Gay Samoan Popstar, Ezra Phoenix on race, religion and the realities of living as a gay Samoan man.

Pacific Island communities are more likely to accept and celebrate Fa’afafine, or transgender men, than they are to accept and celebrate everyone else on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. ‘Image’ is everything. If you are a gay man, then you might as well save yourself a lifetime of trauma and become a woman. At least you’ll be praised for your grace, physical strength, and ability to make everyone laugh, which might I add is a defence mechanism because laughing is better than cringing, right?

But let’s talk about Samoan boys living in New Zealand with devout christian parents. If you are blessed to fit the heterosexual norm, go you boo-boo, better get that wife and grow your future sports team. Love that for you. To the rest mastering the art of disguise, what childhood trauma are you wearing today? You wear it so well my love. I personally used to rock the 2001 church talent show coconut-bra spring collection with mum’s lipstick, until I actually wanted a diamond dress but daddy dearest said “rebuke in the name of just do as we say”. It’s my fault, I should’ve known ‘it’s a boy’ meant when I grow up, I’m going to marry Caroline from work and raise my own sons to become rugby players, while the girls stay home with mum and cut vegetables on Saturday for Sunday lunch after church.


So basically, mother and father, the church, the 1st XVI, and the whole cast of ‘Bridgeton: Samoa Migrants, Season 1’ expect boys to be masculine and form fulfilling relationships with the opposite sex. Everyone will be happy and no one will stray too far from the shepherd, because we all know the prodigal son was gay and probably just wanted to ‘get some’, but Grindr wasn’t invented yet. Let us play it safe and refrain from a colourful lifestyle, or thou shall be punished for thy crimes against the old testament-eth. If that doesn’t look like perpetuating toxic masculinity, then I must be a demon with a Samoan tattoo on my back. Quick, someone grab the sacrament and shove it down my throat (I’m not dismissing the idea) before I spit fire on these bars. Then once I calm down, I shall happily welcome saint anxiety, archangel loss of self-worth, and saint internal suffering while mum and dad give away half their income every Sunday hoping it’ll buy me into heaven; I hear there’s a Bottle-O-JC just outside the gates.

I recently went to a social gathering, and during a brief conversation with a Samoan mother, she said “let’s get you a fine lady”. Poor thing, my eyes were scanning for fine men, one of them probably her son. I replied “no, not for me”. She looked like she’d seen her ancestors from Samoa. I bet they were hot too.

I’m not saying every Samoan in New Zealand is a sceptical mother haunted by ancestors from Samoa, I’m simply pointing out that we are the ancestors. Not only Samoans, but Oceania as a whole, before colonisation, the old testament, and John Williams, embraced and celebrated sexuality much like your son’s first try at his rugby tournament. There was no shame, no ostracising, no sacrament down the throat. There was however a lot of love, acceptance, freedom, and definitely less FOMO. I am one of many young men who are a reflection of the past (again, before the father, the son, and the holes in their arguments). Gaga said ‘Born this way”, Phoenix says “Born as a riddle running”. Ya’ll trynna figure out all of this, but we be getting figures (in views).

Ezra Phoenix:

Te Whanganui-a-Tara-based, Ezra Phoenix, is a Gay Samoan Popstar on the rise. A talented singer, he brings his passion to populate mainstream with Samoan culture and Pāsifika gay narratives to every song and video he releases. His hope is to challenge gender norms and open conversations around LGTBQIA+ acceptance within Pāsifika communities. With a string of singles and a stunning self-titled debut album already in the world – his new single ‘FOMO’ is yet another stride the RnB pop artist has made in making his popstar dream a reality, and the world a better place. Follow @ezra_phoenix_