Jidenna Aims To Debunk The Notion That It's 'Un-African To Be Homosexual' In Recent Interview
He also called for a deeper conversation around a Philadelphia man bullied for having a transgender girlfriend.
August 30, 2019 at 4:19 pm
Music artist Jidenna is opening up about some homophobic myths within the African diaspora.
In an interview with Sway’s Universe, the Nigerian-born singer discussed several topics while debunking the notion that it’s ‘un-African to be homosexual’ and that homosexuality derived from European import.
“The whole idea that Black people, and our tradition to be Black… You hear these African leaders who are dressed in three-piece suits, got an iPhone, speaking in English and not their native tongue are saying, ‘it’s un-African to be homosexual, it’s un-African… we don’t have it,'" the "Classic Man" rapper said on the radio show. "'That was brought as a European import.’ It’s not true. It’s not true at all.”
“If you go to Zimbabwe…you’ll see homosexual acts in the Cape paintings," Jidenna continued. "If you go to different communities in Africa, there were different rights of passage where if a woman was with a woman, or a man was with a man, they were thought to be more powerful."
In the book, Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities, researchers discovered several pieces of artwork that display same-sex sexual activity across African countries.
"There was never a time where this didn’t exist, or where it was just hands down that homosexuals were wrong," he added. "That’s not actually an African thing, which means it’s not a Black thing.”
The 34-year-old Grammy-nominated artist also elaborated on the death of Philadelphia man, Maurice Willoughby. The nationwide case garnered swift reaction as it initially appeared that the 20-year-old committed suicide after being taunted for his relationship with a transgender woman. It was later revealed by The Marsha P. Johnson Institute that Willoughby’s partner, Faith, said he abused her and threatened to kill her before overdosing.
Jidenna, who said that he’s reached out to Faith, is pushing for a deeper conversation surrounding the case.
“Why was he addicted to drugs? Why was his mental health pushed too far? Why did he beat her?” he inquired.
During the interview, Jidenna also discussed his admiration for the new breed of rappers, including Quavo and Lil Uzi Vert.
While reflecting on working alongside Migos star Quavo, he said, “How intelligent he was with his chains and his vocal settings, that’s what an engineer does.” Last week, Jidenna released his new album, 85 to Africa, which references the metaphorical highway to Africa. His second album, which follows his 2017 debut album, mixes the sounds of the diaspora with flavorful hip-hop melodies.
Watch the full interview below: