Controversial Nollywood actor Uche Maduagwu came out as “proudly gay” in a Instagram post yesterday. The actor best known off-screen for trolling fellow artists and other public figures also had some words of wisdom for his fellow Nigerians.
“Appreciate others and #share only love we need to respect peoples choices not to judge them,” the actor and influencer shared, before adding “so lets practice jesus kind of love.”
His coming out announcement had mixed responses. One homophobic commenter was offended, saying she would “unfollow immediately.” Others quickly called her out, saying that “stupidity is in the blood.” But another voiced support, writing “so proud of you.”
The intellectual Maduagwu, who earned a degree in sociology from Lagos State University, garnered kudos for his onscreen acting talents but also controversy for his notorious trolling of celebrities and public figures. He sent waves through the Nollywood late last year when he alleged he was sexually assaulted on a Lagos movie set in 2012, and further claimed such abuse is uncomfortably common in the industry.
“Honestly, anytime I remember how I was molested and raped by a male actor on my first movie location in Lagos, I cry bitterly,” he said via Instagram, advising other “young and upcoming male actors” to be “mindful of location, food, and drinks” because “your butt might pay heavily for it at night in your hotel room.”
Nigeria is not an entirely welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community presently. Queer Nigerians are regularly abused and discriminated against, sometimes violently. Student-activist Matthew Blaise wrote of the violence last October in an exclusive article for Out, where he described the brutality and corruption of police when targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
On a more encouraging note, a court in Nigeria dismissed all charges against 47 men accused of same-sex public displays of affection. Prosecutors failed to show up at court and had failed to produce a single witness to support their charges. The widely publicized 2018 police raid and arrests had been seen as a test of the controversial Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act signed by the-President Goodluck Jonathan. Justice Rilwan Aikawa dismissed the case citing a “lack of diligent prosecution.”