'Absolutely raunchy': Rapper's lyrics anger some at Toronto’s Canada 150 show
Published Tuesday, July 4, 2017 5:01PM EDT
A rapper is accused of breaking an agreement to keep a Canada 150 performance family-friendly after he included profane lyrics in the late-night show.
Ottawa-raised artist Belly hit the stage at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square Monday night shortly after 10 p.m. and closed out the show after a surprise performance by Drake.
But some of Belly’s songs, like “Consuela,” which includes references to drugs, sex and Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo, struck a bad chord with attendees.
“The performers were raunchy. Absolutely raunchy,” said Lee Thureson, a mother who attended the event with her 11-year-old son, adding that some of the songs included “superlatives” that you “don’t hear in nightclubs.”
“I was standing with other mothers and we were all commenting.”
City organizers have since apologized for the show and encouraged Belly to do the same. They say there was a written agreement that the show’s content would be suitable for all ages, so the adult content came as “a total shock.”
“We are extremely disappointed with what happened, and we apologize,” said city spokesperson Wynna Brown. “Certainly we believe a public apology would go a long way for the artist and to show good will toward our audience.”
But the rap artist hasn’t given any indication that he plans to apologize. On the contrary, he lashed out against those parents who had a problem with his music.
“If you had your kids out at midnight and you’re mad I was swearing last night, let me kindly remind you to s*** my d***. Oh & f*** you too [sic],” Belly said in a tweet, which he has since deleted.
He also suggested that organizers knew he planned to swear in his performance long before he stepped on stage.
"Organizers were made aware that I would be swearing during my show before I even flew in to Toronto.. must be a slow news day," he wrote in another deleted tweet.
In a tweet that remains posted online, Belly wrote “f*** censorship forever” with a middle finger emoji.
City officials would not confirm how much money they agreed to pay Belly for the performance. But officials told CTV Toronto that the city is looking at whether non-payment might be an option now that they believe he broke the terms of the agreement.
Toronto Mayor John Tory did not discuss the issue at city hall on Tuesday, but instead said celebrations were “well supported” by Torontonians.
Twitter users sounded off on the controversy. Some argued that the rapper was out of line, while others praised the show.
Totally agree quite disgusted at the language when it's a family event— clare butter (@ButterClare) July 4, 2017
We need more artist doing what @reBELLYus did last night— Dopey (@sheluvdopey) July 4, 2017
Complaints over Belly's performance is exactly why Toronto is so stale & santized. They're why we can never have nice things!#TOpoli— Chantelle (@Chantellectual) July 4, 2017
It's a family event, the city should have known better— tina pulciani (@tina_pulciani) July 4, 2017
With files from CTV Toronto