Photos

The Limit(less) Project Explores Black Love Beyond the Norm with 4 Queer African Women

Nigerian-American photographer Mikael Owunna on the new edition to his Limit(less) series, '4 Queer African Women."

Back in 2015, OkayAfrica caught up with Nigerian-American photographer and writer, Mikael Owunna, to talk about his ongoing documentary photography project that explores the visual aesthetics of LGBTQ Africans in the diaspora—Limit(less).


With Limit(less), Owunna uses the visual aesthetics of his subjects, who use their visual aesthetics to navigate their cultural, sexual and gender identities, to break down the assumption that LGBTQ Africans are "un-African."

"Yes, we face terrible homophobia and transphobia both inside and out of African immigrant communities, but our lives are multidimensional and we are still people," Owunna says to OkayAfrica contributor Jennifer Sefa-Boakye. "We still laugh, experience joy, love and more. We find ways to express ourselves and live out full lives as LGBTQ Africans despite these ostensible “limits” on our existence, and our visual aesthetics can be a key part of that."

For Owunna, his new edition to the project, 4 Queer African Women, pushes a vital dialogue beyond what society discusses about love.

"It pushes a really important conversation about black queer love, black love beyond a heteronormative binary, love beyond a romantic dimension (between friends and within community) and also power in love for one's blackness and specifically, black womanhood," he tells me via email.

Photo by Mikael Owunna.

In this series pictured below, get to know:

Mai’Yah, 18 

Country of Origin: Liberia

Pronouns: She/Her, They/Them

LGBTQ Identity: Queer

Instagram: @mai.yah

Tumblr: @Dwelah

Badu, 20

Country: Born and raised in NYC

African Background: Ivory Coast

Pronouns: She/Her

LGBTQ Identity: Pansexual, Androgynous

Instagram: @baduizm_adu

Tumblr: @needstoescape

Yéwándé (aka Yéwá), 18

Country of Origin: Nigeria (USA-born)

Pronouns: She/Her, They/Them

LGBTQ Identity: Queer

Instagram: @therealyewande

Tumblr: @blkpoetress-ye

Amadi, 18

Country of Origin: Nigeria (Born in the US)

Pronouns: she/her

LGBTQ Identity: Genderqueer, Queer, Androgynous

Instagram & Snapchat: @kidandfro

UPDATE (05.09.2017): Mikael Owunna seeks to take the Limit(less) project to Europe—learn more here.

[oka-gallery]

Credits

Photographer: Mikael Owunna

Headwraps: @WrapsByJames

Interview

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A few years ago, Adekunle Gold broke out into the scene with a refreshing way of carrying himself, presenting his art and speaking his truth with music. His debut single "Sade" started this journey of chart topping releases, sold out shows, and the constantly evolving sound that graces African airwaves. Gold's self assurance made him stand out from the very beginning, as his sound was delivered with intent, compassion, and stuffed with personal truths.

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