X Factor UK Winner Dalton Harris is pushing back against critics who say he’s angry and used his bitterness to compare himself to the legendary Dancehall singer Buju Banton. The Jamaican singer has also blasted homophobic comments made by some Jamaican social media users who reacted to his Conversation with New York-based songwriter Autumn Rowe on June 25.
In comments made the day before Banton released his much-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, Harris complained about the poor reception he received from the Government of Jamaica while others like Buju received a warm welcome despite his conviction for drug offenses and subsequent sentence in the United States. Banton did not receive a state welcome, but his many diehard fans waited at the airport to get a glimpse of him. Tessanne Chin, The Voice winner, had a late night reception and press conference at the airport upon her return to the island in 2013.
While it’s true that Harris didn’t receive an official welcome, the Jamaican Minister of Entertainment, Babsy Grange, did attend his finals in London, where he won the X Factor UK competition in 2018.
Jamaicans didn’t take kindly to Harris playing up “hate” that he has received for being perceived to be gay, with many accusing him of stoking the fire that is Jamaica’s reputation of being anti-gay.
Harris responded to the criticism on Instagram on Saturday, saying that he’s led an exemplary life and career, and he did it without teaching hate. “They hate me because I speak the truth and challenge the f–ked up culture. So they will attack my talent and success and say I am envious,” the singer said.
He clarified that “I have nothing against Buju. And he has nothing I am envious of. He is a legend in his own right. He could be my grandfather.”
But in another jab at his “haters,” Dalton brought up Buju Banton’s 2019 statements to the public in which he promoted ‘tolerance and love’ for people to live as they choose. Buju had also announced the removal of the infamous Boom Bye Bye song from all streaming services he controlled.
Harris said, “Buju, who they are defending with homophobic remarks towards me, has apologized to the LGBTQ community. So they are all so f—ing dumb.” His tirade went on, “But then again, ignorance rules their aggression and I pray they can live to defeat that. Sending you love.”
The Cry singer added that he has his own success and talent that has made an impact without oppressing anyone and that he is proud of himself. “They have nothing to say bad about me, so they think repeating me being gay is bad and because I don’t waver cuz as GAY as they say I am. They should triple it. It still wouldn’t bother me but they know they cannot effect [sic] my career or earning potential so they attack. But I win again. Lol.”
He further referenced hate he claims he received during his time on the X Factor show. “I am sure they remember how they tried during x-factor and failed…I welcome them to be dumb enough to try again. Hahahaha.”
In another Instagram Story, Harris lashed out at the “few ignorant people” who turned his Conversation with Rowe into something else. He added that the actual conversation was about “changing how we treat people and how we teach people to think of themselves. I will always stand for love and acceptance and fairness and equality and use my voice for good so those without one can see a path to strength in themselves.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Jamaicans reacted to his first comments about Buju Banton.
“ummm…because HE is the living legend @bujubanton! You, sir…still starting from the bottom. #EarnIt,” said one user.
Another noted “If you plan your homecoming and don’t include your ppl bck home, how that work? As Tessanne win she find yaad. As Gargamel free him deh a yaad a meet and greet everybody. U need to earn your stripe and stop ignite the fire of Jamaica’s international reputation of anti-gay.”
Another fan commented, “this bredda is so badmind and feeds so much on the hate he gets that he doesn’t even recognize the genuine love and support he gets. Its crazy…bredda just gwan ya man if you carry so much feelings gainst your country.”
On Facebook, a Dalton fan said, “You will get love from those who love you. Don’t look for love and respect from people who don’t love and respect you, you will be disappointed.”
He continued, “Jamaicans love certain people and certain things. If you are in this for admiration and acceptance and not for the pure love of it you are in the wrong business. Jamaica is Jamaica. What the USA and UK will love you for Jamaica won’t. Do good music and keep your heart clean and don’t look at how other musicians are treated compared to you. That’s the biggest letdown and it will be you doing it to yourself. Guidance and blessings.”