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

Take it to the house

On this month’s AIAC Radio, Boima celebrates all things basketball, looking at its historical relationships with music and race, then focusing on Africa’s biggest names in the sport.

El maestro siempre

Maky Madiba Sylla is a militant filmmaker excavating iconic Africans whose legacies he believes need to be known widely—like the singer Laba Sosseh.

Madiba and Mali

There is a remarkable connection between Mali and South Africa, dating back to the liberation struggle, and actively encouraged by the author’s work.

A devil’s deal

Rwanda’s proposed refugee deal with Britain is another strike against President Paul Kagame’s claim that he is an authentic and fearless pan-Africanist who advocates for the less fortunate.

Red and Black

Yunxiang Gao’s new book takes a fresh look at connected lives of African American and Chinese leftist activists, artists and intellectuals after World War II.