African LGBT Activists & Allies

Image Courtesy of Institute for Security Studies.

Image Courtesy of Institute for Security Studies.

I recently listened to an interview about Eliot Elisofon’s exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Elisofon was a photojournalist for LIFE Magazine and major influence on America’s view of life in Africa. Contrary to much of the reporting on Africa, during his time, Elisofon chose to photograph a more positive reality. He again came to mind when I was considering how discouraging it can be to discover that many internet searches for activists for LGBT rights in Africa result in biographies about fearless leaders whose lives have ended in brutal murder, such as Ugandan activist and teacher, David Kato Kisule. As did Elisofon with his photography, I am hoping to highlight a few activists who, despite the risk of being ostracized, attacked and jailed, continue to be vocal in the fight for LGBT rights in Africa.
(more…)

Icon: Amiri Baraka

Photo Courtesy of The Poetry Foundation

Photo Courtesy of The Poetry Foundation

Are artists obligated to be activists? For Amiri Baraka, the answer was yes. Baraka, born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934, first became known for establishing the Black arts movement in the mid 1960s. He imagined the movement as an attempt to be Black in form, accessible to Black people, and so effective it could be used as a weapon against racism. In further support of this movement he set up the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) in Harlem with an aim at advancing the Cultural Revolution.

(more…)

LGBT Activists in Africa

Image courtesy of timestilve.co

Image courtesy of timestilve.co

I recently listened to an interview about Eliot Elisofon’s exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Elisofon was a photojournalist for LIFE Magazine and major influence on America’s view of life in Africa. Contrary to much of the reporting on Africa, during his time, Elisofon chose to photograph a more positive reality of the life of Africans. He again came to mind when I was considering how discouraging it can be to discover that many internet search results for activists for LGBT rights in Africa end up being biographies about fearless leaders whose lives have ended in brutal murder, such as Ugandan activist and teacher, David Kato Kisule. As did Elisofon with his photography, I am hoping to highlight a few activists who, despite the risk of being ostracized, attacked and jailed, continue to be vocal in the fight for LGBT rights in Africa.

(more…)

Pages: 1 2

Amiri Baraka and the Obligation of Artists

 

Portrait of Amiri Baraka by former Black Panther Party Revolutionary Artist Emory Douglas.

Portrait of Amiri Baraka by former Black Panther Party Revolutionary Artist Emory Douglas.

Are artists obligated to be activists? To Amiri Baraka, born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934, the answer was “Yes!”. Baraka first became known for establishing the Black Arts Movement in the mid 1960s and described the movement as an attempt to be Black in form, accessible to Black people, and so effective it could be used as a weapon against racism. In further support of this movement he set up the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) in Harlem with an aim at advancing the Cultural Revolution. (more…)