Queen Ifrica pulled from New York show following gay rights protest

Reggae singer, Queen Ifrica has been pulled from the 'Invasion of the Queens' show she was scheduled to headline in New York on Saturday due to protests from gay rights groups.

by Jodee Brown

Revered Reggae singer, Queen Ifrica has been axed from a show she was scheduled to perform Saturday night at the Amazura Concert Hall in Queens, NY following protests by a gay rights group objecting her appearance at the show, Invasion of the Queens.

On Friday, a protest including over 100 people was held outside the club calling for organizers of Invasion of the Queens to cancel the show, citing Queen Ifrica’s past lyrics condemning homosexuality, including her 2009 hit, Keep It To Yourself and the lyrics’ contribution to violence against the LGBT community. The rally was led by openly gay NY councilor, Daniel Dromm, who out rightly denounced her presence at the show.

“We don’t need homophobic people like her coming to Queens to spread their message of hate,” Dromm told the New York Daily News.

A Jamaican-born human rights activist, Michael Forbes also spoke out against Ifrica during the protest, saying, “The majority of her music has been very, very homophobic and it rings in the ears of men, women and kids. She uses the stage to burn gays.”

Invasion of the Queens features an all-female lineup that also includes Reggae singer, Etana, Dancehall star, Spice as well as renowned veteran acts, Sister Carol and Sister Nancy.

Amazura’s manager, John Rios confirmed Saturday morning that the show will go on without Ifrica following the protest, insisting that his establishment does not discriminate against gays and are welcome to the club.

Queen Ifrica has had numerous instances of speaking out against homosexuals, including last year’s Grand Gala at theNational Stadium in Kingston on Independence Day (August 6), where she repeatedly denounced homosexual lifestyles during her performance until her microphone was abruptly cut off while she spoke.

Last August, she was pulled from a show in Canada following gay rights protests.

Queen Ifrica stands her ground

Queen Ifrica performs at Rebel Salute 2014. - Photo by Adrian Fraterby Jodee Brown

Queen Ifrica is standing her ground on her views on homosexuality and marijuana and used the stage at Rebel Salute 2014 in St Ann on Saturday night to make it clear those views would find expression.

However, she justified her anti-homosexuality views by referring to the reproductive process.

“Children are the future and them can only born through heterosexual relationship,” Ifrica said, asking for the acknowledgement of persons who knew that children could not be born out of an orifice other than the vagina.

She got it.

Initially, Ifrica took subtle jabs at those she has angered with her anti-gay stance, making it quite clear in her performance that she has no plans to surrender her right to free speech.

In fact, after blazing delightful fires with selections like Lioness on the RiseBelow the Waist, and Genocide, she emphasised her stance unequivocally, reeling off Straight and Keep it to Yourself.

ADDRESSING SOCIAL ISSUES

And homosexuality was not the only thing that Ifrica opposed vehemently as she blazed against paedophilia, as well as black people dying in Sudan “and world leaders negotiating about some things that nuh necessary in this time”.

Another issue on which Ifrica stood firm was the value of marijuana, doing Coconut Shell.

At the nationally televised Grand Gala 2013, held at the National Stadium in St Andrew, the microphone was turned off when Ifrica was speaking about marijuana and homosexuality.

After that performance, the Ministry of Youth and Culture released a statement, expressing “… our regret that the Grand Gala stage was used by one artiste, Queen Ifrica, as a platform to express her personal opinions and views on matters that may be considered controversial, rather than to perform in the agreed scripted and rehearsed manner consistent with the thematic production”.

Then, Ifrica stood by her words, saying in a response printed in The STAR that “until a member of the gay community can give birth from their union, they should not be abrasive to heterosexuals because they came from that union”.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

On Saturday night in St Ann, Ifrica also did Freedom of Speech, the song with which she responded musically to that situation.

At Rebel Salute 2014, Queen Ifrica was clearly in a no-nonsense mood from the get-go, opening with the chant “bongo woman come”.

Those who initially thought she had softened her stance on homosexuality when she did not do the line “no mm mm man cyaa come inna mi bed” in Below the Waist were mistaken.

After Genocide, Ifrica said coming was “de hot segment”, and asked for all the straight men and women inside the venue.

There were many. Straight followed, in which Ifrica said she was “straight like de lightpost outta mi gate”. Her comments about children and homosexuality came before Keep it to Yourself.

Queen Ifrica was not all social commentary and fire branding though, bringing a light moment to her set when she invited the Japanese duo, Ackee & Salt Fish, to perform.

The two came out clad in traditional Japanese clothing and quickly won the hearts of the fans as they sang and deejayed in almost flawless patois, also making a straight declaration in the process.

– Additional reporting by Mel Cooke

Rastafest survives gay backlash

queenifrica1by Howard Campbell

DESPITE the furor over the billed appearance of Queen Ifrica, a spokesperson for last Sunday’s Rastafest in Toronto, says the show was a success.

