entertainment

Gay dancehall artist Daniel Molyneaux is on a mission to challenge homophobia in the genre

"I’ve never seen a figure in music of someone who was Black, Caribbean, and openly gay that I could relate to."

2021-02-17

Words: Joseph Ryan-Hicks; pictures: Wiktoria Slowikowska

Homophobia continues to plague the dancehall music scene, both in Jamaica and globally, and to be openly gay and in the genre is rarity. Daniel Molyneaux wants to change that.

To mark LGBT History Month, the North London-based artist is dropping his new EP Dance for Your Man and speaks exclusively with Attitude about the importance of living in your truth and being unapologetic about it.

What can you tell us about your new EP?

So, my new EP is called Dance for Your Man and is dedicated to my current single [of the same name]. This EP for me is all about pushing LGBTQ dancehall music out there and breaking down homophobic stigmas within the genre which is the most homophobic of all genres.



It’s time for a change and I want this EP to help start that. The EP also features a nice acoustic version of the song as well as a super-cool remix with another very talented artist - so definitely be sure to buy it and support the movement!

Where does your inspiration come from lyrically?

My lyrical inspiration just comes from real life. Real things that I’ve gone through, real things that I’ve experienced. Whether it’s good or bad.

Photography: Wiktoria Slowikowska

Why do you think there is such a stigma around being gay on the dancehall scene?

Dancehall music stems from Caribbean culture and Caribbean culture itself is notoriously homophobic. This homophobia stems from when anti-LGBTQ laws were sadly triumphantly imported into the Caribbean after stupidly being approved as laws in 1533. Homosexuality wasn't really a problem before this in Caribbean/African culture and even some African kings used to have sex with men, and it was a known fact and not frowned upon. But these laws came and messed things up! These laws then shaped Caribbean people's attitudes towards homosexuality nonetheless and years later has made homosexuality still heavily frowned upon in Black Caribbean culture, and therefore within Caribbean dancehall music.

Who inspired you to live in your truth and come out as LGBTQ?

No-one really inspired me to come out as I’ve never seen a figure in music of someone who was Black, Caribbean, and openly gay that I could relate to - which is exactly why I want to be the figure that I never had. Real-life difficulties and traumas are actually what inspired me to come out. I went through some things around two years ago which made me realise that life is way too short, and I’ve just got to be myself fully!

Photography: Wiktoria Slowikowska

What was the first song or album you were obsessed with?

The first song I was obsessed with was ‘When You Believe’ by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for the Prince of Egypt film, which I was also obsessed with. Those lyrics and vocals. It came out a year after I was born and inspired me so much as a child and still does. It moves me in so many ways.

Who are your biggest musical influences and why?

Spice, Beyoncé, and Bob Marley. But all for different reasons. Spice because she knows how to kill a dancehall track. Beyoncé because she knows how to cross between R&B and other genres so perfectly; her live vocals are always A1 no matter how emphatic her dance moves. And Bob Marley because he was so political within his music and wanted to use his music to change the world, which is exactly what I want to do with mine.

Photography: Wiktoria Slowikowska

What do you want people to take away from your own music?

I want people to know that it’s completely natural and normal to be gay. I want people to know that being gay isn’t a choice and that if you’re LGBTQ+ and struggling, just know that acceptance within yourself will come in time. I was once in the closet too and being doesn’t make you any less of a person.

Daniel Molyneaux releases his new EP 'Dance for Your Man' on 17th February to mark LGBT History Month. Check out the title track here.