IS AN APOLOGY A RITE OF PASSAGE TO ALLYSHIP?

Opinion

BY VANESSA NWOSU.

Recently, a musician I have always listened to from my university days—someone whose voice could make your day—issued an apology to the Nigerian LGBT community because she witnessed someone getting lynched by homophobes. This is months after her homophobic comments on her show, saying queer individuals are unnatural. 

Everyone has been so dramatic about it, with different opinions. If there’s anything I know about my country Nigeria, it is the fact that we are easily distracted by every trending tweet, or persons. 

The Burna Boy and Sam Smith’s music collaboration is an example. It got so  many people excited that I began to wonder if it was going to change anything. 

Having a collaboration with a non-binary musician doesn’t mean anything, unless you are using your music to address the injustice faced by the community daily. To be honest, Sam Smith is the only reason why I listened to the song. I find them inspiring. 

When it comes to Simi, it doesn’t matter if her apology is for the gram, or a genuine one, I believe  what matters is her actions from now. We can’t call her an Ally simply because of an apology that was due months ago. It took her to see/hear that someone was lynched, before she could take any step. Now, are we going to be hearing her address homophobia in her music? Do we think she can withstand the public opinion of homophobic Nigerians? All these, and more are what I believe are going to be used in judging her apology. And while we are at it, taking the apology to the same show where she was homophobic, should be on the list too. 

While we call on public figures to have a say, and stand for human rights, our human rights, we—the community—should not forget that we also have a role to play. We can not sit and watch them tell us what to do, or wait for their approval. Yes, living in an homophobic country is not easy, and not everyone is bold enough to come out of the closet, but we should not forget that it is a fight for every single person, for generations to come. Most of the time, ask yourself if you are happy with the way things are. Do you even take pride in who you are? These are the little things. 

  I always look up to the likes of Matthew Blaise, Vincent Desmond, Walter Ude, and so many others, who are active in a hostile country. Young minds trying to do the little they can. Not forgetting the wonderful minds behind the LGBT naija page on Instagram, who work daily trying to sort out issues, Living Free Uk Organisation, EqualityHub, House of Rainbow, and so many others. When I see the things they do, I ask myself if they can do all they are doing, what then is my excuse? Why should I run and hide? Why should I be quiet??? 

Nobody is going to understand the struggle like we do. We are the ones to build ourselves, to be strong, and resilient, and to build our table, large enough for each and every one of us to sit on. To this end, I say, United we stand, divided we fall.

Vanessa Nwosu is a writer for Living Free UK. You can follow her on Instagram @nessakem, and on Twitter @nwosu_vanessa to know more about her. 

Editor: Chisom Peter Job | INSTAGRAM: @peter.fect | TWITTER: @peter_fect

 

 

 

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