KINGSTON, Jamaica — When it was announced back in November last year that Dancehall Queen Spice would be one of the main performers on Pride Month and Festival Weekend in Toronto, Canada, many in the dancehall fraternity openly voiced their disapproval.
But despite harsh criticism and immense backlash from her musical colleagues, Spice turned up and turned out in Canada on Friday. So much so, that her appearance has been dubbed a "political statement" to dancehall deejays and artistes that the LGBTQ+ community will stand for homophobia no more.
"Spice being here is more than just entertainment. It’s a political statement. It is saying to dancehall and deejays and artists, who are homophobic, that we are not standing for homophobia and transphobia, anymore. It is a political statement that Spice is standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community,” said Jamaican-born Andrew Campbell in his introduction of the Queen of dancehall.
When she touched the stage, the entertainer, whose birth name is Grace Hamilton, shared that despite the negativity stemming from her decision to perform at Pride Fest she stood her ground and was happy to perform for all her fans.
"First of all let me talk about coming to Toronto, [and] how much bashing I got to come here. Let’s talk about that. They didn’t want me to come here to perform for you guys! When I made the announcement that I am gonna be performing at Pride 2022, it became the biggest thing on the Internet. They didn’t want me here,” she said.
“But even if I was the only one from Jamaica to stand my grounds and stand up as a black woman to fight for my fans, to fight for what I believe in, to fight for all a you, I am standing here because I love all a you, and I know you love me too, because you came out in your tens and thousands."
Controversial selector, Foota Hype, and dancehall/reggae artiste Sizzla Kalonji were among those who used their social media platforms to voice their disappointment with Spice's appearance at a Pride event.
Dubbing her pending performance as a big 'L' for the ancestors of Jamaica and the music, the selector shared that of all the people in dancehall, he was "banking on the hope that no matter what, @spiceofficial would never give in to something like this."
Sizzla Kalonji in his post urged Spice not to do the show and used the opportunity to ask artistes not to mix dancehall and reggae music with "your evil, nasty ways."