We at None On Record are actively seeking opportunities to shift change in our LGBTQIA communities across the continent. Many advocates use the arts as a tool for building empathy and culture as the driver of social change. Our Tamasha program is just one way to take part in the positive rippling affect of change of our queer communities.
In August, None On Record’s Tamasha program collaborated with Docubox, a documentary film fund, to screen KIKI, a documentary that follows seven characters from the Kiki community over four years. These queer youth-of-color are at the center of the performance-based art form, Kiki, that stems from the Ballroom era and was once made famous by Madonna’s music video “Vogue” and the movie “Paris Is Burning”.
Together, None On Record and Docubox created a safe space at PAWA254 for an audience made of Docubox regulars, members of the LGBTQI community and allies. In spite of a down pour of rain, we had a full house.
The Audience was treated to the Kiki culture in New York, thousands of miles from Kenya, where the LGBTQI minority youth connect and find solace in their life’s reality through the vibrant form of expression of dance, voguing and modeling. In these spaces, the queer youth are able to be themselves. A space free of their life realities potentially touched by discrimination, assault, prejudice, their homelessness or HIV statuses.
Kiki inspired us all. Created in collaboration between Kiki’s very own Twiggy Pucci Garçon and Swedish filmmaker and visual artist, Sara Jordenö, Kiki illustrated a marginalized community who needed a platform to speak on their existence.
Our audience in Nairobi had a peek into a world of Kiki ball competitions that bridged conversations on issues they were faced with as members of the LGBTQI community that gathers on New York’s Christopher Street Pier. Issues that our own LGBTQI could relate to. Issues that our allies had only heard about and could now experience through the characters in the film.
The highlight of the night occurred after the screening. The audience was introduced to the #IshtarDolls, members of Kenya’s Ishtar MSM organization who, like the characters in Kiki, vogue, model and dance in safe spaces where they can be fully expressed. The Ishtar Dolls shared their stories and the importance of their voguing culture in the face of the tribulations that they face as queer Kenyans. It was exciting for our audiences to learn that the energy expressed on the screen was ever present in Nairobi.
Like our own ethos, Docubox partly exists to change and inspire our society through the sharing of documentaries that spark dialogues on important issues that have an impact on the people in our communities. On this magical night, the screening of KIKI touched the lives of the LGBTQI as much as it did it’s allies. The stories told were “personalized glimpses into a world unknown to most, issues that are barely addressed and lives we rarely hear about.
View the KIKI movie trailer!
Learn more about KIKI
Learn more about Docubox and their next screening.
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