Sauti Sol singer Chimano comes out as queer with powerful message: ‘It doesn’t define you’

Kenyan singer Chimano smiling with his dog

Sauti Sol singer Chimano has come out as a member of the LGBT+ community to encourage others to live their truth.

The musician, full name Willis Austin Chimano, is a member of one of Kenya’s biggest male bands, Sauti Sol, with the award-winning afro-pop group enjoying huge success across the continent and diaspora.

In a new interview with the local publication The Standard, the hitmaker confirmed he is a member of the LGBT+ community.

Sex between men is currently punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Kenya. However, prosecutions under this law are not common.

While attitudes towards LGBT+ people are becoming more liberal, a challenge to overturn the law was rejected by the Kenyan High Court in 2019.


Chimano, who recently released a solo single titled “Friday Feeling”, confirmed that the track was about “underground ballroom culture within the queer community”.

“It is the first time I am expressing myself in a song. You really get to know who Chimano is and that is a heavy crown to carry. It is just a representation of the underground ballroom culture within the queer community… which I am part of,” he told The Standard.

He encouraged fans to focus on living a happy and fulfilling life as he added: “Sexuality does not define you. It is just about me putting myself out there, my creativity and living my truth. Figure out what your own happiness is most importantly with yourself. Gather your own life.”

“As I get older, I have a bigger perspective of life and who I am supposed to be. It is not about what everybody else thinks I should be,” the singer stated.

Chimano’s coming out follows a number of other prominent Kenyans who have also opened up about their sexuality.

Formed in 2005, his band Sauti Sol has released three studio albums and had successful tours in Africa and Europe.

The band won Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards and Best Group at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.