Following many years of rumors and speculations about his sexual orientation, Willis Austin Chimano a member of Kenya’s afro-pop band Sauti Sol publicly came out as gay.
In an interview with a local outlet The Standard, Chimano boldly revealed that he is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and he no longer wants to live a lie by hiding his true identity from his fans.
The singer also shared that his solo single, Friday Feeling, is “a true representation of who he is”.
“It is the first time I am expressing myself in a song. You really get to know who Chimano is and that is a heavy crown to carry. It is just a representation of the underground ballroom culture within the queer community… which I am part of,” he shared
Gay sex is currently punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Kenya. However, prosecutions under this law are not common.
While attitudes towards LGBT+ people are becoming more liberal, a challenge to overturn the law was rejected in May 2019 by the Kenyan High Court.
The 34-year-old joins a growing list of prominent young Kenyans who are coming out as either gay or lesbian.
Earlier this year, former BBC journalist Chris Njeri Makena also revealed that she is gay during her Ted Talk.
“My name is Chris Njeri Makena. I am happy, I am free and I am bold. For a very long time, I could never introduce myself like this but somewhere along the journey, I started to discover what it meant to live your truth. I started to discover who I was and I decided to be loyal to my authenticity.”
Founded in 2005, Sauti Sol has released three studio albums and won several accolades including a 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards for Best African Act and the 2017 MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Group.