Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apologies to Queen Ifrica from Blakka Ellis on the Independence Day Issue

Guess what! After my comments about Queen Ifrica's now controversial utterances at the National Independence Grand Gala on Independence Day, I got a personal call from celebrity entertainer and original roots singjay, the honourable Mr Tony Rebel himself.

Yeah, the big man from Flames Productions and visionary behind the wholesome, conscious and successful 'Rebel Salute' series called me, personally, so you know say me important!

Of course, I never got to big him up and tell him that he's one of my all-time favourite artistes, and all of those nice things, because it wasn't that kind of call. Rebel actually called to challenge me on the position I took in the article and we had a long reasoning about it.

I love talking to intelligent people. Yeah, man, because although neither of us budged from our basic positions, we were able to articulate and clarify our respective points of view, respectfully challenge each other and politely agree to disagree.

Differing opinions aside though, a key point of contention for Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel was a statement I had made in the article about what I actually heard on the night. I quoted Queen Ifrica saying four specific words, because those were the words I thought I heard. Rebel insists, however, that my assertion is factually erroneous and she did not utter those words. Naturally, he also wanted a retraction.

Now, based on my respect for the man, and considering the passionate nature of his insistence, I began to seriously wonder, there and then, if perhaps I did hear wrong.

But mi nah lie, I'm kinda stubborn, and mi couldn't just capitulate and run go apologise without verifying the thing. So I told Rebel that I'd try to get a copy of video footage from the event and watch it again.

I promised that if I found that he's correct, I would make the appropriate correction the following week.

Well people, I really tried and tried, but got nowhere with obtaining the precious footage. Red tape choke mi till mi get blacker and blue!

I called around and asked about nine people who were either at the Grand Gala or watched it on TV, and nobody could unequivocally substantiate my recollection of what I thought I heard.

The week came and went. Braps, Roger Clarke 'daggered' his way into the spotlight and became the topic of my comments last week.

So, the relentless Rebel reached me again with the following text: "Greetings, Mr Ellis, I notice you did not correct your error that you made in last week's column about Queen Ifrica. We can overstand that the 'Rogernization' of the social media captured your mind, but we anticipate the correction from you. An error that is not corrected will end up as a fact and we don't want that. Bless. Rebel."

Mr Rebel is right, don't it? Yeah man, I'm now duty bound to do the right thing. So, folks, while I stand by my substantive argument against the public 'othering' of fellow Jamaicans based on sexuality, and while I insist that the Grand Gala stage was an inappropriate forum to introduce or ventilate an issue around which our people are passionately and violently divided, I must now concede that I also erred.

My assertion in the fifth paragraph of my column of August 28 that, "I'm sure I heard her say 'no gays 'round here' on the big stage at the National Stadium", was an error. I can find no evidence that Queen Ifrica actually spoke those words and I hereby, categorically, withdraw and retract my comments to that effect.

I also apologize sincerely to Queen Ifrica for inadvertently publicising an error.


In the meantime here is my podcast on my thoughts on the handling of the matter by the advocates:


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