Matthew Blaise
Matthew Blaise

Matthew Blaise

Age - 23
Lagos, Nigeria
I’d make a documentary exploring ancient African queer evolution from pre-and-post-colonial times to the modern day
Matthew Blaise

In October 2020, when then 21-year-old Matthew Blaise stormed through the streets of Lagos chanting “queer lives matter”, they dared to demand that the the #EndSARS uprisings, a series of anti-police protests against Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, centre the lives of queer Nigerians. 

Spotlighted by Vogue, Time and Bloomberg, already Blaise has been instrumental in carving out visibility about the issues facing queer people in Africa. Demonstrating the power and possibilities of social media, so far they have managed to use their platform as a safe space for queer Nigerians to have much-needed, frank conversations about sexual and mental health. Not to mention mobilising queer young people, drawing global attention to injustices towards the queer community across Africa, alongside further practical help, including fundraising for queer courses in Nigeria. 

Blaise’s work continues to tie the conditions for African queer people in the present with the destablisation of African regions due to European colonialism in the past. For instance, their research into the history of queerness in Africa, including female husbandry, mudoko dako in Uganda, and ancient linguistics confirming the presence of queerness, has garnered significant impressions on Instagram. 

Now, they are hoping to expand this initial research into a documentary, mapping a genealogy of African queer evolution from the precolonial, postcolonial, to the present. This endeavour will aim to unlock the power of video and visuals in order to translate the message of queerness as indigenous to Africanness “farther and faster than words or pictures ever will”. 

Text Jason Okundaye

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