Kehinde Wiley in suit, holding flower.
Kehinde Wiley| Source: @kehindewiley Instagram

Okuntakinte’s Allegations are Baseless and Defamatory — Renowned Artist, Kehinde Wiley

After Okuntakinte accusations sent the art world into commotion in May, Wiley has come out with a detailed account to clear his name of the sexual allegations

1 min read

by Ìbùkúnolúwa Dàda 

Kehinde Wiley took to his Instagram yesterday, June 11, to set the record straight on sexual allegations made by Ghanaian social entrepreneur and artist Joseph Nana Kwaku Awuah-Darko, known as Okuntakinte. 

In the series of posts where he shared screenshots of conversations with Okuntakinte, he referred to the allegations as baseless and defamatory. 

In what had sent the art world into a frenzy on May 19th, Okuntakinte had accused the renowned portrait painter shared details of the assault posted on Instagram of what he claimed to have occurred on June 9th, 2021.

Wiley has now responded with full details reiterating he indeed had a one-time affair with Okuntakinte but it was consexual. He added that Okuntakinte had aggressively sought a relationship with him which he didn’t oblige resulting in character assassination, perpetrated alongside another past brief consensual encounter. 

His post reads in part, “I met my accuser in June 2021 at a dinner hosted at his loft space in Ghana. We were flirting all night. Around 4AM, he came to my hotel room. We had a one time encounter. Everything was consensual.

“The next day, he left thappily, as witnessed by my assistant who arranged his transportation home. He also sent me these friendly and flirty text messages. This marked the beginning of years of Joseph aggressively pursuing a relationship with me. 

“In February 2022 a year after we first met, he traveled 4,377 miles from Londor to Lagos, Nigeria. Just to attend my birthday party. Just last year he repeatedly sought to visit me at my cabin in Upstate New York, which ignored.

“In his reckless smear campaign, he has harassed friends and colleagues, desperately seeking any information to support his ridiculous claims. He found nothing.  He finally managed to conspire with a person I had a brief consensual encounter in 2021; this person had also hoped for a more significant relationship.”

Okuntakinte is a Ghanaian social entrepreneur, artist, and philanthropist, who gained prominence with the release of his 2016 music video ‘Melanin Girls’. The video sparked an anti-skin bleaching campaign and social media movement encouraging dark-skinned girls to embrace their natural beauty. It also gained widespread media coverage, including from BBC World Service, for its provocative message challenging colorism and promoting self-love among Black women.

Kehinde Wiley’s work began in the late 1990s and he has since used them as a tool for social justice causes, educational reform, challenging the status quo, speaking out against racism, and pushing for greater representation of Black people in the arts. 

Leave a Reply