Is Chimamanda Adichie transphobic? Ex-student says author's essay 'targets' her

Adichie's former protégé Akwaeke Emezi who clashed with her in 2017 claims author's new essay encourages 'transphobic Nigerians' to target her


                            Is Chimamanda Adichie transphobic? Ex-student says author's essay 'targets' her
Azwaeke Emezi accused former mentor Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie of inciting transphobic Nigerians to target her (Instagram)
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a globally acclaimed author is being slammed by her former student and protégé. In a new essay, the author claimed she was stabbed in the back for the comments she made a couple of years ago. Adichie claims her ex-student found the comments transphobic and decided to attack her over the Internet. Now, the ex-student, non-binary writer Akwaeke Emezi hit back at her former mentor for slamming her publicly. Emezi has been speaking out against Adichie for a long time and the last time she was in 2020 after the latter supported JK Rowling's transgender remarks

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Adichie said she had taken fellow Nigerian Emezi under her wing after noticing her finesse and talent from when she first joined her writing class in 2015. The two became friends and Emezi had credited Adichie and her writing class when she landed her first book deal. Two years from then, the duo fell out after Adichie said "trans women are trans women" in an interview. This comment didn't sit well with Emezi and she publicly lashed out at her former mentor on social media, calling her a "transphobe". This happened in 2017 and at the time, Emezi went as far as to claim Adichie supported the "murder" of transgender children. Another celebrity who has recently come under fire for her comments on the trans community is Caitlyn Jenner who said trans girls shouldn't be allowed to participate in female sports.

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Excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay where she slammed an ex-student for stabbing her in the back after comments she made in a 2017 interview (chimamanda.com)

Is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie transphobic?

In 2020, Adichie supported JK Rowling who was slammed for accusations of making transphobic comments. This incited more opposition from Emezi, however, Adichie argued her ex-student expressed her apologies in private. She also shared emails by Emezi saying she appeared to continue to want her as an ally. She responded by asking Emezi to remove her name from the bio of her debut novel. This was followed by an essay Adichie published on her website on Tuesday, June 15, wherein she slammed Emezi while talking about an 'unnamed' former student. 

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"In this age of social media, where a story travels the world in minutes, silence sometimes means that other people can hijack your story and soon, their false version becomes the defining story about you," an excerpt from her essay read. The write-up then spoke about a young female who attended Adichie's class in Lagos who she then "welcomed" into her life and served as her "support-giver, counselor, comforter." Adichie then speaks about the interview she gave and the comment she made for which her former student attacked her online. 

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Excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay where she slammed an ex-student for stabbing her in the back after comments she made in a 2017 interview (chimamanda.com)

"This woman knows me enough to know that I fully support the rights of trans people and all marginalized people...Of course she could very well have had concerns with the interview. That is fair enough. But I had a personal relationship with her. She could have emailed or called or texted me. Instead, she went on social media to put on a public performance," Adichie wrote. Also published with the essay were the two emails from Emezi, one she received on her birthday in 2017 and another was an apology email from 2018. 

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Adichie also revealed how Emezi had used her name in the bio of her debut novel. She also shared the email she sent her representative to have the name removed. "I’d like you to please reach out to her publishers and ask that my name be removed from her official book bio. I refuse to be used in this way," a couple of lines from her email read. Emezi's memoir 'Dear Senthuran' was published recently which brought her dynamic with Adichie back to the spotlight. In the essay, Adichie wrote that she was apprised of this person attacking her on social media at regular intervals. "This person has asked followers to pick up machetes and attack me. This person began a narrative that I had sabotaged their career, a narrative that has been picked up and repeated by others," she wrote. 

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Akwaeke Emezi hit back at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for publishing the essay (Instagram)

"You publicly call me a murderer AND still feel entitled to benefit from my name? You use my name (without my permission) to sell your book AND then throw an ugly tantrum when someone makes a reference to it? Besides, a person who genuinely believes me to be a murderer cannot possibly want my name on their book cover, unless of course, that person is a rank opportunist," Adichie wrote. 

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Emezi has replied to the essay via multiple Instagram stories claiming Adichie published the write-up to "incite hordes of transphobic Nigerians to target me." She clarified she wasn't ashamed of her emails to Adichie from when "I loved and respected her." Emezi wrote, "You people in the industry continue to platform her, laud her work, with no mention of the harm her views inflict on the trans community and on other writers." She also accused her former mentor stating, "I really don't think Adichie expected any students from her workshop to actually enter the same industry she's dominated for so long, let alone excel in it." In the next few stories, she shared resources her followers could use to help people donate to Black trans people in need including her Patreon account.

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None of them have publicly commented on their clash since this blew up once again. 

Akwaeke Emezi hit back at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for publishing the essay (Instagram)

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