Last night Sam Smith and Burna Boy released their new collaboration My Oasis. In a statement about the song, Sam Smith said; “This track has been a beautiful release of emotions for me during this time. I’ve been a fan of Burna Boy for years now and am so happy to have a tune with him.” Burna Boy posted the announcement, saying that the song is “extra special” because it was recorded on his birthday.
While the majority of fans online seem to be enjoying the track. It has sparked conversation online in regards to the laws in Nigera. Burna Boy is a Nigerian artist and Sam Smith is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For context for those who aren’t aware, same sex sexual relationships are punishable by up to fourteen years in prison in Nigeria. Nigeria has been named as the most dangerous place in the world for queer tourists. While acceptance is increasing, homophobia still runs deep throughout the country.
Many Twitter users, took to the platform to question why are people loving Sam Smith but ignoring Nigerian LGBTQ+ artists. One user said; “Nigerians are suddenly interested in Sam Smith’s music and not the sexuality. But where is this energy when LGBTQ+ people in Nigeria are just minding their business? Why don’t you just ignore and face the art they’re creating?”
This sparked a debate as people replied saying it wasn’t a “sudden” interest, that Sam Smith’s music has been playing in Nigeria for years and that this debate goes back to the age-old question, should we separate the artist from the art?
No one was ever “interested” in his sexuality, twas mostly just the music, and he’s great at it. Gotta give him props for that. You see, this dumb agenda y’all keep pushing is why the general public keep discriminating against you. — Moon Person (@VulcanTDE) July 30, 2020
In reply to this, people stated that it is important to recognise homophobia and use opportunities like this to highlight every day homophobia. A user replied saying; “You’re not “interested” in their sexuality because they’re white and rich and you know your homophobia is inconsequential. If your neighborhood carpenter was openly gay y’allwouldn’t “separate the art from the artist””
Many others used examples like Elton John, who is loved regardless of his identity, and how that shows the blind eye people have as they support him while ignoring the violence shown towards members of the LGBTQ+ community around the world.
This Burna collab w/ Sam Smith shows again that Nigerians will kill their own people for being gay but still celebrate and gladly support queer people from Western countries.
They love Elton John but will rather die than let a Nigerian in Nigeria have the same freedom Elton has.
— Alphabet Mafia, G Division☭ (@Kayode_ani) July 30, 2020
My Oasis is out now.