Featured

'Why I Think The Gay Community Should Come Out' by Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti pens an op-ed condemning Nigeria's anti-gay laws and why he thinks the gay community should come out.


I’m writing to condemn the recent anti-gay bill signed into law by our President Jonathan Goodluck. This law – which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison for anyone in a same-sex marriage or civil union, 10 years for anyone who attends a same-sex wedding, 10 years for anyone involved with an LGBT organization, and even 10 years for anyone who shows affection for someone of the same sex – should be cast out. Since the law was passed, police across Nigeria have begun arresting and torturing dozens of our fellow citizens suspected of being gay. Don’t forget that in some of our states, if you are found guilty of being gay, you could be stoned to death.

First of all, this law was unnecessary. There is not space in the existing constitution for gay marriage. Our constitution is very definitive of marriage as a union between man and woman. I see the signing in of this law for what it was: a cheap shot by an under-achieving government to discriminate against people because they are different.

The president of Nigeria has a PhD, so he should understand better than most the implications of the law. Even if he couldn't stop the senate from passing the bill, he had the power to delay signing it as a way of protecting the gay community. The President has had the Petroleum Industry Bill in front of him for years, and he and our senators have stalled on the bill calling for harsher punishment for corruption. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s senate has just sanctioned pedophilia in our constitution (girls that are as young as 9 years old can continue to be married in if they are "physically developed enough" according to their parents or prospective husbands) – so this the ban on homosexuality can hardly be a so-called “moral” issue. This is simply a move for cheap political points. Meanwhile, people’s lives hang in the balance.

Today I am writing this not as a fight for “gay rights”, I am fighting for all rights. People should be allowed to express themselves freely and this includes their sexuality. I believe all gay people should come out and organize openly. I expect that society should allow them to live their lives as they please.

It's not a cultural thing – it's a sexual thing. I have even heard people say it's Western culture imposed on us and if the West doesn’t recognize polygamy we should not accept homosexuality. This is the kind of scary ignorance that this kind of law will foster. (I can say for a fact that the constitution of Nigeria does not recognize polygamy. We have customary laws that are non-binding, but our secular courts and national constitution does not allow polygamy even though it's “our culture.”)

I believe in education as the answer to any problem and I know this law does not educate positively. It just criminalizes and institutionalizes hate towards the gay community.

Here’s a call to action: I believe the gay community should come out! They need to put love above fear. I also believe that gay people in Africa not just Nigeria who are being targeted like this should put pressure on the West by claiming asylum in their countries. I think we are about to see a new wave of sexual refugees!

Love over fear should be the way forward.

-Seun Kuti

Courtesy of Jojo Abot.

Let Jojo Abot's New Afrofuturistic Video Hypnotize You

The Ghanaian artist releases the new video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," an entirely iPhone-recorded track.

Jojo Abot is rounding out a strong year which has seen her tour South Africa, release the NGIWUNKULUNKULU EP and work with institutions like the New Museum, Red Bull Sound Select and MoMA on her art and performances.

Jojo is now sharing her latest music video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," a song featured on her iPhone-only production project, Diary Of A Traveler.

"Nye Veve Sese is an invitation to let go of the burden of pain and suffering that keeps us from becoming our best and greatest selves," a statement from Jojo's team reads. "Asking the question of why pain is pleasurable to both the one in pain and the source of the pain. Often time the two being one and the same."

Watch her new "meditative piece," which was shot in Bedstuy, Brooklyn, below.

Jojo Abot will be playing her final US show of the year in New York City alongside Oshun on October 26 at Nublu 151. Grab your tickets here.

A Nigerian Label Is Suing Nas For Not Delivering a Good Verse

M.I and Chocolate City filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court claiming Nas didn't deliver the verse they wanted.

Nigerian star M.I and his label home Chocolate City are suing Queenbridge legend Nasir Jones.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Nas and Mass Appeal Records' Ronnie Goodman are accused of ripping off Chocolate City after they'd paid the rapper $50,000 for the verse.

According to the lawsuit, back in 2013, Nas and Goodman agreed to contribute a verse to a track from M.I. The stipulations were that Nas was supposed to mention "M.I, Chocolate City, Nigeria, Queens, New York—NAS's hometown—, Mandela, Trayvon Martin, and the struggles of Africans and African Americans" in his verse.

Nas did, in fact, deliver a verse but it didn't mention any of the subject matter Chocolate City had asked for.

The Nigerian label requested that the Queens rapper to re-record the verse, which now three year later, has never happened despite them delivering the $50,000 payment. Hence, that's why they're now suing him, they mention.

It's not all fighting words, though, as Chocolate City is very complementary to Nas in the lawsuit calling him "a highly respected lyricist in the music industry" and writing that they wanted a verse from him "because of NAS's exceptional talent as a lyric writer."

Unfortunately that talent and lyricism was no where to be found in the verse they got, in the eyes of Chocolate City and M.I.

Revisit M.I's "Chairman" above.

News
Photo courtesy of TEF.

5 Things We Learned From the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum

Over 1,300 African entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers attended the 3rd Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos—here are the highlights.

The Nigerian Law School in Lagos, Nigeria, was transformed into a buzzing enclave of substantial conversation, intentional encouragement, and unbeatable energy.

The third Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum was the most inclusive gathering of African experts in business, entrepreneurship and policy, where all 54 African countries were represented with more than 1,300 attendees. These entrepreneurs and thought leaders are innovators across a diverse array of sectors like agriculture, technology, healthcare, fashion and energy/power generation.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.