Queer rapper Subo Jaia doesn’t want to censor himself solely because of his sexuality.
He’s one of SA’s young talents to watch.
Named one of Global Citizen’s Top 5 Artists to Watch and featured in The New York Times, his years at the City of Gold were well worth it.
A self-proclaimed INKOSI YENKONKONI (Gay King), S’bo Gyre has lived his life the way it is, and dedicated himself to making a name for himself in hip-hop.
Youth Day is significant to different people. Young people in the past fought against oppression, but today’s young people who are queer are fighting for visibility in a space known to be dominated by a particular genre.
S’bo (real name S’bonakaliso Nene) is a queer rapper who doesn’t want to censor himself just because of his sexuality. Queer representation in South Africa’s music scene still has a long way to go, he says. Queer artists have a responsibility to create their own place within the industry. for it is not given to them.
“I believe homophobia is a social issue that emerges in hip-hop and the music industry. The biggest challenge I faced was the issue of double standards. Almost anything that is sexually abused is considered unacceptable to me, especially if the act involves some form of sexual liberation.”
He notes that most people share their struggles and have different ways of using different mediums. He writes and tells stories.
“It is important for LGBTQ+ artists to have a platform to share their experiences through music because the queer community is a human community before it is a community of minority groups and victims. For us, queer stories are as important as black issues, gender issues, etc. Equality of importance is non-negotiable.”
“I turned the other cheek because I didn’t want to answer the question. Last year was the first time I spoke out against sexual orientation discrimination,” said Subo Jaia, formerly known as Jaia. talking.
“I felt supported by the community as a result, so I’m glad I was able to speak up, but my concerns about being overly exposed to homophobia were also realized. Homophobia is a social issue, not a hip-hop issue, and the best way I know how to deal with it is to be consistently true to one’s humanity regardless of the circumstances. is.”
He says there are instances when he felt the need to censor himself to gain some kind of access. And he learned that he would rather die by the sword, because doing so would lose his art the most.
Initially, much of his artistry as mere Gyre was a way of normalizing and celebrating himself as S’bo.
Now, as Subo Jaia, that self-esteem is inherently embedded within him, and the normality of his life in the midst of plain nature inspires him.
“My existence is resistance, so I don’t have to emphasize my sexuality to express my feelings about it in an empowering way. My rap style is always in flux.” I think it’s a result of my comfort in my skin, which started because of my sexuality but now exists as a mantra of my self-confidence and it’s what I’m looking for in anyone (queer or not). This is also why cis heterosexuals resonate with me, it’s the confidence they admire and crave.”
His inspirations and musical influences include a list of occasionally controversial artists such as Brenda Fussey, Threesome, Moonchild Sannery, Nakan, Victoria Monet, and more recently Lil Nas X and Sausy Santana. It contains. Because their light gives him hope that one day he too will shine brightly.
“My friends, Mx Blouse, Mr. Alofit, Namakau Star, Oh Ariao, Lance Lightyear, Desire Marea and others all inspire me to be better. It’s only a matter of time before a prominent rap artist penetrates mainstream consciousness, and of course I’m going to be one of them, and I’m sure I will be, but whoever does it first, there’s plenty and talent. It will open a big door for some communities.”
But mainstream consciousness or not, queer rap continues to live and grow in the communities we know. He said queer rappers don’t have to prove they’re a relevant and visible part of South African hip-hop.
“Homophobia is a social issue that has manifested itself in the music industry, so I don’t think it needs more awareness. I believe that giving good opportunities is all that education people need. The first hurdle society must overcome is seeing the humanity of queer artists. Every individual has a responsibility to educate. Queer artists have the right to do whatever they want on the platform. ”
His advice to up-and-coming queer rappers is to make their skin thicker than they initially thought was tough enough.
“Your sexuality gets you views, but remember your talent gets you your place. Use whatever unique selling points you have.”