The Nigerian activist Pamela Adie has released her documentary Under the Rainbow: Nigeria’s first about being lesbian. The feature follows her discovery of herself and coming to terms with her sexuality, and the consequent alienation from family and friends.
Written, directed and produced by Adie, shot by the cinematographer and Hell or High Water director Asurf Oluseyi, and scored by August Wilhelmsson, the documentary is promoted by the LGBTQ+ advocacy NGO The Equality Hub and premiered on June 28, at a private event at the British Deputy High Commissioner Catriona Laing’s residence in Lagos, one attended by Nigerian human rights activists, media entrepreneurs, and entertainers. “As part of its efforts to diversify the conversation around equal rights and acceptance of female sexual minorities in Nigeria,” Kito Diaries reports, The Equality Hub has planned multiple screenings, mostly across Nigeria but including one in Accra on August 2, ahead of its digital release on its site.
Here is an excerpt from a profile of the release in Africa Is a Country:
Another reason that Under the Rainbow stands out is that it highlights narratives of queer success without denying queer vulnerability. Adie talks about how at age 25 she married a man (whom she describes as a “true gentleman”) because she felt that that was what she was supposed to do. She talks about ending the marriage and her depression and the liquid that looked like gutter water that her mother asked her to drink as part of a spiritual cleansing. But she also talks about returning to Nigeria in 2014 (the same year the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was passed) and getting a job as a senior campaign manager for All Out Africa. She discusses her role in getting homophobic pastor Steven Anderson banned from South Africa and the UK and also kicked out of Botswana. She also mentions her attendance at the 2017 World Economic forum in Davos and her selection as one of 200 Obama Foundation Leaders in the Africa program. Despite, or perhaps because of, her struggles, Adie has been able to be an out, vocal leader in her community.
Towards the end of the film, Adie mentions how she tried to get other LBQ women to appear in the film but that they were concerned for their security. She then asks, “who is providing security for me?” What is fascinating is not the threat of violence that lingers behind the question but rather that she does not seem overly concerned by it. The film, helped by Oluseyi’s beautiful score and cinematography, conveys Adie’s self-acceptance as so steadfast that she seems to be saying that whatever happens (and nothing has so far) will have been worth it.
Watch the teaser below:
Brittle Paper congratulates Pamela Adie.