- Now mentors sexually-abused and young gays who are either lost or afraid of what they have become
- Recounts how companies yanked him off their sponsorship deal due to sexual orientation
- Says he is one of several youths with feminine attributes and qualities
Less than four years after CityPulse Nigeria ran a lead story on how he left the gay world after his encounter with Christ, 27-year-old Joe Anthony Ekpo, fondly known as Joe Blue has made a U-turn saying he lied about his sexual identity to protect his image. If you missed it, click here… https://citypulseng.com/2014/07/my-life-as-gay-nigerian-idol-runner-up.html
In a new chat with CityPulse, the swashbuckling star who could best be remembered for his peculiar dress sense at the 2012 edition of Nigeria Idol bares his mind on his gay life has attracted him to sexually-abused teenagers and other young adults who are in the dark and still struggling with their gay identity.
Tell us what has changed about you in the last three years since Citypulse interview with you?
My life has been an adventurous one, starting from my family, friends and career pursuits. A lot has changed over the years, having to see life in a different perspective, I have to come to understand what life has to offer. In 2016, I officially became an international live performing artist, performing in different countries. I developed my brand mobile company (Blue concept) and I ventured into other ventures (event planning and fashion styling) to increase my income flow. In 2015, I became a motivational, mentor and life coach to some youths (musically and sexuality oriented). However, in 2016, I became a professional voice coach, having a lot of students and followers who follow my works.
This idea of mentoring young gays identify with their sexual orientation. What is that all about?
From my stand point on sexual orientation, people often mistake the name from the act. The society christened this sexuality with a name we all know “Gay” with which they identify us. It is one thing to be tagged “Gay” and another to indulge in the act. A lot of people today who are “straight-looking” or let me say “normal looking” indulge in same sex activities are not tagged “Gay.” But most men who carry the attributes or the qualities of a female “like me” are. Little do they know that we are not the one who created or manufactured these qualities.
You claimed to have lost a handful of sponsorship deals due to your new identity. Why?
In 2014, I recalled honouring an invitation for an interview in which Citypluse was present and I spoke exclusively about my sexuality. If you noticed, I was trying to pass a message to the world about my sexuality and having a stand point on understanding who I was and who I have become. Unfortunately, knowing Nigeria for what it is, admittance of my sexuality through that interview has led to some companies yanking off their sponsorship and support from me. Painful, but I had to move on.
After years of discoveries, I have taken to the world of counselling and mentoring to many young gays (male and female) who are either lost or afraid of what they have become. No matter how they feel, they need to understand that you can only change some part of you, not all.
Did you really lie in the said interview about your gay identity?
In the interview I was featured, I recounted my painful experience while growing up as a young boy and ended up saying “NO” to the interviewer when the question of being gay popped up. I must confess that I was not ready for such question. I was just 24 years old, afraid and didn’t want to jeopardize my life, career and future. I was scared that no one would ever accept me, companies would equally not hire or support me. So I had to sacrifice the truth for a later course. Ever since then, I have been getting calls and questions about my sexuality and why I said “NO” to the question. Coming from the stand point of Christianity in Nigeria, being gay is also not accepted. As it turned out, I was rejected and not accepted by some religious groups.
A lot of gay men in Nigeria are still struggling with their sexuality and hiding in their closets to avoid getting noticed.
Then there are equally many sexually-abused gay men, who can’t go to the doctor for treatment because of the orientation of their abuse. I have had so many report about blackmail and abuse of gay men in Nigeria and I had tried in my little power to help solve this ugly situation. This is because I have been blackmailed and assaulted by some “straight men” and “fraternity” too. I am Gay, was born this way, tried many times to stop or cure or will I say deliver myself but it only got worse.
It was clear to me, when I was invited to share my sexuality experience in a gospel platform, where a lot of people were touched and affected by my journey. To my surprise, many gay men and women who were in the church hiding, opened up to me and confided in me. I would rather use my sexuality to help change the world than hide in the closet with no vision.
Are you permanently based in US now?
I travelled to the United to discover more about music and arts, I am currently studying Theatre Art in the United States of America and still trying to expose myself to the international platforms of the music industry
Are you still in good terms with your (former) spiritual father, Pastor Adeola has gone frosty. How true?
The relationship between me and my spiritual father remains strong and healthy. He is my source of strength. Pastor Adeola advises me and directs me on the right path to take. He accepted me when no one did. And I am still learning under his guidance.
Until you resurfaced at The Voice Nigeria, you had been absent on the stage for a long time. What happened?
The music industry isn’t an easy path to get into, let alone to maintain your position. I have been quiet for a long time, because I was at the stage of discovering myself and didn’t want to do it in fame. Although I have been having some live events, they were not broadcast on air. I participated in the competition “the voice Nigeria” which was held in South Africa because I wanted to do a come back to the industry. And I am glad the platform gave me the “come back” I needed for my career.
Now that you have openly declared your gay status, what next?
I would not say I am in the hideout. No, I was actually on a low key about my sexuality because of my career and my personal life. I didn’t want to endanger my life because Nigeria isn’t the place you go about saying “Oh, I am gay!” Also, the music industry is a controversial ground where rumours are highly accepted and criticized without thorough investigation.
Are your family and fans comfortable with this new status?
My family has never accepted me for who I am, my fans are still trying to understand me and relate with my natural state. Therefore I would say they are not too comfortable. But you can’t hate the person that serves you well, my music has served as a voice of mercy for me to be accepted in some ways. I recalled performing at one event where I was attacked by the same fans who watched me performed on my way home. My offence? I was assaulted by this fraternity because of my physical appearance and sexuality. It was not easy attending events. But I have learned my lesson. Anytime I am invited to perform, I would always go with an entourage to avoid being apprehended.
You still cut the image of a very religious person. How do you reconcile that to your gay status?
Well, I am still grounded scripturally because I am a Christian and a strong believer of Jesus. I still share a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father
Are you looking to settle down someday or what is the future like for you?
The future is now. I believe that I am still a work in progress and discovering new things. Settling down is not on my mind at the moment.
For enquiries and correspondence, Joe Blue can be reached via email@example.com