MUSIC

Winnipeg Singer Performs At Human Rights Conference Despite Rejecting Gay Pride Over 'Spiritual Beliefs'

04/05/2013 12:10 EDT | Updated 04/05/2013 12:10 EDT
Flosoul.com

A R&B singer from Winnipeg has drawn criticism for performing at a human rights conference for youth after refusing to play at Pride Day event in 2012, citing religious beliefs.

The CBC reports Flo Oramasionwu, known simply as Flo, played at a youth conference on Thursday for junior high students. The conference, entitled "Action Changes Everything," was hosted by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission (MHRC).

However, when organizers of Pride Winnipeg last year approached her about performing at their event, she declined.

"I was essentially in tears on the phone, just like, feeling really hurt — really kind of taken aback that someone in such a creative position would still feel that way," Brett Owens, who used to work with Flo, told the outlet.

"I have to stand behind my spiritual beliefs, yes," Flo said when asked about last year's offer. "But as per loving everybody for who they are — a lot of people in the gay community are some of the most beautiful people in my life."

Flo also said she isn't one "who is ever going to judge" someone for their sexual orientation, adding she was "coloured, right?"

MHRC executive director Joan Braun said she was unaware of Flo's beliefs, adding she'd be "very concerned about any events of discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or based on religion."

Last June the CBC reported Flo recorded the song "Hateless" with the Winnipeg Youth Choir, a song she said concerned bullying, which two of her siblings experienced in elementary school.

"It's horrible and the emotional scars it leaves in people run deep," she said at the time. "I think we're already working towards the solution by having 'anti-bullying' days, having an outlet for kids to obtain help and express themselves through Kids Help Phone line, and having great public role models such as Ellen Degeneres and Anderson Cooper among many speak against it."

"You can get knocked down, but what matters most is getting back up and standing strong," Flo tweeted yesterday with the hashtag "#adversity" at the end. Although she got support from some fans on Facebook, one said he "unfriended" her due to her beliefs.

"Please note a lot of human rights atrocities have been committed in the name of religious purity," Tony Hailu posted.

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