Let’s get right to the point fam, Jidenna Theodore Mobisson is out here having the “Hot Boy Summer” that dreams are made of.
For those who may somehow still be unaware of who this brother is, the 34-year-old is a rapper, songwriter, and pro-Black activist who spent part of his life growing up in Nigeria and is passionate about the Motherland.
If you’ve been looking for some inspiration, or a reminder that good Black men still exist, look no further. Below our are top five reasons why Jidenna is bae. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself developing a soul crush by the end of this.
He’s exceptionally pro-Black
Like I mentioned previously, this brother’s commitment to the continent is so palpable it comes off not just through his words but also in his music and most noticeably in his beautifully tailored bespoke garments.
In fact, his new album, 85 to Africa feels like an open love letter to both Africans and African Americans alike, fusing the kind of hip hop swag we’re all too familiar with stateside with a very healthy dose of Afrobeats and even a splash of Caribbean vibes thrown in for good measure.
It’s the kind of music that just about anybody in the Black diaspora can see themselves reflected in, and will most likely be the soundtrack to a lot of people’s weekends as the summer fades into fall.
He’s not homophobic
Now usually when someone is extremely afro-centric, we’ve all pretty much come to accept that means they’ll probably also be a little bit (or sometimes a LOT a bit) homophobic. That’s because a lot of people, particularly African men, have a reputation for pushing the myth that pan Africanism and the LGBT just don’t mix well with each other.
Not only does Jidenna not subscribe to this way of thinking, during a recent interview with Sway, he brilliantly called to task all those people who do.
“The whole idea that Black people, and our tradition to be Black… You hear these African leaders who are dressed in three-piece suits, got an iPhone, speaking in English and not their native tongue are saying, ‘it’s unafrican to be homosexual, it’s unafrican… we don’t have it. That was brought as a European import.’ It’s not true. It’s not true at all,” said Jidenna, a Stanford graduate who spent the first ten years of his life in Nigeria.
#Jidenna explains why homophobia in the community is a contradiction. 👏🏾
He says the idea of homosexuality being wrong is a "foreign import". pic.twitter.com/yBWFYr14sB
— THE NEIGHBORHOOD TALK (@TNHTalk) August 28, 2019
“You got Uganda, the kingdom of Buganda at the time… Before Uganda, there was an openly gay king,” he reveals, much to everyone’s surprise. “If you go to Zimbabwe… the bushmen as they call them, you’ll see homosexual acts in the Cape paintings. If you go to different communities in Africa, there was different rights of passage where if a woman was with a woman, or a man was with a man, they were thought to be more powerful.”
“There was never a time where this didn’t exist,” he concludes. “Or where it was just hands down that homosexuals were wrong. That’s not actual an African thing, which means it’s not a Black thing.”
He’s a womanist
It should come as no surprise that a man who is that evolved in his thinking about Black culture and sexuality would also be a womanist. To be clear, we are saying “womanist” because unlike traditional feminism that is usually centered around the white female experience and leaves little room for the intersectionality of race or culture — Jidenna is very much an advocate of all women, Black women especially.
I gotta say, at first I wasn’t sure I was buying this part. So many rappers and entertainers claim to be all about sisters as a talking point in interviews but then lead lives that tell a glaringly different story.
However, part of what has been so fascinating about watching all the clips of Jidenna’s listening parties and pop up concerts the last few weeks is the type of women he continuously chooses to pull up on stage. Time after time it’s us. Beautiful Black women, who actually look Black!
This may seem like a minor thing to most, but to those of us who have become accustomed to our men seeking “others” to put on pedestals as trophies of success, it’s downright refreshing to see a Black man who sincerely thinks Black women are also meant for the destination, rather than just being used as stepping stones along the journey.
Who knew a couple sweaty hip thrusts could be seen as an act of solidarity?
I need y’all to understand that I’ve just won my summer😏I can go back into hibernation peacefully now.
— Making Mila (@milamademedoit) August 21, 2019
He’s against toxic masculinity
Somewhere in the midst of all that touring, advocating and grinding on giddy fans, Jidenna maintains that once his Hot Boy Summer is over, he’s actually looking to find someone to have a healthy and equitable relationship with.
Now is this just game? Only time will tell.
But the way he speaks not only about relationships, but also about how men need to re-examine the way they express their masculinity to women, is worth applauding on its own.
“I can’t deal with the old generation,” he recently said of how Black men have been taught to treat their women. “The stuff my uncle believes is not what I believe, the stuff that old school Hip Hop heads believe. We’re a new generation now. Certain things like walking around with a clutch in the 1990s wouldn’t have flown. Now it does and I’m proud of us for doing that.”
He also says he’s hoping that boys — be they cis or transgender — are able to be given more evolved archetypes and examples of what masculinity can be. Then cites the story of Maurice Willoughby, also known as “Reese,” a 20-year-old Philly native who committed suicide shortly after a video of him being bullied for dating a trans woman went viral.
He’s living his purpose
There may be nothing more stunning to witness in this world than a beautiful soul living its purpose. When you strip away the music, the fan fare, and even all those gorgeous garments, that is perhaps what makes Jidenna such a sight to behold lately.
The man is quite visibly living his dream, and has cast a net wide enough to include his whole tribe into that vision of what our shared legacy could be.
“If there’s one thing bro, if all else fails and if I die tomorrow, I swear to god the only thing I care about is that Black people understand that by traveling and doing business and going to Africa, will change the next 100 years, which will change the next thousand years,” he explained to host Ebro Darden during a sit down at Beats 1 radio.
“And here’s why, because our 400, 500 years is not that long. Europe spent a thousand years in their dark ages,” points out the former teacher. “We have the chance right now to end our dark ages in just a little 400 years. Was it hard? Yeah. Arguably one of the hardest in earth’s history. But if we change it right now, right now! And get a piece of what we deserve, and look at Africa as the holy land of all humanity – which it is – then the next thousand years will change.”