Reggae star Buju Banton has publicly thanked his fans for standing by him throughout his "turbulent times" after he was imprisoned and hit with a string of drug charges last year (10).
The music veteran, real name Mark Myrie, went on trial in September (10), facing allegations including conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute cocaine following his arrest in December 2009, when he was reportedly caught attempting to buy drugs from an undercover police officer in Sarasota, Florida.
The case collapsed when jurors were unable to reach a verdict following three days of deliberations and he walked free from prison in November (10), after Bob Marley's son Stephen offered up his own house as a bail bond for his troubled pal.
Banton has remained quiet on his legal troubles since his release, but he has now broken his silence to pay tribute to his loyal devotees.
He says, "I give thanks to all my supporters who have been supporting me through these turbulent times.
"Thank you to all the people who have shown interest in my situation. I know you see the way they are trying to destroy my life, and you’ve supported me through these troubled days. I truly appreciate your support."
And Banton is excited to return to the stage to play his first concert in months when he shares the bill with Damian Marley, Shaggy, Wayne Wonder and John Legend at a show in Miami, Florida later this month (Jan11).
He adds, "I haven’t played my music and sung for my people in a long while. And I would like to pour my heart out and my music also for the people who have been there for me.
"I know there are a lot of haters out there and a lot of people who wish me the worst, but my God is still on the throne. And I just want to welcome all those who have been supportive of me to come."
But Banton's legal issues are far from over - he has to wear a monitoring bracelet to ensure he doesn't flee the U.S. and prosecutors plan on re-filing the charges in the coming weeks.