Sizzla’s US visa reinstated ahead of Boston performance

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Sizzla’s US visa reinstated ahead of Boston performance

Sizzla Kalonji is getting praised by his peers in dancehall, including Bounty Killer and I-Octane after his US visa was reinstated ahead of a series of shows. The “Thank You Mama” singer is one of a handful of reggae/dancehall artists dealing with ongoing visa woes that prevent them from traveling and or performing in the United States.

Sizzla’s US visa was revoked in 2019 for unknown reasons. At the time, there were speculations that his visa was canceled due to homophobic messages in his music and his performance. The reggae star is one of few artists who openly expressed their feelings about the LGBTQ community.

In a statement shared on his Instagram account, his management team confirmed that he will be headlining an upcoming Boston Dancehall Reggae Fest in Bostom dubbed The Return of Sizzla Kalonji.

“Sizzla Kalonji makes a triumphant return to the United States in 2024,” the statement reads. “The Artist has not performed in the country for a number of years due to Visa restrictions, but he was recently granted the opportunity with the help of his management team. The US is one of the larger markets that welcomed his crossover endeavours, and he looks to hit the soil in fine style this summer at the ‘Boston Dancehall Reggae Fest.’”

Bounty Killer reacted to Sizzla’s post, writing, “Powers youth Selassie I pickney,” while I-Octane dropped a few fire emojis.

Sizzla Kalonji has had numerous issues with the LGBTQ community over the past two decades. He was among several reggae/dancehall artists who signed the controversial Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007 vowing to stop recording and performing music that the LGBTQ community labeled as “murder music.” Despite signing the document, his visa was revoked the following year, resulting in several tour dates in the United States being canceled.

After years of trying to have his US visa reinstated, he was lucky in 2016, paving the way for a new US tour. However, the LGBTQ community mobilized against him on several of his show dates, staging protests and putting pressure on promoters to axe him from their lineup, including Reggae on the River in California.

Sizzla also continued to perform some of his more controversial songs, and during a performance in Jamaica in 2022, he performed Buju Banton’s classic single “Boom Bye Bye.” Urban Islandz reported in 2018 that Buju Banton denounced the song and removed it from all streaming platforms following his release from prison.

“In recent days there has been a great deal of press coverage about the song ‘Boom Bye Bye’ from my past which I long ago stopped performing and removed from any platform that I control or have influence over,” Buju said in a statement sent to Urban Islandz. “I recognize that the song has caused much pain to listeners, as well as to my fans, my family and myself. After all the adversity we’ve been through I am determined to put this song in the past and continue moving forward as an artist and as a man.”

During said 2022 performance, Sizzla made it clear that he would continue to express his feelings and his freedom of speech to speak out against homosexuality in his songs and performances.