A British TV presenter has opened up about the prejudice experienced by gay Black men, and of experiencing sexual assault.
Will Njobvu, 28, is a rising face on British TV. He works on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and the Jeremy Vine Show on Channel 5. He also hosts a weekend radio show on Capital Xtra.
In a new interview with Metro he talked about his decision to come out in April 2022 on social media. He said at the time he was coming out after receiving death threats. Some people online already suspected he was gay.
Never in a million years did I think I’d feel this comfortable speaking about my sexuality on a public platform.. but here we are. There’s power in owning who you are. Life’s too short to be anyone else but yourself ❤️🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/qsZOMM7d7z— Will Njobvu (@will_njo) April 22, 2022
Njobvu told Metro the video prompted plenty of supportive messages, but also hateful ones.
“Some older African men were like, ‘You’re a shame and disgrace to the community, we’re going to track you down.’ Really scary death threats that I received.
“It was actually so bad that Capital Radio had to organize security for me to get me through the back garage to do my radio shows just to make sure I was protected because I was getting paranoid.”
However, he says he has no regrets about talking about his sexuality and is much happier to not have to keep it a secret.
Njobvu says staying in the closet impacted him in other ways. He went on to reveal he’d been subjected to a sexual assault after meeting up with a guy on Grindr. Because of his public profile, and not being out, he felt unable to go to the police.
“I met a guy on Grindr and we went on a date outside and I went back to his. I think this is the first time in my life that I had experienced anything like this where someone was trying to be forceful with me but I was declining his advances and he was trying to do stuff. I’d never felt so upset and scared in my life.
“I didn’t have my location on so no one could find me, my friends and family didn’t know where I was and this person sexually assaulted me.”
Njobvu left the man’s house in tears. He said he didn’t alert authorities “simply because I didn’t really want to speak about my sexuality at that point.”
Instead, he had to go to work the next day and act as if nothing was amiss.
“I was crying on the way into the studio. I had to literally wash my face, put on a brave face, run into the studio, make it seem like everything was okay and in the commercial break I’d have flashbacks to the night before. I was really traumatized.
“I didn’t tell anyone.”
“Still so many young gay Black boys scared to speak out”
Njobvu says his story is not uncommon. He knows lots of Black gay men who find it hard to come out because they fear the reaction they’ll receive.
“In this day and age, there are still so many young gay Black boys who are scared to speak out about this truth because of cultural backlash from their community or in general.
“It’s still a taboo and you can only imagine how many other young Black boys have experienced this and are scared to report it just because of the taboo of being Black and gay.”
Njobvu went on to discuss feeling suicidal when he was 17. Another bout of depression in 2019 led him to come out to his brother via a WhatsApp exchange.
“I’m happy I didn’t commit suicide in the end and I’m happy that I’m here to be able to tell this story.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to Patric McCoy’s photos, they’re worth a lifetime.