Drag Queen Fired From Pride Toronto For Blackface Performance

daytona-bitchCanadian 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”:


Bitch, please.

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  • 2eo

    Good to see everyone exercised their right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by the US constitution to call this pile of effluent exactly what it was.

    It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t controversial, clever or a commentary. It was just out and out dire.

  • ShowMeGuy

    If that pic way up top was of her *blackface*…….WAKE THE FUCK UP…..that isn’t even what BLACKFACE looks like. Learn some history. Grow a brain.

  • Jamal

    I don’t think it’s offensive. It’s just a parody act, I don’t think people get that.
    Just don’t take it too far though. As long as the content isn’t totally offensive,
    who cares? It’s not like he came out there with a bucket of kfc and grape pop.

    But I have a soft spot for drag queens lol.

  • balehead

    This isn’t blackface…..

  • kurt_t

    Blackface? Not exactly. Traditionally “blackface” denotes a specific kind of performance in which the performers wear clown-like makeup that includes large white patches around the eyes and mouth.

    Also, blackface has its own set of stock characters, the best known of which is probably the sort of blustery, grandiose male character who typically wears an ill-fitting suit, usually with a derby hat, and who might also carry an ornate walking stick.

    A lot of American music from the early 20th century has its roots in the blackface (or minstrel show) tradition. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” is probably the best known example. (“It’s the bestest band what am.”)

    Sophie Tucker, as a young vaudevillian, performed in blackface until (if you believe her story) the trunk that contained her costume and makeup disappeared en route to a performance.

    I bring up the history of blackface, because, like other commenters, I think it’s unfair to characterize Daytona Bitch’s performance as part of that tradition.

  • Tackle

    This is ridiculous. No that’s not blackface and I personally, not offended. This is no different then when I’ve seen White drag performers do Diana Ross, Tina Turner or Whitney Houston. That’s artistic expression.

  • Will L

    Granted, she looks more like Tanning Mom than classical blackface. I can see where Pride was coming from, though. Someone would have been offended. Then they would have to justify why they DIDN’T knock her from Toronto Pride. Surely she could have come up with something more tasteful for Caribbean Heat.

    Also, 2eo, where does the US constitution come into this? This all took place in Canada. :)

  • Kangol

    Good riddance. No more blackface, thank you very much!

  • sprocket

    “Good to see everyone exercised their right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by the US constitution to call this pile of effluent exactly what it was.”

    Good to see Canadian cities following the US constitution.

  • oilburner

    Oh what’s the big deal? Sounds like a great evening out to me . I would love to see her perform

  • 2eo

    @sprocket: In my defense I at least got the continent right. I’ll be in the corner with the Geography dunce hat on for an hour or so.

  • DuMaurier

    I’m pretty sure the last time blackface was acceptable was when Olivier played Othello.

  • G FG

    So….I am assuming that the next one to be prohibited from public appearances must be Latoya Jackson for impersonating a white woman. The race issue is becoming a farse. Pretty soon you won’t be able to see Caucasians playing Jews because it would be offensive. Let’s see…What happened when Pearl Bailey played Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly?
    America….wake up !

  • Publius

    @2eo: You do realize this happened in Toronto, right? The U.S. Constitution is not really a factor.

  • Cam

    @Will L:

    LOL! I didn’t even think about it, but when you mentioned “Tan Mom”……you nailed it!

Comments are closed.