Vanilla Ice takes to the stage at SC Pride in Columbia, Oct. 23.

While Pride events are shutting down throughout the southeast because of rising COVID-19 infection rates, South Carolina’s annual Pride event, held in Columbia, is moving forward with their schedule of events.

The Main Street festival, slated for Saturday, October 23, includes appearances by a bevy of RuPaul Drag Race divas like Heidi N. Closet, Joey Jay, Gottmilk and Sharon Needles.

Expect a live performance by the ’80s pop trio Sweet Sensation and another blast from the past, albeit a bit more controversial but from the same era: Vanilla Ice.

Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) first captured the mainstream spotlight with his hit single “Ice Ice Baby,” which eventually placed at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on November 3, 1990.

While the song was an unexpected success, it resulted in a lawsuit brought forth by the band Queen and singer and composer David Bowie against Ice because he sampled an exceptionally large portion of their original song “Under Pressure,” but didn’t bother to give credit to Bowie or the members of Queen.

In order to avoid the lawsuit and any legal fines, Ice opted to buy the song instead. In a nutshell, that means he actually owns the song and every time it’s played anywhere, he gets royalties for it.

Since that time, he has seen some additional success, though nothing that rivaled his first hit. 

In the years that followed, he captured media attention for an arrest following an attempted breaking and entering into a foreclosed house. 

Further controversy followed when he performed at Donald Trump’s mostly maskless January 2021 New Year’s party and also faced accusations of supporting Trump’s presidency. Although not conclusive and denied by Ice, he reportedly conferred with Donald Trump, Jr. about the possibility of locating the elder Trump’s Presidential library on the site of a Florida mobile home park.

Amidst the mix of unsubstantiated claims and accusations, Ice says he does not identify with any particular political party. 

But wait, there’s more:

“I asked him if he was comfortable performing at a Pride event,” says South Carolina’s Famously Hot Pride President Jeff March. “He said, ‘Hell, yeah’ and he was perfectly fine with it.”

Turns out Ice, now 53, is actually quite LGBTQ supportive. In 2015 he posted this on his Twitter account:

“Send out a message that no one should judge anyone. After all, doesn’t America advertise freedom?

Straight guy for gay rights.”

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David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of QNotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently a contributing writer for QNotes. Moore is a native of North Carolina and the author of "Charlotte:...

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