Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
Following Queen Ifrica's recent controversial Grand Gala performance at the National Stadium, the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad has launched a Facebook campaign to prevent the entertainer from performing at a stageshow in Canada.
The group is calling on the minister of Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) to withdraw the work permit issued to Queen Ifrica to perform at Rastafesta International Reggae Concert at Downsview Park on August 24, 2013.
According to the group, this comes as a result of her recent 'homophobic' outburst at the Grand Gala, days after a cross-dresser, Dwayne Jones, was murdered.
"Her remark is not the first of its kind and reflects the mood of Jamaica, where gays and lesbians are exposed to hatred and intolerance resulting in attacks and even murder. By allowing Queen Ifrica to perform in Toronto, the government is sending a message that murder music from anti-gay profilers is welcomed in Canada," said the group in a release to The Gleaner.
"The government of Canada now has the opportunity to send a clear signal to groups, countries and individuals who wish to incite intolerance against gays and lesbians through various forms," the release stated.
A representative from the group said they have spoken to persons involved in putting on the show.
"We have spoken to Masani from Upfront Theatre Foundation. Though they understand the views of our group, they seem unwilling to attempt to cancel her performance because of previous commitment. It is unfortunate that the promoters did not seem to do any due diligence on Queen Ifrica before hiring her. For example, they thought she had apologised publicly to Jamaican gays and lesbians. They didn't even know about her recent anti-gay remarks."
"It would be unfortunate if she does end up performing. It would be an offence to gays and lesbians in Toronto. Fortunately, we are in the process of contacting the federal government, the member of parliament for the area and key sponsors for the events. We are hopeful that we would get a positive outcome. If she does perform, our work will not end. We will continue to question the government and sponsors about why she was allowed to perform in the first place. Note, that allowing an anti-gay singer to perform in Canada gives a bad reputation on the government, which may affect them in the long run."
When contacted, Queen Ifrica said that she had just heard the news and was unable to give a solid comment on the situation.
Efforts to contact the organisers of Rastafesta were unsuccessful.
Grand Gala performance
Queen Ifrica has come under fire from the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, and the Culture Ministry for her performance at the Grand Gala held earlier this month.
Several entertainers have been the target of gay-rights groups in past years, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Capleton and Sizzla among them.
Last year, performances by Sizzla were cancelled due to pressure from the gay and lesbian community.