On Tuesday gone at Vout-O-Reenee’s, I had the pleasure of moderating a Q&A with Bisi Alimi after his performance of Pwaangulongii Dauod’s ‘Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men‘ in collaboration with Granta Magazine. Afterwards people came up to me to express their thanks for my support of Bisi, with some commenting about how much they thought I genuinely admired him. I do.
For years Bisi and I have followed each other’s work, us both trying to make our world that bit better. He is an international LGBT and HIV activist, fighting for the rights of Nigerians and others. It is people like Bisi who give me the courage to want to make the country of my birth a fairer place for all, not just the privileged few. No one picks a fight with the police like I did, lightly. I believed and still do that I did the right thing in challenging racism and homophobia in one of our oldest institutions, that’s why I continue to write and speak out about these issues which blight the lives of many.
Bisi says I speak truth to power, but it is he who does. He is someone who doesn’t mince his words. He says what needs to be said, with passion and integrity. He calls out racism in the LGBT community and wider, and homophobia within Africa. A man on the right side of history. That’s why I admire him so much.
As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve thought a lot about where I want to be in 2017. What do I want to do? What do I want to stand for? One of the things I decided to do was to re-edit the book I have written. I don’t want to write a sad book about my time in the police. I want to write a book about how a boy had a dream, it didn’t work out, but how he still has hope for the future. That’s the story I need to tell, and want to.
I’d be disingenuous if I said the police didn’t hurt me, but they haven’t broken my soul. I want to share the love I have for people and the world, because this is how I was raised by my beautiful mother. Despite everything that happened, I can never forget this. Sometimes we’re broken, so that the light can come in.
I hope you continue to follow my journey, I will yours.
Take care x