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Saturday 7 December 2019
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SAUCY IN HOT WATER

Furore over Denise Belfon’s homophobic ‘dub plate’

Denise 
“Saucy Wow”
 Belfon.
Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon.

THERE have been calls for a boycott and overwhelming condemnation on social media of a “dub plate” sung by soca artiste Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon, in which she calls for the killing of a “b----r” and a “batty bwoy.”

The 20-second video of Belfon, known for songs like Wining Queen and Bicycle Wine, was posted on the Instagram page of Jamaican “selecta” DJ Dro who said in another video, Belfon sang the dub plate for him.

Belfon sang: “Hold a f---er and kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Hold a b----r and kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Hold a batty boy kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. Hold a f---er and kill him (repeatedly).”

Caribbean feminist group Womantra in a Facebook post, described the video as hate speech, homophobic lyrical content and one which could incite violence.

“It seems we don’t need to go as far as Jamaica to find artistes spouting hateful lyrics, calling for the murder of gay men. Following in the legacy of Boom Bye Bye (by Jamaican artiste Buju Banton), our very own Denise “Saucy Wow” can be heard on this freestyle track, calling for the murder of "batty boys."

“Despite the high levels of homophobia that still exist in TT, this display remains shocking, irresponsible and completely unacceptable. We are truly disappointed in Denise Belfon and demand a public apology for the harm she has caused by these offensive lyrics. Boycott hate speech now.”

Writer and activist Ian Royer, also in a facebook post, said he wanted to give Belfon a chance to explain her actions over two videos including one inciting violence to the LGBTQ community.

“She did not deny singing both versions (and) told me to check the selector for a lesson on dub plates, and offered no apology to the community who has welcomed her, booked her when her career was failing, and supported her. What a disgrace. I for one will be boycotting her, her music, and any other business or event she’s party to until such a time that she not only clarifies the intent of her use of hate speech, but apologises to the community. I urge all of you to do the same. I am angry, and deeply disappointed by her...”

There was a flood of posts on Facebook with comments criticising Belfon and the video.

“So Denise Belfon thinks it’s okay to promote hate and violence toward gay people. I was quite the Saucy fan but as of now, no thanks. Quite frankly, I’ll go so far as to boycott her establishment and encourage others to do similarly. It’s incredibly embarrassing that a public figure of TT, by way of soca music and Carnival, would choose to sing about murdering and committing violent acts toward gay persons in 2019! How backwards are you? Or are you content on dragging and embarrassing the rest of us?” one person asked.

Other person expressed disappointment and disbelief, and another said they were ashamed and disgusted.

When Newsday reached out to Belfon comment via Instagram, she responded: “You can go the selector’s page and get all the information on dub plate and on the dub plate culture.”

Asked how much she was paid for the dub plate, she responded: “Do you mind telling me how much you’re being paid to ask me what you are suppose to research about dub plate culture before approaching me? Because clearly you don’t know your job. Just saying.”

DJ Dro, in a video, confirmed the video was recent and a custom dub plate recorded for him to use in competitions. He said he wrote the lyrics, and the people criticising Belfon did not know anything about sound clashes. He explained that in a clash, people say the “baddest of words,” “nastiest of things” and it must be something “dissing” the other selecta.

“When you hear someone sing something about killing this and that (they are) speaking the voice for the selecta, which is me, to use against my competitor in the moment of a competition.”

He said after the video was posted “little people” chose to “turn and twist the story” into talking about promoting violence and murder and killing amongst a “group of people.”

“When she talking about killing this batty and b----r, she is not talking to nobody out there.”

He said the “killing” was about “lyrical killing” and said “dunce” people wanted to start something to get attention, likes and following.

The DJ said the dub plate will not be put out on YouTube or in public, but will stay in his “dub box” and he shared the video on Instagram to promote dub plates. In the video, he pointed to trophies of competitions he won in sound clashes using similar dub plates.

He claimed: “(People) wake up with dutty heart and just want to tarnish somebody’s name.”

CAISO Sex and Gender Justice also commented on Facebook.

“In the morning there was the video of Denise. In the evening there was the video explanation of the video of Denise. And neither one makes any sense. Denise used to be an artist who changed Trinbagonian culture and welcomed LGBTI fans, not one who chased the homophobic scraps of Jamaican culture to boost a waning career.”

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