CBS’ Bob Hearts Abishola steadily exhibits audiences the fantastic thing about the Nigerian tradition. Take, for example, the eponymous couple’s vibrant (and impromptu) destination wedding in the beginning of Season 3. However throughout Monday’s episode, when Morenike confides in Kemi her deepest secret, the situational comedy exposes one of many tradition’s most unflattering features: rampant homophobia.
“For me, it’s all about authenticity,” collection co-creator Gina Yashere, who performs Kemi, tells TVLine. “As a result of our solid is half Nigerian, we needed to do a narrative about one thing that’s effecting quite a lot of Nigerians — in and exterior of the nation.”
When Abishola’s niece reveals to Kemi that she’s not a risk to her relationship with Chukwuemeka as a result of she’s a lesbian, Yashere’s character doesn’t know the way to reply. At one level, Kemi and Abishola clarify to Gloria that being homosexual just isn’t solely unaccepted in Nigeria, it’s in opposition to the legislation.
“As a result of I’m homosexual and my household is Nigerian, I do know what it’s like,” Yashere says. “I’m fortunate I used to be born exterior of Nigeria, so I haven’t had the identical struggles that my homosexual brothers and sisters have had inside Nigeria, and the issues that they’re having: being arrested on a regular basis, being harassed after they exit [and] being thrown out of their households.”
After all, homophobia is not at all unique to Nigeria. “In America, homophobia and transphobia are inflicting lots of people to be attacked violently, and to be thrown out of their households,” Yashere factors out. “You’ve acquired individuals even who’re nonetheless residing within the closet — politicians being caught on a regular basis indulging, as a result of they’ve been residing within the closet as a result of they really feel they’ve to cover who they’re to attraction to some right-wing rhetoric — so it’s a narrative that performs out wherever you’re on this planet, not simply in Nigeria.”
However on this specific case, the best way Kemi and Abishola reply to Morenike’s secret most definitely stems from the unfairness they had been uncovered to of their homeland.
“It’s a assemble [that was established] when Christians got here to Nigeria,” Yashere explains. “Nigerians initially judged individuals by their spirits, reasonably than their gender or their sexuality, in order that positively got here when the Brits got here and compelled Christianity on the Nigerians. Sadly after they left, they left the worst elements of Christianity behind, and we took it and ran with it.”
As such, Kemi and Abishola know precisely how their elders will reply to Morenike if she decides to return out of the closet. It’s why Abishola initially encourages her cousin to maintain her sexuality to herself.
“We needed to make it actual, however we additionally didn’t wish to flip the viewers in opposition to Abishola,” Yashere stresses. “It’s a positive stability. We additionally needed to indicate that regardless that what Abishola is doing is 100% improper, she is making an attempt to guard Morenike. Lots of people assume they’re defending homosexual individuals by saying, ‘Simply keep within the closet. It’ll be simpler in your life,’ so it wasn’t coming from a spot of hatred; it was coming from a spot of affection. She was doing what she thought was finest.”
Abishola and Kemi finally confront Morenike and categorical their assist for her. They nonetheless haven’t accepted her sexuality outright, however that’s not how Yashere needed to finish the story.
“Once we had been writing [the episode], I didn’t wish to make it like an after-school particular,” Yashere explains. “I needed to dig deeper into the Nigerian attitudes, and how one can come to a distinct type of acceptance with out essentially having to return 100% all the best way [around].
“Once I got here out to my mother, there have been difficulties,” the EP recollects. “It took her some time to simply accept me for who I truly am. Now she does, however she’s not going to homosexual satisfaction occasions with me or something like that. Simply getting her to the purpose the place she accepts me and accepts my accomplice, that’s ok for me.”
On the finish of the day, it’s necessary to Yashere that audiences be uncovered to completely different views, whether or not or not they essentially agree with them. It’s about giving viewers one thing to mirror on even after the episode has ended.
“It has all the time been necessary to me to inform true tales that make individuals assume,” she says. “It’s nice to have the ability to change hearts and minds, however not do it in a manner the place we’re beating you down. We’re not making an attempt to pressure a standpoint on you, we’re simply telling our tales.”
Within the case of Morenike, she says, “we simply needed to introduce a personality that you just fall in love with, then finally really feel empathy for as a result of she’s such a beautiful character.”
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https://tvline.com/2021/11/08/bob-hearts-abishola-morenike-gay-lesbian-storyline-gina-yashere-interview/ | ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’: Morenike Is Homosexual — Gina Yashere Interview