Titled We Are Flowers: An Anthology Of Queer Art, the literary effort championed by the 14 team and contributed to by Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike is on the dawn of its publication online.
Below is an excerpt from one of its pieces titled Black Testosterone (or: What To Do with Famous African Male Bodies) by Jaja:
It is 2004 or 2005 when I first see Idris: a huge dark-skinned man whose presence means gravity, whose arms are as huge and capable, who is sitting on a chair, sadness in his eyes. I first see Idris in Sometimes in April. Then, I do not know his name, only that he makes me want to urinate, makes me need to use my small prick. I am a child but my imagination is already riotous. It is 2011 when I know who he is, when I ask Google because his name is the LCM of Sexiest Black Men lists. In Pacific Rim, he keeps me holding my heart and my groin. In Beasts of No Nation, he makes me want to tear off my clothes and run through the bloody, green forests and offer myself on his bed, legs torn wide. The testosterone. Too much. Oozing. Gushing. Flushing. Rousing. Arousing. He is the only man I Google every other day. FYI: I Google more women than men, some women daily—Rihanna, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Cate Blanchett, and at least once a week: Genevieve Nnaji.
I first experience D’banj in 2004 or 2005, whichever year it is that his “Tongolo (Remix)” came out. But I don’t see him, don’t know how he looks, until 2006 or 2007, when his video for “Why Me” is on constant replay everywhere I turn. It helps that one of my secondary school involvements—a gay boy who becomes the worst mistake of my life—name-drops him like mad. But I first like him in 2008 when I hear “Fall in Love” and realise that it will be my number-one favourite Nigerian song—“Shoki (Remix)” don take over sha, and “Connect,” and his own “Oliver Twist.” And so I begin loving D’banj in 2010 after that song’s video, the one with Genevieve Nnaji, came out. I begin loving his assurance, his swagger, his unadulterated maleness, his maleness like cake, like milk, calling to be tasted. On the Nigerian music scene, D’banj is the most charismatic thing on two legs since Fela Kuti, and arguably the sexiest since Sexy became a thing. When he opens his legs in the “Emergency” video, I imagine kneeling there, sucking, swallowing.
This serenading is in order of first sight. In order of conviction, though, it is Drogba. 2006. Cote d’Ivoire knocks Nigeria out of the Nations Cup semifinals and Drogba is the bile on Naija tongues. Hated fiercely by other Nigerians. Loved fiercely by Chelsea fans. 2006 when, because of Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho, I become a Chelsea fan. Soon, it all becomes about Drogba. His chest, his turn-and-shoot. His sweaty, shiny laps, his strides with the ball. He scores and my heart jumps, and my loins burn. Didier Drogba consumes me. He plays football like one making love, with intensity—he will make love like one playing football, with aggression. He becomes my first role model. I Google his wife, imagine how she lies in bed for him, or on the floor, or on the table, or on his balls, sitting and soaking in all that Man. Imagine the contraction of his muscles in thrusting, in releasing, the contortion of his conventionally unsexy face. For a long time, Drogba is life, in its rawness, in its beauty.
If Idris is the alpha of male masculinity, black testosterone calcified in its rawest form, then Chiwetel Ejiofor approximates the evolution of male cool, that thing that also makes Obama thick, makes me glance between his suit-trouser legs each time he sits and crosses and re-crosses legs. I know about Chiwetel in 2014 because 12 Years a Slave is on every lips. I see the film. I see nothing. Still, I follow him, Google him each time I can. Until Half of a Yellow Sun drops and, suddenly, Chiwetel becomes a miracle cast in bronze. Partly because he plays Odenigbo, my ultimate fictional crush, and partly because I realize how erotically composed he is, how the wrinkles on his face while thrusting Thandie Newton’s Olanna and Amala trigger in me spasms of squeezed orgasms. I revisit 12 Years and ask myself how I managed to not notice that bathing scene where his buttocks are in the firm glare of morning light, tight and rounded and hairy and edible. I fall in love with Chiwetel, his face, his beard, his eyes, his accent, his classiness, that composure.
Look, I want to lick Teju Cole. Of these five, Teju is the only one whose bare body I haven’t seen. He’s a writer, after all, not an entertainer. Still, for homo boys and hetero girls, he’s also managed to do something unprecedented: become the first conventionally crushed-on male writer with an unconventionally attractive face. Or: um, ugly face. Dude is The Sexiest Male African Writer Ever! So I imagine: beneath his cap, beneath his neck-scarves, behind his camera, beyond his American accent, inside his genius skull: what does Teju Cole like in bed? How do his lips taste? How does he fuck? Missionary? Doggy? Does he like to be sucked? Considering his elevated moral neatness and hygienic sentences, I’d say no to the last. I am swept off as much by his unseen balls as by his gushing brain. Because I am obsessed, I argue to my friends that he looks odd, looks consistently out of place, grants me gay vibes, is either non-hetero or asexual. I imagine I am some negligent slut spread on his reading/typing table, his slim, tapering fingers combing these hormones brewing beneath my skin. Do with me what you will. Teju is where my fascination with male Yoruba faces begins: my friends Dayo and Dayo, my friends Ade and Akin.
“You’re obsessed with masculinity,” a close friend points out once. An innocent observation. Of a worrying trend. Male Charisma. It moves me, drives me, propels me, fucks me.
I rarely do conventionally handsome: Desmond Elliot; Majid Michel who happens to be my favorite male African actor; Ramsey Nouah who happens to be my second favourite; Van Vicker; Uti Nwachukwu. I do rough: Diamond Platnumz, the sight of whom drains pre-cum out of me; Djimon Hounssou; Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Rough turns me on. I do activists: Olumide Makanjuola. I do writers: Uzodinma Iweala, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. I do a lot of actors: Daniel K. Daniel, Alex Ekubo, while being in limbo about John Boyega and David Oyelowo. I do rappers and singers: Phyno, Lil Kesh, Tinie Tempah, Fally Ipupa, and Iyanya’s body and Patoranking’s groin and legs and the idea of Olamide—the idea, not the man. And of course I do sportsmen: Michael Essien, Samuel Eto’o, Andre Ayew.
We Are Flowers: An Anthology Of Queer Art will be available for download on January 13 on Brittle Paper, Kito Diaries and My Mind Snaps.