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Black History Month Spotlight: Seyi Adebanjo's Journey as a Non-Binary Filmmaker and Activist



Seyi Adebanjo, a visionary filmmaker and trans activist, is making significant waves with their unique storytelling and advocacy for underrepresented voices in the LGBTQIA+ community. As a queer, gender-non-conforming Nigerian artist, Adebanjo's work masterfully intersects art, imagination, ritual, and politics, bringing to light crucial social issues through various mediums.


Adebanjo's journey as a filmmaker has been marked by impactful projects such as "Trans Lives Matter!: Justice for Islan Nettles" and "Ọya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!" These works not only highlight Adebanjo's skill as a filmmaker but also their commitment to raising awareness about the experiences of queer and genderfluid Africans both in Nigeria and New York. "Trans Lives Matter!" focuses explicitly on the murder of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman, and has gained recognition by being screened on PBS Channel 13 and at the Brooklyn Museum.


Additionally, Adebanjo's "Ọya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!" is a 30-minute documentary that delves into sexual and racial identity, exploring the disparities and experiences within these communities. This documentary has been screened internationally, demonstrating Adebanjo's global reach and influence.





Adebanjo's work extends beyond filmmaking into teaching, currently serving on the faculty of New York University. This role amplifies their influence, allowing them to share their expertise and experiences with a new generation of artists and activists. Moreover, Adebanjo has been recognized through numerous awards and fellowships, including the Sundance Institute Trans Possibilities Intensive Fellowship and the Fatales Forward: Trans Stories Fellowship, highlighting their significant contributions to the field.


Seyi Adebanjo's latest project, "Afromystic," further showcases their innovative approach to storytelling. This lyrical documentary, guided by LGBTQ Yorùbá practitioners across Nigeria, the US, and Brazil, weaves animated queer and trans-Òrìṣà mythology with poetry, theater, and ritual. It's a celebration of the lives and leadership within these communities, highlighting Adebanjo's talent for combining compelling narratives with a deep sense of cultural and spiritual awareness.


In summary, Seyi Adebanjo is a true force in filmmaking and activism. Through their art, they continue to challenge norms, inspire change, and provide a voice for those often marginalized in society. Adebanjo's work not only resonates within the LGBTQIA+ community but also serves as a beacon of hope and representation for all seeking to understand and embrace diverse experiences.​

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