Each month ‘Actions Speak Louder. . .’ introduces black gay men from across the diaspora who are using their voices to make change
Blackout UK: Who are you?
Mikael Owunna: I am a queer, Nigerian-Swedish American photographer
B: Where are you from?
M: I grew up in the US
B: No, where are you really from, lol?
M: Lol. I am Igbo and Swedish. >.>
B: What’s new?
M: I am working on a documentary photography project on the fashion and style of LGBTQ African Immigrants titled, “Limit(less)”. I have shot about 30 people so far primarily in the US and Canada and am bringing the project to Europe in 2017 and looking for LGBTQ African immigrants (either they were born on the continent or their parents were) there who would like to be photographed and participate.
B: What got you started?
M: Growing up being queer and African and being told that I can’t exist, that I was “un-African” for being queer and suffering a lot of trauma and abuse in African spaces, particularly with family. It started me on a journey to figure out how I can be both of these identities and still love myself. That I was still whole. That started me down this path that has led me to do the work that I do, especially with “Limit(less)” where I capture positive, uplifting narratives and images of free queer and trans African people.
B: What do you have to say that needs to be heard?
We are in a time of revolution. I see the rapid change coming and the love and community that is already flourishing amongst black people that will get us through it all. Freedom is within us and the bonds of love inside our community will get us through the hard times ahead and allow us to flourish in the free society afterward.
B: How can people join in?
B: What’s next?
M: I’m so excited to expand the project to Europe next year and connect with amazing black and African artists there! I will be in Belgium, France, Portugal and the UK and potentially other countries as well if I find people who are interested there. I’m so excited to connect the dots between our experiences in the queer and trans African diaspora in North America with those in Europe. Please spread the word if you can and hit me up if you would like to connect while I’m in your country :).