Gay music video sparks controversy in Kenya

The Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB) has reportedly flagged Kenya’s Art Attack music video celebrating gay rights as inappropriate. It has also requested that Google block it so it will no longer be accessible in the country but their request is yet to be granted. The Chief Executive of KFCB, Ezekiel Mutua, said the board expected Google to comply with any requests on flagged content within a week of reporting, but that the company remained non-committal on whether or not it would honor its request. “The least we expected from Google was a reply whether in the affirmative or not. It is important that Google makes a step on this,” he reportedly said.

In Kenya, gay rights are a topic of little or no importance as the government has placed a ban on their association and their activities. Business Daily Africa also reports that a US-based Google representative said the company responds to requests when passed through the proper channels. “We review government removal requests when notified through the correct legal processes and in keeping with our company philosophy on transparency and freedom of expression, we disclose these requests in our transparency report.”

At the start of the Same Love (remix) music video by Kenya’s Art Attack, comes a quote by the late American psychiatrist and author, David Viscott: “To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” Then the actual video follows, which celebrates and sort of validates same sex relationships, the song is even dedicated to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer) community featuring slides from various media coverage on the continuous slander of the LGBTQ class in select African countries like Kenya. The video, which is still online, has attracted over 100,000 views on Google’s Youtube.

While watching the video, the watcher may either feel sympathetic towards the LGBTQ cause or express some irritation at the intimacy scenes (especially in countries where gay rights are banned). However, there is an assurance that the real message of inclusion as well as family rejection, which Art Attack is trying to pass will definitely seep through all the reservations the watcher may have. At the 2:05 mark, the clip features a scene from Fox’s Empire, where a young Jamal Lyon was thrown in a garbage can by his father after he innocently implied he was gay by wearing his mother’s shoes and scarf.

On Youtube, activism is listed as one of the causes Art Attack stands for and sings about, so it is no surprise that such a song came from them. The underlying reason for the song is to wake people up to the fact that LGBTQ members are prone to suicide after suffering rejection and societal stigma. Also, to let people understand that gay people are born not made, as a part of the lyrics say: “I can’t change even if I tried, even if I wanted to.”

Aside from awareness and the occasional nudity (which may be offensive to some), the video also plays on emotions as it ends with the narrator talking about a quote from the late Hollywood actress, Loretta Young: “Love is not something that you find, it is something that finds you,” as the last clip features a suicide note from an obviously fed-up gay young man who had been shamed for being himself.

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