Media entrepreneur Chude Jideonwo has announced a new self-funded award called The Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity. The prize “will find and support young people across Nigeria who are creating safe spaces for and giving voice to people who are different in seven key areas: gender, sexuality, faith and spirituality, mental and emotional health, art, special needs, and human rights.”
“I am especially looking for those who work in states and communities in Nigeria where it is most dangerous, even fatal, to be different,” Jideonwo wrote in a letter in YNaija, “people and organisations who do not know how to navigate funding, spotlights or networks. I want to help them, in my personal capacity—using my voice, brand, networks, and talents—in their quest to make us more fully human.”
The announcement is in support of YNaija‘s new project Non-Binary, a series of essays reflecting on LGBTQ culture in Nigeria.
“Nigerians and Africans cannot be fighting for Black lives—which are a minority in the West and the East—while oppressing their own minorities here at home, and resisting the urgency of diversity,” Jideonwo wrote. “No. Black lives matter. Gay lives matter. Trans lives matter. Women’s lives matter. Atheist lives matter. Agnostic lives matter. Autistic lives matter. Neuro-divergent lives matter.”
Applications could be made on diversity.ynaija.com.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist, and curator. He is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture, art, photography, business, activism, and health. He has vast experience working in literature. He has sat on the judging panels of The Gerald Kraak Prize and of The Morland Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria's first queer art collective, and Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. For three years, Nov. 2016 to Apr. 2020, he led the transformation of the literary blog Brittle Paper into a continental powerhouse, ideating and administering The Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians." He completed a collection of short stories in 2016 and his novel in 2020. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.