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Film and TV

Strictly Come Dancing’s history-making pro pays emotional tribute to his mum for helping him survive homophobic bullying

Lily Wakefield October 24, 2019
Johannes Radebe bullying

Johannes Radebe opened up about homophobic bullying in South Africa. (BBC)

Johannes Radebe, the first Strictly Come Dancing pro to ever perform in high heels, has revealed how his mum helped him overcome homophobic bullying in an emotional interview.

Radebe performed a voguing-inspired routine on Sunday’s show, wearing black PVC high-heeled boots and backed by two male dancers, with all three waving handfans that read “pose”, “werk” and “slay”.

On Loose Women on Thursday, October 24, he teared up as he spoke about being a victim of homophobic bullying as a young, gay man in South Africa.

He said: “I think any boy that tries to dance or does any form of… this, what I do… you will always get some kind of criticism or rejection or anything negative.”

But when presenter Jane Moore asked Radebe how he dealt with the bullying when he was young, he got tearful as he replied: “I thank my mama.

“Mama is the blows. So whatever things used to happen to me outside the home, when I walked into the yard, she made sure I got all the loving.

“She reminded me that there’s nothing wrong with me and that I’m special.”

He said of his fabulous and history-making performance on Sunday: “It was honestly lovely… I don’t how many times I’ve watched it back.

“Why not? Because I thought it was fabulous. The opportunity to dance in heels, to come to work wearing heels, it was incredible.”

BBC bosses said earlier this year that they were “completely open” to the idea of having same-sex couples compete on Strictly Come Dancing, however they are yet to officially announce a same-sex partnership for the show.

They were beaten to it by ITV rival Dancing On Ice, which announced that former Steps member Ian ‘H’ Watkins would be the first celebrity paired with a skater of the same gender when the show returns in 2020.

More: bullying, homophobic, Johannes Radebe, loose women, Strictly Come Dancing

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