//Jada Kingdom maps long-term dancehall legacy

Jada Kingdom maps long-term dancehall legacy

Jada Kingdom walked on stage in a Miami warehouse dressed like a cross between a Gothic princess and the badass Lara Cross from “Tomb Raider.”

Adorned in a Rick Owens laced-up jacket, brown and army-green tattered tights, makeshift brassiere and Prada combat boots, Kingdom was met by an audience of mostly women. She returned the admiration with some spunk.

“Miami wah gwan! Why unno so pretty so,” Kingdom said.

Kingdom’s fans chanted along to every track that she paralleled with twerking, hair flips and wining. Her 30-inch platinum blonde wig made a statement within itself. It jumped in unison with Kingdom as she sang her hit “Heavy.” The song is about the dancehall artiste’s plump derrière.

The Jamaican singer, born Jada Ashanti Murphy, chose the stage name because she considers her body a kingdom. Kingdom’s curves first got her noticed as a swimsuit model. In 2016, she was the leading lady in Sean Kingston’s music video “One Away.” The name is also an empowerment tool she used to reclaim her sexuality after being raped twice.

Kingdom said during an Instagram live video that she was continuously teased because of her voluptuous body. The outspoken 22-year-old has lashed back against critics while simultaneously being a voice for others.

Facing a turbulent journey in her career, Kingdom said she stands tall by leaning on her fans’ support. Dozens of fans cheered her at the M3 Studios in Miami on Saturday.

“It’s bittersweet. I am grateful for the love and support I’m getting,” Kingdom said, who is currently facing a court battle with her management company. “My fans keep me going, but then there are other days where it feels like I just want to say — but I have to look at the bigger picture.”

Kingdom’s legal dispute seemed to be behind her when she danced across the stage and pumped the crowd on Saturday. The sharp vocalist with raunchy and sometimes thought-provoking lyrics’ focus is becoming an icon. Kingdom wants to bring back storytelling to music and inspire generations to come.

She’s on the right track. Kingdom’s first single, “Love Situations,” was released in 2017 and is still in heavy rotation.

“The people dem need something they can rock to for a long time. I never made music for just a short term,” Kingdom said. “Majority of them have meaning, but you can still catch a vibe.”

Nyam Daniel
Nyam Daniel

Nyam Daniel is a journalist, a radio host and the founder of Caribbean America Web.