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Category Is…

Inclusive Safe Spaces.

Ok… granted that’s not an actual ball category, it is however a very important topic for discussion. Probably more important for the folk who are sick and tired of being victimised in violent, rapey and femmephobic spaces. Lord knows this isn’t of much importance to cis folk who fit the so-called everyday norm of the gender binary or those who show acceptable levels of masculinity that afford them the privilege to move through such spaces with more ease.

Femme bodies have always been and continue to be targets of assault and violence by hateful energies that are fuelled by fear, self-hatred and a hunger for exerting an ignorant power this society has taught them they are entitled to. That’s just the thing with this kind of negative power – it feeds on those who have been identified as weak and unworthy. Trust and believe that femme energy is none of these lesser words the majority relentlessly associates with it. It is in fact the more positive power. This is something I’ve learned from my own experience.

To nurture this seemingly unpopular power a handful of femme, queer and trans identifying peeps in Jozi have gone ahead and created their own inclusive and safe spaces. Spaces where self-expression is encouraged. Where vulnerability, creativity and femininity is praised and tolerance of nonsense from the negative power is very low if any at all.

I still remember buying a tight white lace top and stashing it in the back of my cupboard for months before I eventually got the courage to wear it at my first Cunty Power last year. The courage wasn’t because I was wearing a lace top. The courage was deciding to present and express myself the way that I’d always wanted to. It was a understandably tough for me. Especially the moment we had to leave the safety of the space I was in to go to Great Dane. It was ‘Same Sex Saturdays’ but I had never dressed like that publicly, at least not outside of a costume party. As fierce as I looked, I couldn’t help but shrink and feel some type of way because of the space I was in. Which mind you was mostly gay men, but femmephobia is no joke. Some of it was my own internalised stuff for sure but the night took an magical turn to where this girl walked up to me, took my hand and told me how beautiful I looked. She then put on a red beaded bangle on my wrist and went on her way. That act of love and connection did something to me. I’ve never looked back since that day.

Embracing my femme energy and loving the versatility of wearing whatever I want regardless of what the store clerk or gendered shop signage says is the very reason I choose spaces that deliberately and explicitly protect people like me. Anyone who knows me will know that I religiously go to Pussy Party at KCB in Braam. The message of PP is very clear – protect, uplift, nurture and love of femme and queer bodies. Anything against that is refused. It is undoubtedly my second home where I get to dance my queer ass off until the early weekday morning with zero fear or apprehension. Maybe a teensy bit of fear of a violent hangover the following day, but that ain’t never hurt nobody.

Just a month back a spectacular event was born in Joburg called Vogue Nights. Ever since I watched ‘Paris Is Burning‘ (available on SA Netflix ūüėČ ) only a just few years back actually, I’ve been obsessed with ball culture, voguing, metamorphosis and the notion that you can choose your family. Vogue Nights surely gave me that hope and promise that sizoba grand. The voguing beasts from V.I.N.T.A.G.E Crew turned it out on the floor battling MrAllOfIt and other gorgeous divas dressed in beautiful silks, fishnets, shiny gowns and colourful hair. I myself played it down a little because I had a dinner in Rosebank before and wasn’t about to put myself in any kind of a situation with Uber drivers or bigoted patrons of Doppio. That of course is my own struggle and another reason I live for these events that tell me it’s OK to be you, to be extra and to do the most. I did however put my choppy black wig, called Yolanda, in my pocket which later came out to play downtown with all my other femme, butch, queer and trans brothers and sisters.

The M.I.A. concert, KOP JHB, Afropunk and other iconic events I’ve been to in the past year have been shameless at promoting and supporting the LGBT+ community and putting strict disclaimers that do not tolerate any sort of ill treatment of any human, period. Many will try and play ignorant or make excuses for the toxic spaces that turn a blind eye to what they know is true. Some will demand to be educated on this matter instead of taking their own initiative to learn from global standards institutions such as the Afropunks have set in their governing principles.

What I really do hope for is that the many and the some will do better in striving for inclusiveness and safety for the folk that attend their parties, events, homes, restaurants and bars. It’s time we connected on the real things and allow one another to have fun without compromising any bodies (femme or otherwise). It’s hella idealistic hope for sure, but It’s hope nonetheless. We’re pretty much nothing without it.

xo,

ALN.

femme power

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#FOMOFridays

Thank God It’s Friday. I used a fullstop¬† because it’s more of a statement of relief than it is an exciting proclamation. Lord this week!! My manager went on leave and I have been juggling all sorts of thangs above everything else I needed to do. Whew! Can’t wait to have a mid-year break from next week. Hope you lot had a better professional week than I did. I am grateful nonetheless – just needed to let it out. Let’s #FF!

