The obsession with Koffee’s sexuality continues to tailgate the growing career of the 19-year-old since the release of her 2018 breakout hit, Toast.
Twitter users have reignited the conversation of whether the entertainer is homosexual or not, a mere nine months after trying to confirm the singer’s sexual preference through lengthy (some demeaning) Twitter threads.
“She’s not to respond, she’s to focus on her music.”— Dr Donna Hope
But when all is said and done, does her sexuality matter? Does it affect the bomb music she is gifting the world?
University professor in culture, gender and sexuality, Donna Hope, thinks not. Speaking to BUZZ, Hope advised Koffee to keep her sexuality private.
“She’s not to respond. She’s to focus on her music,” she said. “Muma Spice is a bad girl, she’ll cuss anybody who says anything bad about her on social media, but Muma Spice is hardcore dancehall. Koffee shouldn’t tread into those waters. Let the public have their say. I know she’s not happy about it, and it’s very unkind to see yourself dissected in that way, but it comes with the territory.”
Koffee is known for infusing afrobeat and one beat genres in her music, but she is also known for her androgynous swag. The latter, Hope pointed out, seems to be the contention among spectators.
“I get the impression that they want her to dress like one of these Rastafarian female artistes who wear gowns and wraps. In their mind, she seems to be an anomaly because she’s dressing in a male-focused way,” Hope started.
“Her profile reminds me of Queen Ifrica; she used to be a very militant Rasta woman, still is, but she used to be very militant in her dress, wearing a lot of khaki and buttons, no makeup, but at the same time she’d wear head wraps and Rasta garments. She was still always seen as the expected image of a reggae female artiste, and Koffee does not fit into that image so people are concerned.
“Missy Elliott also had that tomboyish image, but she was fashionable with it, wearing a lot of makeup, nails and jewellery. Koffee is more laid back and not into flashy dressing, and that is where the confusion lies for many people.”
This kind of sexual codifying of entertainers perpetuates itself most when it comes to male artistes, according to public relations specialist, Janice Young. Using lesbian rapper Young M.A as an example, Young explained how Jamaicans are more accepting of homosexuality once it is a female.
“Some years ago, Brit Jam brought Young M.A to Jamaica, and had it been a gay male artiste, that performance could have never happened here,” she said.
“For a homophobic country, we are generally more accepting of lesbianism, so whether Koffee is a lesbian or not, I don’t think it will be damaging to her career. She is a big international star, and technically this is the only ‘dirt’ people can dig up. If it was a male it would be different. You can say we’re sexist, but this is where it benefits females in the industry. Shenseea can be in bed with a woman and post it, and it’s not a case where it’ll be detrimental to her career, it just causes a bit of uproar and interest.”
In the history of Jamaican popular music, no entertainer has publicly admitted to being homosexual while at the height of their career. Fusion singer Diana King revealed that she was a lesbian in 2012, almost a decade after her success with Shy Guy. Veteran deejay Eek-a-Mouse sent tongues wagging when he dressed flamboyantly while waving the gay pride flag in a video released this summer, but he has denied being gay.
Despite the critics, Koffee continues to cop international accolades, recently earning a Grammy nod for her 2019 Rapture project. Young added that Koffee doesn’t earn the bulk of her income from Jamaica, all the more reason why this ongoing debate will not harm her brand.
Women’s advocate Nadeen Spence agrees.
“The international community is noticing her, and this conversation might very well be good for her career cause it will make her reach a more diverse audience who will perhaps be sympathetic to the homophobia she is facing, whether she is gay or not,” Spence said.