Gay, Black, African, GenderQueer and Proud by Daniel I. G. Ekine
Story behind the Masked Smile

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A powerful declaration of independence against a life full of ignorance and intolerance.


Ekine's debut, a memoir of his brutal upbringing, displays a steely self-acceptance forged as a shield against cultural and religious discrimination. Ibifubara “Daniel” George Ekine was born the oldest of four in Lagos, Nigeria. The only male child of the family, people considered him “un-African,” calling him names like “Skeliwawa” (“effeminate”) and attacking him on the street. The only familial bonding he shared was the rampant abuse and harsh discipline doled out by his father, an officer in the Nigerian navy. At first, his mother allowed him to behave as he did, thinking it was “just a phase,” but once he acted like a fashion model on a catwalk at a school performance, she and his aunts beat him in public. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, Daniel’s family believed he was a “defect in Creation” and, when he was 12, prepared him for baptism through more physical and mental abuse. Despite such horrific formative years, Daniel knew that “God makes no mistakes.” So, he buried himself in his studies, escaped to Malaysia to study engineering on a government grant and, eventually, ended up in Westerly, R.I., where he waits for asylum, arguing that a return to Nigeria would result in imprisonment or death. Accompanied by original “songs, quotes and poems” and 13 black-and-white “looks” that illustrate his flamboyance, the book rises above the standard coming-out tale due to Ekine’s unique perspective. “Smiling and laughing have always been my best makeup,” he writes, and this unwavering optimism transforms a series of violent and tragic episodes into sunny lessons about self-acceptance and courage in the steep face of adversity. In the memoir, diamonds of wisdom shine through, such as when Ekine states, “One Atom of Love is equal to a Million Hate.” A powerful declaration of independence against a life full of ignorance and intolerance. Kirkus Review

About Daniel I. G. Ekine

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The Author was born on the 7th of August, 1985, and hails from Nigeria, West Africa where he spent most of his life growing up for about 16 years and then moved to Malaysia where he attained a Scholarship in B.Eng. in Electrical/Electronic Engineering. In 2011, he moved to Pennsylvania and later Boston in the United States were he continues to reside.
Published December 24, 2012 by Daniel Ekine. 178 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian.
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Reviewed by Various on Jun 05 2013

A powerful declaration of independence against a life full of ignorance and intolerance.

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