Watching:

As per usual I was stuck to what to watch. So I scrolled through for a while and found¬†The Good Place. I loved me some Veronica Mars back in the day, so seeing Kristen ‘do-you-wanna-build-a-snowman’ Bell is in the show, I gave it a go. It’s hilarious! She’s hilarious and its a good looking show. By that I mean, it has that Wisteria Lane-esque bright, colourful vibe. Did I mention it’s funny?

The Narrative¬†has a new ep out where digital and creative guru, Malibongwe Tyilo chats to artist Nandipha Mntambo about her new fragrance. That’s right kids – you can do it all, do not hold yourself back. Also Mali is f&#*ing HILARIOUS. This channel is gonna be such a thing.

SA’s #1 new-kwaito duo,¬†Darkie Fiction JUST dropped the video to their uplifting hero anthem Bhoza. This song changed my entire mood a few Mondays ago. Now this video has me quarter to tears! Fashion, location, nostalgia, voshos and obvs the ease and talent of these two youngens. Love em, love em, love em! Die over it with me and share it using #BhozaMusicVideo¬†Don’t waste any more time click here now.

Listening:

Performance giant Manthe Ribane together with electronic producer Okzharp¬†released Closer Apart last Friday. I gave it a full listen during a Saturday morning workout and it went in! I don’t even want to box it into anything, it’s just sonically beautiful and flows nicely. I hope this will spawn their very own national tour. Gagging for what they could produce now that they have a full body of work.

One of my fave vocalists (I’d even say top 10) is Olly Alexander from Years & Years. They’ve got a new album out (Palo Santo) and it’s quite good. It took me a second to get used to it because it’s so different from their debut album which had such great house influences that worked so well. I don’t quite know what to liken this one to, but I know it’ll grow on me.

Just to mention, I’m obsessed with an artist named Billie Eilish. Dark pop is officially my best genre. I always gravitate to tragic lyrics over unassuming pop beat (Robyn I’m looking at you girl).¬†Childish Gambino dropped his Summertime Pack singles. Worth a listen- cos bae.

Onto podcasts (which are slowly becoming a thing in SA) this week I was given all the life from¬†Super Soul Conversations.¬†The latest ep Oprah spoke to Father Richard Rohr about finding your true self in a world where it’s more comfortable and easier to live as your false self. The false self being driven by ego, your persona, status and things. It was so enlightening and fits into everything I am striving for in my own spiritual journey. Mama O does all the things.

Doing (Weekend Tingz):

RMB Turbine Art Fair¬†has officially kicked off. They had their VIP launch this past week and now we plebs can go enjoy all the creative work some artist have been cooking up for us. I’m heading there tomorrow, so let’s look cute and look at some cute shit.

Melrose Gallery at the arch is hosting a Mandela 100 Exhibition¬†which will feature varied works in all kinds of mediums from celebrated South African artists including the fave Dr. Esther Mahlangu. It runs until mid August so you can pop in and check it out during this time. I’m sure there will be a ton of these centenary celebrations going on around the country.

Nongogo¬†is back at the Market Theatre and I’ve heard it’s still so good. It’s brilliantly performed (the cast is to die for) and James Ngcobo did the direction for this Athol Fugard’s period play. I did a tiny review on it back in 2013 when I used to contribute to SABloggers. It’s the last weekend it’s on so do yourself a favour.

My babies over at the khona are having a cosy and deelish joint called¬†Baby It’s Cold Outside¬†at Kitcheners (KCB) on Saturday afternoon until late. Expect jams from 3pm that will warm your heart and fire up your soul. Si Noir, Baby Boosh and my homegirl LittleMissKay will be some of the faves on the decks.

Lastly… Beyonce is said to be coming to SA for the Global Citizen Festival¬†(Dec 2) also in celebration of Mandela 100 in aid to end world poverty. I still don’t fully get this whole thing of all the work that needs to go into it… I really hope this campaign they are doing for free tickets has some sort of meaningful impact and people aren’t just spamming the internet for the sake of it. Maybe it works… I also know I don’t have the coinz for this fest. Blocked until further notice!

Go and have a faboosh weekend like the bhoza you are!

xo

ALN.

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#FOMOFridays

Alright first week of July. You are not here to play boo! An icy cold front to remind us we’re still alive. All the workload a gal could barely handle while juggling training about future network evolutions and dreaming of the future. Shap. I see you. I’m down to boogie witchu. Lol. I don’t know what all that was about either. Yay Friday right?!

Watching:

I’ve now finished all 8 eps of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. I was so happy to learn that Amazon picked it up for 2 more seasons. Those Golden Globes it won clearly did something.

