BY CHISOM PETER JOB
Every year in the month of June, Pride is celebrated across the world by LGBTQI+ individuals and allies. This year, however, the pandemic threatened the celebration of Pride because, for all we know, Pride has always been something done in real life, with people gathered around, having a parade. But with technology, a lot has been made easy, one of which is the virtual Pride celebrations we’ve all had to celebrate this year, and we still are going to be celebrating.
This brings us to the first-ever Virtual Pan-African Pride coming soon.
Kehinde Bademosi, who organizes the Pan-African Pride－Pride Afrique－recently had an interview with LIVING FREE UK, talking about the pride, how it all came along, and what to expect.
What is the reason behind the event?
BADEMOSI: To tell a three-dimensional story of LGBTQI+ Africans, send a strong message to our countries that we have always been a part of the African experience, and leave a message in the clouds to let the ones behind us know that they are not alone.
What did you enjoy the most about planning it?
BADEMOSI: The power of collaboration, and the iterative nature of the design process. It’s been about the journey. Every bit of it. Listening to every storyteller and watching the light and sadness in their eyes. It’s what happens off the camera when our trans women from different cultures linger on to spend time together. It’s the craziness of more than ten people sharing the same email and everyone picking up after the other seamlessness. It’s the uneasiness of bringing siblings who don’t usually agree into the same room to talk about what matters. Pride Afrique is not what you are going to see this weekend. It’s what has already happened.
I love the lineup and the various individuals we are going to be seeing. How was it like in getting them involved?
BADEMOSI: Takes a village, literally. It’s an idea and those who came pitching in needed no convincing. I can never take credit for it all. There’s David Ikpo (we have been sleeping together since April, ha), Ms SaHHara, Kevin Mwanchiro, Marline Oluchi, Gabriel Alves de Faria, Dolapo Ogunwale, Jabu Pereira, Welcome, Noni Salma, Olumide Makanjuola, Revd. Macaulay, just to mention a few out of the hundreds of people who are a part of it. More than 70 people contributed to this idea in an open-source document.
How has the support towards the Virtual Pride been so far?
BADEMOSI: There are gaps, expectedly. However, there has been massive support of love, and kindness
What should we be expecting?
BADEMOSI: Pride Afrique 2020 brings you three levels of storytelling: structural, relational, and personal. These three areas guide our choice of stories and events.
We believe our stories cannot be one-dimensional as queer Africans.
The stories and performances for the first day tend towards the structural and systemic narratives that shape the afro queer experiences. This includes the legislative tools in our various countries: the African Union policies. It also includes cultural norms and belief systems that have shaped many of us. The big question driving the day one story is: is queerness un-African?
For the second day, we have relational stories that explore how we find our tribes, tell our stories/reclaim our narratives, and most importantly, how we navigate the uncharted territory of identity and society.
For the final day, which is the third day, we’re going to be bringing the storytelling festival of Pride Afrique, which takes us into our personal spaces－physical, social, mental, and spiritual. Who am I? These stories are how we take care of ourselves despite the harsh realities around us.
Throughout these days, you will hear from, and about the communities within our large collective. You will listen to the voices of Presidents and policymakers, and also from a parade of LGBTQI+ Africans at home and abroad. Inside our storytelling arena, you will discover the rhythms of our resilience, the beauty of our vulnerability, and the kaleidoscope of rainbow colors in languages and dialects that can only be experienced.
Is it going to be LIVE on every social media page, or are there any specifics?
BADEMOSI: Pride Afrique will be a two-hour LIVE broadcast of powerful storytelling experiences and performances, featuring the most critical voices on Africa’s LGBTQI+ issues. The show will broadcast daily at 5 PM GMT in Accra and Lome. 8 PM Kenya. 7 PM Cape Town. 6 PM Lagos and London. 1 PM New York. The event will be broadcast LIVE on our website www.prideafrique.org, our YouTube channel, and Facebook page.
The Pride Afrique is starting on the 14th of August 2020.