Chimano
Image: Instagram

This year has been kinder on the entertainment industry after the lockdowns of 2020, but some artistes have found a different kind of freedom.  

While sexualities other than heterosexual have long been frowned on, a few celebrities were bold enough to come out and speak of their sexual orientation.

The topic is taboo in the African society, though discussion has increased over the years, especially with the court battles for gay rights, activism by prominent personalities and gay films that opened the lid.

Decades after independence, the battle for freedom and equality continues in many countries, where LGBTIQ+ rights are "really a non-issue", to quote President Uhuru Kenyatta’s words to President Barack Obama back in July 2015.

Many of those coming out endure public ridicule but there is also immense support. 

The late award-winning and prolific writer Binyavanga Wainaina was openly gay. 

He came out in 2014, when there was a flurry of attacks on the gay community in several parts of Africa. 

He wrote a bio titled, "I am a homosexual, Mum", and then went on to tweet, "I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual."

The activist, who also revealed he was HIV positive, lost his life in May 2019.

It has taken a while, but below are a few celebrities who followed in his footsteps this year and embraced their "different" sexual identity, some after years of speculation about their sexual orientation.

Former BBC journalist Makena Njeri
Former BBC journalist Makena Njeri
Image: Instagram

Former BBC journalist Makena Njeri, who goes by the gender pronoun 'they', came out and spoke about something they are now proud they did.

In a post on Monday, they said being real helped them to be in love with themselves and do what their heart loves.

Previously, in a video posted on 'TedX on behalf of TedX Parklands', Makena said it had taken years for them to accept and admit the fact to themselves.

The former 'Tahidi High' actress said for the last decade, they struggled to live a normal life, "conforming to the different societal norms that have been placed on us from a very young age".

"I remember for the first time in my life after very many years looking at myself in the mirror and I said to myself, I am gay, I am unique and this is my truth."

Silas Miami
Image: Courtesy

Media personality Louis Otieno's son, Silas Miami, shared online that he’s married to Patrick, though they will maintain an open relationship.

"I met and married someone just under a year ago. He’s got all the things: kindness, courage, honesty, etc. But, while why all this is all fine and great, that is not why I married him," he said.

"In fact, neither of us believed in marriage. We still don’t. But after months of us looking at options for what companionship would look like, especially seeing as travel isn’t exactly easy for us, we settled on going for it."

 

Singer Noti Flow
Singer Noti Flow
Image: courtesy

Singer Noti Flow came out as a member of the LGBTQI+ community.

Five years ago, Noti released a music video, 'Same Love'in support of the gay community, which received backlash and even got banned by the former KFCB boss Ezekiel Mutua. 

The female rapper opened up in an interview, saying she is bisexual. 'Bisexual' is used to describe a person who experiences emotional, romantic or sexual attractions to, or engages in romantic or sexual relationships with, more than one sex or gender.

"My first encounter was with a girl at 19 years. I have dated girls but also men. Love comes in many ways and it doesn’t necessarily have to be specific with a man or a woman. Love does not discriminate. I have loved a man and also loved a woman," she said.

"A girl broke my virginity, which was a lovely experience, but my first encounter with a man was painful and hard. It took two weeks for me to heal."

Noti is currently in a relationship with a female lover identified as King Alami. They fought mid-year but later patched things up.

Brenda Jons
Brenda Jons
Image: Courtesy

Kenyan YouTuber and comedian Brendah Jons, popularly known as Mama Kingstone, came out as a lesbian in September.

In one of her live recordings, the 24-year-old creative introduced her new girlfriend, and the two were seen getting cosy and kissing.

"By the way guys, I’m telling you for sure, I am very gay. This is my girlfriend," she said.

Willis Chimano, a member of popular band Sauti Sol, told Mpasho.co.ke there was 'no hiding anymore'.

Chimano, 34, came out while promoting his solo project single, 'Friday Feeling'

"It is the first time I am expressing myself in a song. You really get to know who Chimano is and that is a heavy crown to carry. It is just a representation of the underground ballroom culture within the queer community, which I am part of." 

"So, I am just laying everything bare. From now on, hakuna kujificha jificha. Sexuality does not define you. It is just about me putting myself out there, my creativity and living my truth. Figure out what your own happiness is most importantly with yourself. Gather your own life."

Earlier on, Chimano caused a stir when a photo was posted with him paired up with a male partner.

Marini Naturals CEO
Mitchelle Ntalami Marini Naturals CEO
Image: Instagram

Marini Naturals CEO Mitchelle Ntalami indirectly came out as a member when she announced her breakup with her long-term partner believed to be Makena Njeri.

In a series of posts on her social media, Michelle said they broke up after serial infidelity by her partner.

She explained she had chosen to protect the identity of her ex but Kenyans on social media speculated it was Makena from previous vacation posts.

The two had kept the nature of their relationship under wraps despite the many photos of them hanging out together.

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