After seeing a tweet about how iconic of a rapper Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes was, I fell into a YouTube hole of all things Left-Eye and TLC which made me so late for work. Her verses were always so smart, reflective and expansive. Also she’s the funnest to watch in videos. I used to draw that black line under my eye all the time. Definitely one of the best to do it shem. I still can’t believe she never really had a full-on album.

Oh… I guess that’s it? I really need to start the shows I’ve had on the back burner. Craving a doccie tbh. Oooh let me go back to FX’s Pose. Apparently the acting was only cheesy on the pilot ep.

Listening:

Of course upon stumbling on Left Eye‘s feature on Donells Jones‘ ‘You Know What’s Up’ I listened to his whole album. He was so good! Also how do lyrics just stay in you forever?! I was singing and rapping my little tooshie off.

I started compiling a 90s inspired playlist on Spotify from stuff I was listening to this week. I’ll share when it’s ready! It goes from Queen Latifah to Maxwell, Aaliyah, Biggie and Mariah. It’s been TBT all week. Nostalgia is the best. You always seem to remember where and when you were when it comes to such classics.

The Disney soundtracks also got me this week. I don’t even remember what triggered it. I think I thought of a book and then thought of Belle and the old librarian where she says “Oh, I just couldn’t put it down!”. Anyway… I was all up in Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and a little Frozen for the weather. The villains always had the best solos. Ok maybe not Gaston. Ursula and Scar tore it down!

On the podcasts I only managed to listen to RuPaul’s What’s The Tee? w/ Michelle Visage. Those two are a riot. I burst out laughing throughout the whole thing. The ep I landed on was with Ashanti. Homegirl is back at it! Did you know she had a new song with Ty Dolla $ign? Granted everyone has a song with him right now… It’s called ‘Say Less’. It’s cute. Normani may have her spot in all that though. No shade. Love me some Foolish.

Doing (Weekend Tingz):

The highly rated documentary,¬†Matangi, follows the life of Sri Lankan artist y’all know as M.I.A is back at The Bioscope from today. I was supposed to go to the screening a few weeks back but weekending got in the way (sorry Jackie!). Definitely going to make the time to see it on this run. It’s said to be amazing with great raw¬† personal video footage through 20 years.

Calexico (the old Stanley Beer Yard) looks like a nice new chill spot. They have vinyl DJs on weekends and have Vinyl Sundays were you can shop for some great records. I’ve only ever been to one but I found a Michael Jackson Thriller and Donna Summer vinyl at one of their pop ups. Definitely bookmarked for a nice afternoon sessh.

The RMB Turbine Art Fair isn’t this weekend, but this is just a reminder if you like the event. It’s back from Thursday 12th until the 15th, so get those tickets here.

For a good ol dance time, my home away from home KCB (Kitcheners) is hosting a rad ass party called Music Is The Weapon tomorrow night. DJs Danger Ingoze, fave Maria Mc Cloy and more are bringing the club, raggae, kwaito, afrobeat, dancehall and more into roots music. I’m on a hiatus from the streets, but this one is a must!

Soweto Art & Craft Fair is hosting their monthly event with BLK JKS being the live act for July. Haven’t seen them play live in ages and I use to follow them all over Joburg back in the day. Might pop in just for them tbh. Maybe pick up some local crafts.

I’m keeping it indoors for most of July but definitely will be out and about for those weekend day events. I’m sure there is much more on that you know about. Who got a fire place? Let’s get cosy?

Happy Friday lovelies ‚̧

xo

ALN.

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#FOMOFridays

Oh yea we in this bitch!! Whew. Is it me or did this week draaag. Apart from having a 2 day hangover (I know, I know. Do we ever learn?) I had writing classes which god bless them are the absolute best, but can be taxing. The imagination needs constant stimulation I tell ya. Definitely a daily practice of finding those stimulants from now on. Hope you had a good one though. Let’s get it in.

Watching:

Like I said. Week was a toughie, so the watching was on the minimum. I listened more than anything. Easier medium tbh. Omg. All I watched was a movie called The Invitation on Netflix on Sunday. It was one of those situations where you have no clue what mood you’re in so you go through titles, watch like 20 minutes and then realise you just can’t. Invitation had all the intrigue and creepy suspense. I think I liked it. Ending was NUTS!

That’s all.

Listening:

Yes, yes… More Super Soul Conversations with Mama O. They are my daily bread at this point. We don’t always have these conversations or even share our beliefs in divinity, energies/vibrations and the shit that makes us great. SSC is always a great input and outlet for just that. This week I listened to the one with Dr Phil about accountability, responsibility and forgiveness. Fave line: You can only control YOU.¬†Others you can inspire, others you can coach, others you can coax. A-ha. Amen. Hallelu. Overindulged with Marianne Williamson on her chat about returning to love. Simple and powerful. Also her daily prayers are the ones!

