Mixed Feelings as GTBank Fashion Week Invites Gay Model, J. Alexander to Nigeria

The GTBank Fashion Week is currently Nigeria’s most talked about fashion show with some of the biggest names in the industry from photography to modelling agencies and media platforms all coming together to make the series of organised events a success. To add to the funfair, the organizers of GTBank Fashion week invited openly gay model, J. Alexander to speak at a masterclass.

It would never have been a big deal worthy of a post but considering the fact that the Nigerian law is anti gay and most homosexuals avoid being public about their status for fear of 14 years dangling over their head, the exaltation of an American openly gay man is definitely an issue for debate.

As expected, GTBank Fashion Week organizer’s decision to bring Miss Jay as the model coach is popularly called did not sit quite right with some Nigerians who have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to call out the hypocrisy of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Miss J Alexander for GTBank Fashion Week

“Before you come for my head, let me clearly state that I have no problems or any business with where a grown man chooses to stick his penis. By all means, do you boo.

Now what I am on about? For their highly hyped #GTBankFashionWeekend, @gtbank brought popular model coach J. Alexander (also known as Miss Jay) to speak at a masterclass.

First, a quick background on Miss Jay: The 59-year-old American runway coach has been modelling since he was a teenager. Some of the biggest models the world has ever seen including Naomi Campbell, Kimora Lee and Tyra Banks owe their catwalk strut (or at least some of it) to him. When Tyra created her hit VH1 reality show, America’s Next Top Model, she brought him on board to coach the aspiring models. He went on to become a judge on the show and has taken his expertise to some of the international versions of the show.

There is therefore no doubt of Miss Jay’s craftsmanship. He knows his tuff and has decades of experience to back it up so yeah, it would make sense that GTB would deem him the perfect person for a masterclass on “how to build a successful modelling career and create Africa’s next Supermodel.”

But here is the thing, Miss Jay is gay, openly so. And while in other parts of the world, this doesn’t matter so much, in our country Nigeria, it is a problem – a huge one.

The country, her laws, her institutions and a majority of her people neither accommodate nor recognise LGBT rights. Folks who by their mannerisms or sense of style give off an air that is perceived as homosexual, are alienated by the society and downright treated like outcasts.

Brands and institutions, the likes of GTB wouldn’t be caught dead associating or engaging (openly) with an openly gay Nigerian like Bisi Alimi or a perceived one like Bobrisky.

But you see, it is a Nigerian thing. These same institutions have no problem embracing and openly frolicking with “foreign” gay men like Miss Jay and Richard Quest.

Again, it’s a Nigerian thing. Anything that has a foreign connotation, from accents down to the shoes we wear, is superior”.

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