A very fabulous Bebe Zahara Benet pulls up to the bumper in a new feature in the July issue of Paper, the New York City-based fashion-forward lifestyle bible (Note: Feature not online yet.). Bebe, of course, was born in the Cameroon as Nea Marshall Kudi and worked as a male model in Paris until he was asked to switch genders at a show due to a missing female model. "Bebe" was born and the rest is history: She was crowned the winner of RuPaul's Drag race on LOGO.
Bebe talks at length about the oppressive atmosphere in some African nations that makes its difficult for LGBT youth: "Ideas we take for granted here, like celebrating individuality and being rewarded for it, are not popular ones in many parts of Africa. I had to come all the way to the U.S, to know who I am and express it with freedom."
In a recent interview with Out, Benet said: "Where I come from drag is unheard of. It’s just not possible. Do you know how many little boys and girls are sitting there and want to artistically express themselves and don’t have the opportunity to just because the culture says 'A is A and B is B'?"
Cameroon boasts one of the continent's more repressive regimes for LGBTs. The central African nation has become infamous for routinely subjecting men accused of sodomy to legal ordeals that continue for years.