Gyal Dem Fiyah: Mz Lady ICE
I’ll tell you a quick little story …
Once upon a time, many moons ago in South Jamaica, in Queens NYC, a barely 17-year-old me was snuck into a strip club by an older friend who danced there. She’d made me up beforehand so I looked older, she’d gotten me backstage, and later on that evening, she gave me my first lap dance. Two things happened that night. Firstly, I had the initial whispers of “Oh snap, I might be gay,” and secondly, I realized that exotic dancers are THE SHIT! The artistry. The athleticism. The control. Like, how? HOW? How do they do what they do? And yes, I’ll acknowledge that some dancers are better than others. Mz Lady ICE is one of those better dancers. I don’t recall where I first saw ICE – aka Phylicia Carty – perform, but I remember being struck by her talent.
I must admit – being from the States, and from NYC specifically, and having been to my share of “gentlemen’s” clubs – I was underwhelmed by the shows I saw in my early years in Canada. I just didn’t come across the same choreography and pole work that I was used to back home –until I saw ICE work a floor and a pole. An exotic dancer’s ability to hook you in from the moment she touches the stage is her gift. And ICE has been blessed. She can dance, yes, but she also engages with her audience through her eyes and expression, as well as her body.
She’s also carving out her own safe space, refusing to do jobs that don’t allow her to bring her girlfriend. She places her sexuality on blast, partially for you to consume but also for her to make her own rules and undo the stigma that often follows lesbian dancers. She’s active in Toronto’s Kiki ballroom scene and is a member of the iconic Miyake-Mugler house. She’s recently been the feature of the documentary Stripped, which offers an intimate exploration into her professional practice, her vulnerabilities, and her daily life, on- and off-stage. Look to strippedfilm.ca to follow screenings of the film, happening now across Canada.