Gays block Queen Ifrica
Artiste yanked from New York show after protest
BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor - Auto and Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org
REGGAE entertainer Queen Ifrica has been pulled as headliner at Amazura Concert Hall in Queens, New York, tonight, due to mounting pressure from the gay community.
Six other Jamaican female acts are also booked to perform.
"She is not performing... everyone else will. The show will go on though," John Rios, manager of Amazura Concert Hall, told the Jamaica Observer.
The manager said his mega club is opened to everyone as "there's no discrimination".
"We're not prejudiced against anyone. I welcome the gay community and we get along with everybody," he said.
Yesterday, a 200-strong protest was held outside the club. The organisers called for a halt of the 'Invasion of the Queens' show, which they said contributes to violence against lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgenders.
According the New York Daily News, the protest is being led by openly gay City Councilman Daniel Dromm.
"We don't need homophobic people like her coming to Queens to spread their message of hate," he was quoted as saying.
Queen Ifrica, 39, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, is known for her strident lyrics, including Keep It To Yourself, Daddy and Times Like These.
The Rastafari entertainer expressed her disapproval of the homosexual lifestyle at last year's Independence Grand Gala celebrations in August which prompted culture minister Lisa Hanna to express regret at the utterances.
In her response, Ifrica's management team released a statement which, in part, read: "Queen Ifrica expresses that, while she remains grounded in her morals which espouses heterosexuality, she wants to make it abundantly and emphatically clear that she does not condone nor has ever supported or advocated violence against any group or community, whether implicitly or explicitly."
This is not the first time that the Jamaican act has felt the wrath of the gay community.
Last August, Ifrica was pulled from the line-up of Rastafest in Canada following protests by the gay community there.
As well, Buju Banton, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in an American prison on drug-related charges, had his concerts repeatedly cancelled due to gay protests throughout the United States.