To continue the celebration of Black History month, we are looking at Nakhane’s latest album, You Will Not Die. Nakhane combines gentle ballads with upbeat, electronic melodies in this striking album that tells the honest story of Nakhane’s faith journey as a gay, black man.
Nakhane was born on the Eastern Cape of South Africa in an area where the population was predominantly made up of a conservative Christian community. At 19 years old, he finally came out as gay to his community. As a result of his coming out, he was sent to conversion therapy. It was an experience that challenged the way he thought about his faith, his people and his own sexuality.
You Will Not Die has been recognized by The New York Times, The Guardian, Billboard, FADER, NPR and many more as it artfully addresses the beauty and hardship of blackness and queerness. Some of the songs even read like a prayer, as Nakhane addresses God about the struggles he faced in that difficult period of his life.
The album begins with the slow, ominous sounds of “Violent Measures,” a composition that seems to speak of the secret he kept hidden for so long. As the album unfolds, the lyrics seem bolder and less obscure as Nakhane proudly proclaims his identity to the world through the vessels of verse and melody.
Nakhane’s You Will Not Die is an inspiration to all who feel like outcasts in their own society, and a call for awareness from those who tend to overlook the human beings whose voices are being stifled.
Image retrieved from pan-african-music.com.