Tue | Jan 15, 2019

Generous Grace

Published:Tuesday | May 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
D'Angel performing at the launch.
Queen Ifrica (left) speaking with Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna.
Dawn Lindo (left) and Keena Linton-George.
CeCile (left) and Ikaya take a selfie.
Davina Bennett (left) and Lisa Hanna (right) with Grace ‘Spice’ Hamilton at the Grace Hamilton’s Women’s Empowerment Foundation launch, held at Eden Gardens, New Kingston, on Sunday.

Spice is at the top of her game. With a recurring role on popular reality series Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and in the midst of flitting from one airport to the next for strings of performances, the international dancehall artiste sometimes locks away the raucous, provocative image her fans have come to know and love to make way for her real self, Grace Hamilton.

On Sunday night, Hamilton shed the customary blue wig and body-conning leotards for a full-white pants suit, popped with a pink pair of pumps. She also shed a waterfall of tears, shared with Abbygayle FFrench, the first beneficiary of Grace Hamilton Women Empowerment Foundation.

"Meeting Grace as opposed to the Spice I knew was remarkable. I didn't feel odd, like I was around this celebrity. I've always known there was a dichotomy between the entertainment persona, and then you have the mom, the sister and the friend. But as it [relates] to coming in contact with [Grace], I was surprised at how personable she was, how approachable she was. I didn't feel like a project. I felt like someone who she genuinely wanted to assist. That has lifted my spirit in ways that I couldn't begin to express," Ffrench told The Gleaner. She received a donation of $300,000 towards her tertiary education.

When Hamilton initially announced her plans to develop the foundation, she made a social-media post with the request for those seeking help or support to send her an email. "She sent me an epistle. When I read it, I was so proud of you, and I want to let you know that I am proud of you," Hamilton said.

"Spice, the persona, is an adult entertainer who goes on stage to ... you know? Grace Hamilton is the mother of two - two kids who know absolutely nothing about the Spice persona. I say that proudly as a mother. If someone were to sit my daughter down and tell her about Spice, I think she would be floored," Hamilton said. She said she feels broken when fans come up to her and sing her lewd lyrics while she's with her children.

"There's a time and place for everything, and I want my fans to be able to know the difference," she said.