“My style is eclectic and all over the place, manifesting the multitudes within me. I rock my fro, I pile my headwraps high, and I consider myself a part-time hijabi. I occasionally do the dapper look, with the bowtie and the oxfords to match. But I love my tims and my kicks, sometimes paired with a snapback. At times I am channeling an earthy flower child, or mermaid queen, or warrior womxn, or goddess healer, at times the ancestors and aliens and afrofuturism. I can be hello kitty cute in pink and I can be all black everything, black lipstick and black combat boots. Walking this world as a Black queer femme womxn, it is sometimes a struggle simply to survive. Some days, makeup is my war paint and accessories are my armor. Some days, I decorate and adorn myself in a ritual of affirmation of all that I am. Not simply surviving, but thriving! I could be described as gaudy, often dripping in gold, and maybe a little bit gangsta. My style can be big and bold, taking up space in a world that tells me to be small. I make myself art in a world telling me that who I am is not beautiful. But I am not above leaving the house in sweatpants and uggs. It’s wack that women’s worth is wrapped up in whether we are considered appealing to others. My style is personal, political, playful, practical. It is a mix-and-match and mashup of all of the above.”
Limit(less) is a photography project by Mikael Owunna (@owning-my-truth) documenting the fashion and style of LGBTQ African Immigrants (1st and 2nd generation) in diaspora. As LGBTQ Africans, we are constantly told that being LGBTQ is somehow “un-African,” and this rhetoric is a regular part of homophobic and transphobic discourse in African communities. This line of thinking, however, is patently false and exists an artifact of colonization of the African continent. Identities which would now be categorized as “LGBTQ” have always existed, and being LGBTQ does not make us “less” African.
Limit(less) explores how LGBTQ African immigrants navigate their identities and find ways to overcome the supposed “tension” between their LGBTQ and African identities through their fashion and style. The project seeks to visually deconstruct the colonial binary that has been set up between LGBTQ and African identities, which erases the lives and experiences of LGBTQ Africans. #LimitlessAfricans