Classic Man rapper and producer Jidenna has trashed the false claim that homosexuality was imported into Africa from the west.
The 34-year-old Nigerian-American star, who is also known for chart hits such as Yoga (with Janelle Monáe, who identifies as pansexual), spoke passionately on the topic in an interview with Sway’s Universe.
He pointed out the hypocrisy of those African leaders who attack LGBTQ people as “un-African” and use this as a justification to promote and uphold laws that criminalise same-sex sexuality and oppress and stigmatise queer people.
“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. That was brought as a European import.’ It’s not true. It’s not true at all,” Jidenna asserted.
He also pointed out that homosexuality was a reality in Africa’s historical record. “You got Uganda, the kingdom of Buganda at the time… Before Uganda, there was an openly gay king. If you go to Zimbabwe… the Bushmen as they call them, you’ll see homosexual acts in the Cape paintings. 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.”
Jidenna added that it is in fact homophobia that is traditionally unnatural to Africa. “There was never a time where this didn’t exist, or where it was just hands down that homosexuals were wrong. That’s not actually an African thing, which means it’s not a black thing.”
Jidenna was born in the US to a Nigerian father and partially grew up in Nigeria where his father worked as a computer science professor. The family moved back to the US when he was six years old.
His music is influenced by the Nigerian Highlife music genre and his striking fashion style is a “marriage of European and African aesthetics.” The performer is currently promoting his new album 85 to Africa.