Rupaul’s Drag Race season 1 winner and AllStar season 3 finalist; BeBe Zahara Benet has revealed she hopes to visit her birth place; Cameroon this year. She revealed this in an interview with Gay Star News and she talked about the last time she went to the motherland, her family/friends there and the current political climate of Cameroon.
“It’s been a while since I went back home. Every time I’ve tried, there’s been a project I couldn’t leave.’ She said while talking about the last time she visited her birthplace and also added: ‘But hopefully this holiday coming up, I’m going to go. I of course have family and friends there, that’s where I’m from. I want to go and take some time to really take it all in.’
BeBe was speaking to Gay Star News ahead of her appearance at DragWorld UK in London. Upon arriving in the United States from Cameroon, Bebe settled in Minneapolis to complete his college studies and to be closer to family. Her first experience with drag was at a Paris fashion show, where he was asked to put on a dress to walk the runway as a woman as a last-minute replacement for an absent model. Her first drag performance was alongside Cyndi Lauper in The Gay 90’s bar in Minneapolis and she went on to win Rupaul’s Drag Race season 1 in 2009.
Cameroon is located in central Africa, and shares It’s borders with Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and carries punishments ranging from 5 years imprisonment to fines to vigilante executions in Cameroon. In 2011, three men in Cameroon were sentenced to five years in prison for homosexual acts. But justice eventually prevailed and the conviction was overturned in 2013. Also in 2013, a Cameroon appeals court acquitted two men found guilty of homosexuality for wearing women’s clothing and ordering a cream-based liqueur.
In her interview, she was asked if she was nervous about returning to the country when her profile is at an all-time high, BeBe replied: ‘I think my approach to that is not creating any… [laughs] I think I have to go very incognito honey! I just want to go and spend some quality time. Go to the motherland as opposed to “Look at me! I am this! This is what I have done!”
Speaking about the political state in Cameroon and her worries for returning she said;
“When you talk about nerves, I don’t think it’s nerves. It’s a little bit of anxiety because there’s a lot happening. I don’t know if you know, there’s a lot happening politically in Cameroon.’ She also added: ‘It’s not as stable politically as I’d want it to be. With that, it’s a matter of not placing myself in situations where it’s dangerous or unfortunate. I’m praying for my country.’
Bebe is set to make an appearance at DragRace UK which is taking place in Olympia London from 18-19 August. For more from Bebe Zahara Benet follow her on Instagram @bebezahara