Black celebrities are urging Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to work with LGBTQ community leaders after security forces raided and shut down an LGBTQ centre in the west African country’s capital, last week. Actors like Idris Elba and Michaela Coel, and Naomi Campbell joined forces with other influential names in fashion, film and media to express their solidarity in an open letter tagged #GhanaSupportsEquality on Monday.
It comes after the recently-opened Community in Accra, named LGBT+Rights Ghana,’ was raised. Head of the Centre, Alex Kofi Donkor told CNN that he was concerned for his safety. Among the letter’s 67 signatories are British Vogue, Editor-in-Chief, Edward Enninful; Netflix’s Marketing Officer, Bosoma Saint John and Virgil Abloh, Chief Executive Officer at Off-White and Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton.
“To our Ghanaian LBGTQIA+family, we see you and we hear you. We’re in awe of your strength, your bravery and audacity to be true to who you are even when it’s dangerous to do so”, the letter reads. You are loved, you are important and you need a safe place to gather in your shared experience. Referencing the raid at the centre the celebrities said they had watched events ufold with “profound concern.”
It’s unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe,” the letter added. The celebrities who vowed to stay abreast of developments concerning LGBTQ community also promised to protect them using their shared power and influence. Neither the raid on February 24th nor any other acts of intimidation have the power to break your indomitable spirits. It only embolden all of us to act with intention,” the letter continued.
They then called on Akufo-Addo and political leaders as well as cultural leaders to engage in meaningful and purposeful dialogue with the community so as to create a pathway for allyship, protection and support.