Jamaica’s Dalton Harris has been trending on social media platforms – all for the reasons many would not expect.
Despite him blazing a trail on the UK’s X Factor talent show, the ugly head of Jamaica’s homophobia reared up over a few hours as a photo surfaced of Dalton sitting in the lap of a fellow contestant.
As the competition for the X Factor crown intensifies, so too has many a discussion over the 26-year-old’s sexuality. The photo was posted on Instagram on Wednesday by an account dedicated to Harris’ team leader Louis Tomlinson.
The picture in question shows Dalton smiling with joint contestants Brendan Murray and Anthony Russell and vocal coach Helene Horlyck – all members of the high riding Team Tomlinson – but what some see as a harmless display of friendship and camaraderie has not “sat well” with many Jamaicans.
In a culture where actions and feelings between men is often highly scrutinised, public debate has steered far from the young man’s mesmerizing talent onto something more sinister and devastating, and the impact has been felt by Harris.
Using his Twitter profile to respond, Dalton Harris wrote, “If I didn’t know myself I would have been broken today by all the ignorance! I would have actually believed what you thought of me, good thing I know exactly who I am and I am far from broken. I mean it when I say you have your life to fix so stop wasting time trying to fix someone else’s[.] You cannot touch me mentally or in any other way so believe me when I say am not phased.”
Dalton says that he has lots more work to do and as his mind is light years ahead of the ongoing “controversy”, he is further encouraged to achieve his musical dreams.
“Back to work. Will not relate to this [expletive deleted] again[.] But this gave me so much drive to be great and inspire folks globally like have been dong…. Without the negative people’s support so what makes you think you can change or affect my success?” he argued.