added nataschabyhuis.

Summerjam Festival organisers have also come under scrutiny, with fans calling on them to ensure future lineups respect the roots of the reggae genre and the artists who have dedicated their lives to preserving it.

“But why do reggae festivals hire these kind of artists? I never understood the connection… afrobeats can be linked to afrobeat… reggae festivals have afrobeats and a lot of reggae artists want to have work and nothing . The world is going bad,” louiemelody said.

“Why is Burna Boy playing at a reggae festival? A lot of reggae festivals are inviting non-reggae artists lately… what’s going on?” another added.

Steel Pulse, formed in 1975 as a trio, were primarily first-generation Britons of Caribbean descent who grew up in the Handsworth community of Birmingham.

By the early 1980s, Steel Pulse had become a sextet and were considered, along with Aswad and Misty In Roots, one of the most important British reggae groups. The group made their Jamaican debut at Reggae Sunsplash in Jarrett Park in August 1981.

The group received the 1986 Grammy Award for their album Babylon the Bandit. They also received nominations for Victims (1991), Centenary of Rastafarianism (1992), Rage and fury (1998), Living Legacy (2000) and Mass manipulation (2019).