This Tanzanian gay rights singer is fighting homophobia with dance
For Tanzanian singer and activist Hunter Blue, dance and song are the best ways to fight discrimination.
So Gay is his latest single – a rallying cry for activism in and outside the LGBT+ community.
Speaking to PinkNews, Blue said that when it came to battling homophobia, “the work starts with awareness.
“Globally, homophobia is ever-present. Prejudice exists everywhere.
“My work is to highlight it with So Gay.”
Blue was born in Tanzania, eastern Africa – a country in which it is illegal to be homosexual.
The So Gay lyric video features various styles of dance, which Blue uses to articulate his experiences of discrimination.
Taking refuge in underground gay clubs, Blue said he “would go and watch from the sidelines the incredible freestyle dancers.
“I was so inspired that I self-taught through hours of practice.
“My passion brought me out from the dark sidelines and onto the main club dance floors,” he added.
Upon discovering his passion for dancing as a child, Blue’s father reacted by investing in years of therapy.
Blue saw it as “an attempt to change my ways and understand why and where my odd etiquette originated from.
“The professional feedback was simply: ‘He will grow out of it!’ Well not only did I not grow out of it – I grew deeper into it.”
He chose to refine his dancing and said that he “chose strong arm and hand movements” for the video, “mimicking historically negative connotations.”
“Yet I’ve flipped the moves into a positive affirmation of empowerment,” he explained.
Blue hopes to empower people to love and accept themselves through his dancing.
But this is not an easy feat to achieve in Tanzania.
“Homophobia in my community’s customs is very prevalent,” he said.
Earlier this year, the country launched yet another crackdown, with LGBT campaigners facing arrest or expulsion.
As part of this crackdown, 12 were arrested in Blue’s hometown, Dar es Salaam, for violating the country’s anti-homosexual laws.
And a sexual health charity was recently outlawed for ‘promoting homosexuality’ after holding a workshop for the gay community.
Over 20 LGBT people were arrested and deported as part of a police raid in Zanzibar, a country which is semi-autonomous from Tanzania.
Thankfully, his father is accepting of his sexuality today.
“My family and friends support my mission to live in my truth and by doing so I believe and hope I can make a difference in the world,” he said.
This is a world in which, he said, “there are 76 countries where being homosexual is illegal, and within those 76, seven carry the death sentence.
“How can it be possible, in our time, that loving someone of the same gender can end your life and or imprison, stone, beat or burn you?”
You can watch So Gay here: