GREATER TORONTO AREA — A Brampton-based dancehall artist is calling for better event security and guidelines after being assaulted on stage at a show in Vaughan, Ontario on the night of April 21.
The artist, who goes by the stage name Diiverse, was opening the show for dancehall artist Valiant when a man got on stage, grabbed the microphone, and quickly whipped the object at her head, causing a serious injury.
“I was invited on stage by another artist – Kadian. She was flown out from Jamaica to open the show for Valiant and we have a song together,” Diiverse explained.
“I’m about to do my verse and I have a tap on my shoulder. This man comes on stage and takes the mic. I ask him, ‘Are you really going to take the microphone from a woman?’ I never once went towards him, I stayed on my side of the stage.”
“He came back to where I was standing and he pushed me out the way. My reflex was to get him to ease off me. He realized I touched him and he turned around and flung the mic and it hit me in my head. I didn’t realize what happened but then I turned around and blood was coming down my face,” she said.
Diiverse was left with a large bandage over her eyebrow, and a black and blue bruised eye. Medical professionals say she will have to wear the bandage for at least a week and she has to be monitored for a concussion. Luckily, the artist – who is also the mother to a five-month-old baby – can still see out of her eye.
Video of the incident has since gone viral online, with misconceptions that Diiverse pushed the main artist Valiant off the stage and false beliefs that she started the altercation. The video has resulted in negative comments and people online mocking her. Some people online even said that she “deserved it.”
“People are getting it misconstrued. There’s a shorter clip that didn’t explain everything that’s circulating. It looked like I pushed him off the stage, so it changes the narrative because it doesn’t show what happened at the beginning when he pushed me and took the mic.
It looks like I was the aggressor — but pushing him away was just a reflex to me. It’s surprising that it’s a lot of women saying, ‘why did she push him anyways?’” Diiverse said.
Now, she’s doing what she can to be heard and set the record straight.
In an interview on The Brandon Gonez Show, Diiverse shared that she has since spoken with the man who jumped on stage.
“I’ve done a couple of lives on IG and he has joined a few in a mask, hiding his face. He’s trying to tell his story as to why he did what he did. He says in Jamaica, you have to take any opportunity you can to get your name out there, but there still has to be stage etiquette,” she said.
She’s calling on the dancehall community and event organizers to do better.
“Security didn’t do what they were supposed to. If there was more organization, this wouldn’t have happened to me. He also took the mic from a DJ earlier in the show. There were attempts to ask him to leave but he should have been forcibly taken off the stage,” said Diiverse.
A report has been filed with York Regional Police but this is just the beginning of a healing journey for the artist who reveals that prior to the show, she stepped away from music to focus on her family. For Diiverse, performing that night was a one-off, she says she’s in mom-mode.
When asked if she believes dancehall creates safe spaces for women artists, Diiverse believes the genre itself isn’t inherently bad, but the people involved in the culture aren’t completely welcoming.
“I’m half St. Vincent and half Jamaican. My Vincy side – they have fun, party, go home – you don’t see many incidents in Soca. But for some reason in the dancehall diaspora, there’s always something.”
Diiverse shared her entire story on this episode of The Brandon Gonez Show.