Africa’s first trans music star

The popular Kudurista, Titica, is one of the the top stars of this growing Angolan dance music form.

Still from Titica's "Olha o Boneco."

African governments don’t want us to think that “homosexuality” is within the realm of their or their nations’ “traditional values.” So these leaders, even Nobel Peace Prize winning ones, use that as an excuse to justify the persecution and lack of protection for some of their most vulnerable citizens. Well, it seems that the Angolan government who currently seem to have their hands full (of money?) can’t be bothered to check whether or not popular Kudurista, Titica, fits within that value system and we’re glad for that! Now, I don’t know the frame through which Angolans are seeing Titica. A little forum and youtube scrolling reveals a divided public (as always). Since I’m not there, I’m not going to write a drawn out post on LGBT rights in Angola. I do have to say that Titica may just be as much of a “challenge” for some New York audiences as ones in Africa (homophobia is still widespread in some parts of and communities in the US), so I’m proud to say that she will be visiting us next Monday night at Bembe in Brooklyn for the iBomba party! New Yorkers, come say hi and give your support.

It seems more generally that Hip Hop is the realm for political protest in Angola, while the previously marginal Kuduro seems to be turning into a sort of symbol of national pride. Whether or not that translates into better living and working conditions for the scene’s artists and producers remains to be seen. But apparently Angola has seen this kind of music before.

Everyone else look out for more content and coverage of her visit soon.

Update: Titica is not Africa’s first transgender music star, as reader Chika notes.

Further Reading

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Āfrīqāyī

It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.

Defying defeat

Political prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s collection of writings are a powerful and evocative reminder that democracy in Egypt remains a bleak prospect.