Hatim Rachdi and Matthew Blaise collaborated on a video assemblage from African queer voices and assembled them into a four-chapter collection.
Pride Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean support and honoring the LGBTQ+ experience should stop. There is often very little celebration for individuals in Africa belonging to the LGBTQ+ community as it is undividedly illegal in several parts of the continent. Hatim Rachdi and Matthew Blaise, who both shoulder an African background, decided to create a video piece that showcases a diverse set of queer voices from Africa since little is often discussed compared to other parts of the world.
Hatim Rachdi (he/his) is a fresh graduate, majoring in Media Industries and Technologies and minoring in Middle East Studies and Business Institutions at the Harvey Kapnick Center. He is an experienced researcher and reporter with a strong interest in writing about sexuality, coloniality, gender, race, and health. Hatim is a Moroccan national, who advocates for Queer inclusion outside of the western understanding of gender and sexuality. He is the president of the African Students Association at Northwestern University in Qatar. Hatim has experience with low-cost documentary making. I produced two short documentaries for an NGO in Guatemala, focused on indigenous access to information.
Matthew Blaise (they/them) is a 21 year old Non-binary and openly gay Nigerian who is a passionate advocate of LGBTQ+ rights. They are the founder of The Oasis Project, a youth-led Queer organization. Their activism aims to challenge and change the harmful norms and prejudicial views of Nigerians towards sexuality and gender as well as create discussions about sexuality and gender in all the largest media spaces on the continent. They are a nominee in The Future Awards Africa for leading conversations, a Women Deliver Young Leader, Trustee at Report out, and convener of the Queer healing space. They also have appearances on British Vogue, The Continent, BBC, Out magazine, Pinknews, TheDailyBeast.
Earlier this month, I saw that Matthew was compiling videos of African Queer individuals to celebrate African pride, particularly for the Global Black Pride event. I reached out and suggested collaborating on a longer version, a video assemblage of Queer voices from the continent.
Matthew and I collected videos about African queer voices and assembled them into a four-chapter assemblage.
The first chapter titled “We Exist” and tries to counter ignorant statements such as “there are no Queer people in Africa” and features Queer Africans ranging From Morocco to Egypt to Ghana and Nigeria.
The second chapter titled “We Face Challenged” and tries to shed light on some public challenges faced by Queer Africans, it features some of the horrendous and homophobic statements that some African leaders have given on public television.
The third chapter titled”We Have Always Existed” and tries to showcase some pre-colonial Queer African history as a response to the narrative of Queerness as a western construct brought by colonialism. While it is impossible to cover the entire pre-colonial history, this chapter is kept intentionally short to not romanticize a pre-colonial past free of homophobia but rather a case in point of historical Queer existence in Africa.
The fourth chapter titled “We Resist” and tries to amplify the recent events where Queer Africans have been at the forefront of political lines such as the End Sars Movement and the Queer Lives Matter Movement. This chapter is intentionally kept long as we try to carve out space for the current political involvements of Queer voices on the continent.
Matthew’s social media handles, here.
Hatim’s social media handles, here.
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