lydia ballantine


A few weeks into my homestay in Dakar, Senegal, I was sitting in the living room with my 15-year-old cousin. He was showing me rap music in Wolof, the national language of Senegal. One of the album covers featured a picture of Caitlyn Jenner with a big red X through her. Surprised, I asked him why she was on the cover. He replied that he didn’t know, he thought it was some French lady and I didn’t bother to correct him. “I like this song!” I said. “I wish I spoke Wolof so I could understand the lyrics.” “Oh, he’s saying that homosexuals are horrible and that he wants nothing to do with them,” he replied nonchalantly. My eight-year-old cousin was sitting next to me, bouncing up and down enjoying the violently homophobic rap song. I haven’t listened to Wolof rap since.