Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo has powerfully spoken out against the recent wave of homophobia that has spread across some countries in Africa.
Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Kidjo said: “The homosexual issue has been brought up front by religious groups in Africa but we have had homosexuals for centuries in Africa and nobody talked about it.”
She went on to say: “What baffles me and what makes me angry is when people in the name of God, in the name of religion, stir hate. To what kind of God are you praying? It’s not mine.”
Kidjo equated the issue with inter-religious violence, arguing that “It’s the same thing with Catholics against Muslims. We have been living together forever. Why now? It’s not about God, it’s about power. That’s the simple truth.”
She added: “God becomes a brand – I know that. A lot of people make a lot of money and here you have churches that have billions of dollars and they can care less about the poor people that come to their church.
“But faith has nothing to do with violence and I refuse to be put in the position where somebody would tell me, ‘Oh, you hate those people because they are so and so, that religion is this and this.’”
Kidjo stated passionately that “I never forget Father Desmond Tutu saying that God has given us a free will and vowing to himself never to interfere.
“Who are we to judge? Especially when you have a bible in your hand and you’re telling somebody because he’s homosexual he’s a paedophile and that you have to kill him. What does it make you? You’re not praying to God – you are praying evil. Period,” she said.
Born in Benin and now living in New York City, Kidjo (53) has been listed as one of Africa’s 50 most iconic figures by the BBC, among the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World by The Guardian and one of The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa by Forbes Magazine.
She sings in four languages, won a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary World Music Album in 2007 and serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.