When Michael messaged me about doing a nude photoshoot in Lamu, I was super excited then almost at the same time, unsure and somewhat scared of wanting to go through with it. The last time I went nude, a bunch of lazy online websites claimed I did it to get the attention of males. That I did it so men all over the world could wank to the image of me naked. That claim that angered me for sometime before I realized that internet stupidity was really not something I could help.
If I were a full blown lesbian and posted a porn clip of myself, the world would still think I did it for the male species. It’s just how things are.
I however could not stomach the idea of stopping doing things I enjoy simply because it is seen as calling to the attention of men- especially not things I can get away with. I know I cannot walk naked in public without attracting rapey attention from men- not in Nairobi.I know I cannot wear bum shorts in town and not be touched inappropriately by every man who believes I am asking for it. As I am, each time I swim at the beach, dressed in a swim suit or shorts, some man and sometimes even young boys find ways of going underwater to brush against my thighs. They get away with it.
Being naked infront of the camera is that one thing I can get away with. There is no danger of being raped or degraded or touched inappropriately because I have a say in what I want and what I am not up for. I am also very careful with who I choose to work with.
Even though I had seen some of Michael’s work, Googled the shit out of him and asked him for more of his past works, I was still wary about the shoot for the reason that Michael also happens to be white. Heaven knows I would literally die of exasperation if someone came up with some shit along the line of the exploitation of a poor black woman by a white. As if!
In the end though, I decided, fuck it! Of course I was going to do the shoot. Everything I was working towards demanded that I do. Not only have I been working towards being more comfortable infront of the camera, but also, the nude invitation came at a time I was (still am) working a nude collection. Who knew what great ideas could come out of it?
Also, it was freaking Lamu! I had planned to visit the place at my own expense but here was a chance to go- all expenses paid and I was still to earn some money being naked. It was all a win win!
And so the Lamu shoot happened! And what naked discoveries it brought too!…