Masani Montague of promoters Upfront Theatre Foundation, says over 10,000 fans attended the roots-reggae event which was held at Downsview Park.

 A good turnout seemed unlikely when local gay groups threatened protests if Queen Ifrica performed.

They were disturbed by the singjay’s anti-gay remarks during her performance at the Grand Gala, held at the National Stadium in Kingston early last month.

Montague says Ifrica was dropped from the show.

“She was pulled from the festival due to the strong recommendation and suggestion from Downsview Park, and also as a Government-funded event the organisation recognised that it wasn’t consistent with the theme of our production,” she told the

Sunday Observer.

“At Upfront Theatre Foundation we do not condone any form of discrimination.”

Montague says the Queen Ifrica episode did not hurt Rastafest. In fact, she believes it “made people more aware of social issues”.

She continued: “It also brought Rastafest on an international stage. The negative publicity put a lot of pressure on the festival organisers and volunteers, making the job of organising and keeping on schedule a bit difficult.”

Kingston-born Montague has lived in Canada since 1974. She is a founding member of Upfront Theatre Foundation which started in September, 2000 as a student drama club at York University.

It has evolved into a “service learning, incorporated, non-profit organisation serving children, youth and women in the Jane and Finch community” of Toronto and surrounding areas.

Rastafest started as Culture Jam in 1986. The name change came in 1993 when Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus were headliners.

Singer Everton Blender was the main act for this year’s show.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Rastafest-survives-gay-backlash_14978624#ixzz2e8i9eYM8

Reggae artist Queen Ifrica dropped from Rastafest concert following backlash

queen ifrica1by Kavelle Christie

Reggae artist Queen Ifrica is the latest Jamaican artist to suffer backlash from gay rights activists.

The singer was pulled from the lineup of the Rastafest concert in Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow: Saturday, August 24.

The cancellation is a result of comments Ifrica made during her performance on August 6 at the Grand Gala in Kingston to celebrate Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of independence from Great Britain. This also came on the heels of the murder of Dwayne Jones, a Jamaican teenage cross-dresser, and as such, her statements endorsing heterosexual marriage were deemed extremely homophobic.

Immediately following Ifrica’s performance the Canadian lobby group, Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA) launched a campaign to prevent the “Lioness On The Rise” and “Far Away” artist from performing at the then upcoming Rastafest. As a part of the campaign, the group also took to their Facebook page requesting the cancellation of Ifrica’s work permit.

Also as a result of JAGLA’s campaign, Queen Ifrica released a new single, “Freedom Of Speech”, singing, “Suh low mi mek mi talk fi what mi want and believe in/You have a right, mi have a right to/ Suh yuh cyaan force mi fi stand up behind yuh/ Two roads before yuh dem seh pick yuh choice/Suh mi choose fi pick da one ya wah straight an nice…It’s a breach of democracy to stop mi from speak/Agree to disagree that’s the way it ought to be” in reference to her freedom of speech.

In a gutsy move, she then sings, “Mek mi tell yu straight mi nuh inna nuh closet/Yuh cyaan force me fi promote yuh habit/See another song yah campaign fi ban it/Cause artiste right unnu love trample pon it/Medical marijuana is the future and we have the best here in Jamaica.”

Following news of Queen Ifrica’s prohibition from the concert, JAGLA released a statement, also found on the group’s Facebook page, saying, “The Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA) welcomes the move by the promoters of Rastafesta to withdraw Jamaican anti-gay singer, Queen Ifrica, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, as a performer from the upcoming Rastafesta concert in Toronto, Ontario.”

The statement continued, “This is a welcomed move by the promoters. We have to send a clear message that persons who make comments that jeopardize the well-being of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica, will not be welcomed in Canada. We hope that other homophobic persons will use this instance as a reminder that acts that incite hate will have negative consequences. We hope as well, that the government of Jamaica will move swiftly to put in place measures to protect members of the LGBT community.”

The group then pointed out that Queen Ifrica’s freedom of speech needed to be balanced with responsibility.

“JAGLA maintains that everyone, including Queen Ifrica, is entitled to free speech. JAGLA does not seek to curtail Queen Ifrica’s right. We however believe that this right must be balanced with responsibility…Free Speech is not absolute. It is free to the extent that it does not hinder citizens from living in peace, liberty, dignity. Note, the Jamaican Constitution itself states that the enjoyment of rights and freedom is subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest”, the group said.

“Utterances such as those made by Queen Ifrica threatens the safety of LGBT people in an extremely homophobic society…JAGLA will continue on its mission to ensure that Jamaica is a place for everyone to live in peace and dignity. We want Jamaica to be at a place where the rights for all is respected; where the LGBT community is not seen as banes of society, but as citizens working to fulfill Jamaica’s mission; where Jamaica can live up to its anthem of justice and respect for all, not some, and where the focus is shifted to fixing, not creating the problems,” it concluded.

Listen to “Freedom Of Speech” by Queen Ifrica, Penthouse Records

Queen Ifrica3