So my flatmate just told me the unfortunate story of a comedian from Ivory Coast, who goes by the stage name Observateur ébène.
This guy had apparently been hustling in Côte d’Ivoire for many years, making vine videos on Facebook, comedy kits on Instagram, and all that jazz, trying so hard to make it. About a month ago, one of his comedy videos went viral and created a lot of buzz on the social media. He finally got the opportunity he had been looking for! He was watched on one of the television channels in France and the French liked his comedy. The TV channel invited him over to France to sign a contract to start a comedy TV program with them. This is someone who had never stepped foot outside Abidjan. It was a dream come true for him. All this was happening so fast and people were happy for him; the young talented comedian who makes funny vine videos. You know that kind of joy people shared for the former Agege bread seller turned model in Nigeria? Yes, that kind of joy.
Anyway, he had already signed the business contract and was about to shoot his first TV show, when last week, a video he made in 2012 surfaced. The identity of the person who dug it up is unknown. But, apparently, in 2012, he made a video where he condemned homosexual people. He called them all sorts of names and said they are less than animals, that he is a proud African and can never accept gays. This video wasn’t a comedy skit. In the video, he was a man voicing his very homophobic opinion.
The video got to the management board of the French TV channel that employed him. Before you can say ‘proud African’, people had already started petitioning the network (trust white people with reports and complaints), saying that they don’t want to see an African homophobe on their television. After so much noise and wahala, Observateur ébène’s contract was cancelled and now they are sending him back to Ivory Coast.
If someone had told him that what he said in 2012 would come back at him this way, I don’t suppose he would have believed it. You can thrive as a homophobe in Africa, but don’t ever dream of crossing over to Europe or America and expect to be tolerated with it. Especially in the entertainment industry where gays rule!
Written by Garrison