RISK MAGAZINE: How can we embrace our bodies and our own sexuality without the stigmas associated with them?
BASIT SHITTU: My body is mine. Your body is yours. We must take ownership of and embrace our bodies by reminding ourselves of this as often as possible. Our bodies shift and move, grow and change all of the time. That is something beautiful and should be celebrated. I have found liberation in celebrating my body in all of its forms, and if I hold the power to uplift and celebrate my own body, anyone else’s thoughts on my body are irrelevant.
RISK MAGAZINE: What scares you about sex / sexuality / your own body?
BASIT SHITTU: My biggest fears around sex and sexuality have a lot to do with the stigmas that exist in the conversation of consent. In our society we are made to believe we do not own our pleasure, or that it isn’t sexy to talk about boundaries and the specific ways we enjoy being pleasured. I am most often triggered when there is not a full, transparent conversation around consent. The idea of not knowing is scary, because ultimately it can lead to more triggers and trauma. I am only interested in unpacking and processing these things through clear honest and open communication.
"I like to surround myself with folks who look like me, and consume media centering and featuring all types of brown folks. People of all different gender identities, different body shapes and sizes, and cultures of all kinds. This is exactly why I cofounded Legacy: A Black Queer Production Collective, as a means to tell our stories without centering whiteness. We are sickening, we’ve always been sickening, and we are tired of asking for a seat at the table. It’s time we build our own table."
RISK MAGAZINE: How does racism affect your social, romantic and sexual relationships as well as your relationship to your own sexuality and the way you socialize?
BASIT SHITTU: Every single relationship I have had in my life, sexual or otherwise, has been affected by racism due to anti-Blackness. Oftentimes, unpacking my own experiences and how I’ve been traumatized by the racism I’ve experienced prohibited me from fully enjoying intimacy in a way that made me feel free. When I started to interrogate my complicity to these systems that do not serve me, I was able to seek healing through intimacy with bodies and folks who saw me as a whole person outside of my physical body and skin color. Everyday I am still unpacking my sexual intimacy in relation to my Blackness, but through intentional practices of self-love I now have full autonomy over who has access to my body.
RISK MAGAZINE: What are your fantasies as it relates to your own sexual liberation / freedom?
BASIT SHITTU: Recently I’ve been in a deep state of reflection around what sexual liberation and freedom means to me. Many of my fantasies have to do with exchange and exploration of touch with my sexual partner(s); every inch of our bodies. There’s a deep attention to detail, and our bodies move like water with passion and aggression, fluidity, and ecstasy. Ideally every single touch is a sensory overload.
RISK MAGAZINE: What does it mean to be free?
BASIT SHITTU: Freedom to me is the ability to exist like water. Water moves without limitations, ebbing and flowing through any circumstance. In my debut single, Fluid the lyric “You flow away, I flow to you, you swim to me, I’m floating” illustrates the freedom I believe is synonymous to water and the full totality of one's self.
In a Risk Magazine series 'Decolonizing Sexuality', Basit Shittu stars in 'Enchanted by Fluidity' photographed by Ricardo Horatio.
Photographer Ricardo Horatio Nelson
Model/ Stylist Basit Shittu
Hair & Makeup Astarra Thorne
Producer Jack Goldsmith
Interview LaQuann Dawson
Editor-In-Chief Colin Anderson