Canadian drag queen Daytona Bitch found herself sashaying away from a Pride Toronto gig after organizers were left gagging from a performance she did in “blackface.”
Bitch performed as Miss Cleo, the faux-Jamaican faux-psychic who was barely relevant 10 years ago, at Crews & Tangos on June 26 in observation of the night’s Caribbean Heat theme. By the end of the night, however, Bitch was the one feeling the heat as some criticized her performance as a “racist minstrel show.”
Two days later Pride Toronto’s director of development Ben Freeman informed Bitch she wouldn’t be performing at this year’s event as the Miss Cleo stunt was “not at all well received by the LGBT community.”
Though she wants to “apologize to those I offended,” Bitch claims she’s just a victim of artistic expression.
“I asked a couple people if it was offensive because it’s not blackface in my eyes. I went to theatre school. I know what blackface is. It was not a minstrel show. I was doing a character,” Bitch told Daily Xtra. “The people I asked at Crews & Tangos thought it was hilarious that I was dressed as a big fat black woman.”
But Alphonso King, a DJ at Crews & Tangos and alter ego of drag queen Jade Elektra, is not laughing. King says there’s a “whole history” of racial insensitivity not only in drag culture but in the LGBT community in general, citing a performance last year by local queen Donnaromma entitled Islamaphobia:
In the show, Donnarama danced to songs by the Pussycat Dolls and Katy Perry wearing a burka and a bindi spot on her forehead, with a “corset made of dynamite sticks” strapped to her stomach.
King adds that Bitch knew very well she was being racist, since she actually tagged a photo of herself as Miss Cleo “#racist.”
“That was the most offensive part for me,” he said. “For her to say it’s just art is simply not true. She took it one step further and actually acknowledged the racism.”
Bitch has apparently removed the offending photos from her social media, but this gem may be an indication of her “art”: