Reano ‘Busy Signal’ Gordon will be a free man on November 21 but probably not as free as he would like to be.
According to US law, he is allowed to remain in the country for an additional 45 days after the completion of his sentence in Minnesota. Upon departing, however, his eligibility to return is uncertain.
CEO of Juke Boxx Productions and Busy’s manager, Shane Brown, told Billboard’s online magazine that the dancehall/ reggae artiste has been offered around 20 shows since his sentencing. According to Brown he is now consulting with Busy’s attorney, William Mauzy, and the presiding Judge, Donovan Frank, to determine whether or not the artiste will be able to perform at these shows after his release.
If the incarcerated sing-jay is allowed this privilege, then this will be his first ever performance in the US as ‘Busy Signal’.
Brown revealed to The STAR that the artiste was living with his parents and siblings in America legally before he fled the country in 2002. Gordon went to school there and got started in the music business as a selector going under the moniker ‘Hype Up’, because of his ability to work the crowd, Brown said.
The St Ann native would later face drug charges and despite his mother’s efforts to clear her son’s name, prison life seemed inevitable.
With his mother’s funds exhausted and his attorney urging him to plead guilty to a crime he claims he did not commit, Busy decided to flee the country and return to his homeland, Brown said.
Upon arriving in Jamaica, Busy wasted no time in pursuing his music career as a dancehall/reggae artiste. His breakout single, Step Out, took the airwaves by storm in 2005 and he has been releasing hit after hit ever since.
The artiste’s booming career is now slumping because of his legal woes, which is also expected to affect his ability to travel to other countries as well.
Immigration lawyer Wayne Golding told The STAR his eligibility to tour countries in Europe – where the artiste has a strong fan base – is dependent upon the immigration officer he faces.
Assuming Busy already possesses the necessary documents, his fate is then in the hands of the immigration officer who has to then determine whether or not he is clear to enter the country. Golding urges Busy’s legal team along with Brown to determine the entertainer’s status or seek clearance before he decides to travel.
“The most we can do is ask for mercy,” Brown told The STAR, while noting the severity of the situation.
Unlike his fellow Jamaican, Buju, who is in for the long haul, Busy was given a surprisingly short prison sentence of six months, which is well below the 12- to 18-month term expected. He was also charged a fine of US$30,000.
Though he is happy for his very lenient sentence, Busy is not handling the ordeal very well, Brown revealed. He explained that the penitentiary where the artiste is serving his sentence is apparently very rigid and is unwilling to cater specifically to Busy’s strict pescetarian diet.
According to Brown, the artiste has lost 15-18 pounds and reportedly suffered a blackout at one point during the ordeal. Brown said that his main concern is getting Busy back to Jamaica as healthy as possible.
Brown is also hoping that the Not Going Down singer’s young fans and peers in the industry will learn from his story. He said that it was Busy’s many philanthropic deeds, along with the diligence of his lawyer, that convinced the judge to be so lenient.
A week before the sentencing, Mauzy flew to Jamaica to film a short documentary as a testimony to Busy’s reformed life. Featured in the documentary was veteran singer Marcia Griffiths, family members and teachers from his alma mater, Brown’s Town High School, which owes its fully furnished computer lab to Busy.
Brown is also urging fans and the media to shed a positive light on the situation, saying: “We want to send a message that the good you do will come back to you.”