After years of avoiding questions on the subject, Kele Okereke finally comes out. The lead singer of Bloc Party—the smash British indie band—candidly discusses the conflicts between his sexuality and his Nigerian-British upbringing to The Guardian:
In a musical form that is usually beerily, boorishly white, male and heterosexual, Okereke was a refreshingly different kind of indie icon. The possibility that he was not just unusual but unique—a black, gay role model for indie kids—meant that for many fans the focus seemed necessary rather than just prurient. Nonetheless, just as he hated being reduced to 'black guy in indie band', he refused to be drawn either way on his sexuality.
The band's upcoming CD, A Weekend in the City, features two songs that explicitly reference his sexuality—one explores a crush between two schoolboys ('We left our trousers by the canal') and the second dishes gay promiscuity. Kele Okereke says none of the songs in the band's previous album addressed homosexuality, so, there was no need to discuss his sexuality in interviews. Fair enough.
"With the first album I didn't think it was essential to the experience. I didn't want to have to talk about it in a tabloid way. It wasn't there in the songs, so why did people need to know? But yeah, there are songs on this record that do feel like they're about desire, longing. So yeah, I am gonna talk about that."
Several of the songs A Weekend in the City address the sad state of race relations in Britain. "As a black teenager growing up in Essex he 'always felt something nasty could happen in the pub'. On the streets of Bethnal Green, where he now lives, he feels that racist aggravation is, daily, a heartbeat away."
21st-Century Boy (The Guardian)
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