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If you’re wondering what Binyavanga Wainaina and Janelle Monae are doing in the same photograph, you clearly know nothing about the hottest African party that took place in New York City last weekend.

Kenyan visual artist Wangechi Mutu hosted a party to officially launch a campaign for LGBTI rights in Africa called Africa’s Out! Of course, everyone was there: DJ Cuppy, Solange Knowles, David Schwimmer, Duro Olowo, Kehinde Wiley and many other well-known figures in the art, music, and literary scene.

Africa’s Out! is a cultural and socially-conscious initiative aimed at changing the negative perception of same-sex love in many African communities.

What you may not know is that at the center of this timely initiative is Binyavanga, who made his homosexuality public in January 2014. [Read Chimamanda Adichie’s comments HERE]

“What really inspired me is a close friend of mine, Binyavanga Wainaina’s public coming out,” says Mutu in a recent video.

Binyavanga’s coming out was a momentous event. It certainly brought a lot of attention to African LGBTI issues. Mutu explains that Africa’s Out! is an attempt to keep the conversation going, to create a space where we can continue to talk about gay rights in Africa.

“I wanted people to understand where gay rights are in East Africa and do something that actually makes an impact, that makes this issue visible, makes it beautiful, makes it interesting.”

We wish Mutu and everyone at Africa’s Out! all the best.

In other news, Binyavanga was in South Africa recently and revealed that he was working on two book projects at the moment—a collection of essays and a novel. We can’t wait!

Watch Wangechi Mutu speak about Africa’s Out! 

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

2 Responses to “Wondering What Binyavanga and Janelle Monae are Doing in the Same Photograph?” Subscribe

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  1. Vol. 1 Brooklyn | Morning Bites: Joshua Cohen Interviewed, Lydia Lunch and Jerry Stahl, Laird Hunt on History, and More - June 10, 2015

    […] The time Binyavanga Wainaina hung out with Janelle Monae. […]

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