Music wise I pretty much allowed Spotify to guide me through my daily mixes. This week has been a lot of dark pop from The Japanese House, Shura and the likes. Yummy new age alternative vibes from Blood Orange, Broods and Kelela. These artist know how to write great pop songs.

Doing (Weekend Tingz):

I’m not even gonna front. As much as I wanna r-e-s-t this weekend, I know I’m gonna pop off at some point. Tonight M.I.A.¬†is in town and performing at The Newtown Music Factory (old Bassline – thank God they are using that space!). She’ll be supported by some faves – Doo Wap, Dear Ribane, Phatstoki and Buli. A tour-de-femme of artists and performers. Obsessed! I cannot wait.

44 Stanley is doing a Friday Nights at 44. Never been to one but I guess they will have all the stores open. Nice cosy fire spots and music flowing through the whole space. My Friday is gonna be anything but mellow, but if you’re into it this sounds like a good one.

Encounters Documentary Film Festival¬†is still on going at The Bioscope. I’ll be checking out M.I.A’s doccie film there on Saturday. Be sure not to miss it.¬†Ayanda Mabulu¬†opened his latest exhibition at Kalshnikovv last night at First Thursdays. Didn’t manage to get a peep because it was so crowded but will go check it out. Looked liked a lot was going on in there. Think I saw Nelson Mandela doing the Nazi salute in one piece. Go see it!

Blvck Queer is hosting the Vibrate Higher Social Festival at Soweto Theatre on Saturday. Art, live music and panel discussions will be the order of the day to promote artists and entrepreneurs. I’m doing the Field Market at some point and probs will pop into VHSF. Never been to either so should be a god excursion.

La Santa Muerte is having this dope party where you can (read MUST) come in any alter ego of your choosing. Fur coats, french maids, blingy pimps and and and. Sounds like my type of party. I got wigs and stockings for days! Overcoats and Underwear will be a vibe.

I don’t have any Sunday situations on my radar so do hit me up. KCB has their standing karaoke jam¬†Khona Karaoke Sundays. Hot DJs and of course the Japanese art form of singing to words on a screen. Love.

Happy Friday peeps!

xo

ALN.

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#FOMOFridays

I can’t believe it’s Friday again. This week has been shorter for me but physically felt long af. I like things but sometimes tend to forget my introverted and empath ways. Bushfire was all the things but I was drained shem. Officially bounced back today though. Let’s do drinks!!

JOKES! Here we go…

Watching:

Been on that Netflix this week.. big surprise. Apart from re-watching all of¬†Chewing Gum¬†with my cousins on Monday (there’s something so fun about watching people experience a show you love for the first time), I got hooked onto Netflix’s new docuseries¬†Explained. It’s no more than 20 so minutes long and freely goes into various topics of this world like; monogamy – it’s history and it’s relevance today, making designer babies through DNA manipulation and the effects that slavery still has on black folk in America. It’s very well produced and gets to the point with sharp visuals and interviews. They really should make a podcast version of the show, it could be equally enjoyed in just audio.¬†Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt¬†is BACK! The fallible gang in NYC has returned and they are trying they’re luck at adulting for another season. I’m only one episode in, but it’s a fave. Tina Fey can do no wrong in my eyes. Those characters!! Oh and Netflix is releasing the episodes in batches so don’t stress about the missing eps.

Besides TV – Coconut Kelz is telling it like she sees it (obvs in her car) in a new video. She’s coming for Euse-bias, trying to get in with the DA and questioning Siya Kolisi’s captaining. Riot as always! I can’t! Remember when I told you I was jamming to Mx Blouse‘s song Is’phukphuku on repeat (still am tbh), well the visuals are out and it’s a fave! Lewks on lewks! Dope choreo. The whole vibe nje is a mood. Hashtag Queer Domination!

Listening:

Th music festival gave me all the musical life so I didn’t really listen to much this week.¬†Listening to Salif Keita‘s Anthology album as I type this post. So good! So necessary. When I’m done with this post I need to hunt down the line up from Bushfire and follow all those artists. Some really great finds I could defs be into..

Obvs I had to get my life with Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations¬†podcast,¬†as I do every week. Her sit down with Amy Schumer was hella deep and made me like the funny girl a whole lot more. She is so candid! She gets to say “bitch” in front of Oprah. Imagine. It kind of inspired me to do a separate post on what they talk about. We’ll see…

Doing (Weekend Tingz):

So I’m not sure what this weekend holds for me (on account of being drained) but there are a few goodies going on in Jozi. Party wise, KCB (Kitcheners) has an insane lineup of my absolute faves at their Bitch Slap party tomorrow. I may be tempted because I’ve never with this line-up of Lelowhatsgood, Maria McCloy, Little Miss Kay and Your Uncle Gary. Hashtag Femme Power! La Santa Muerte in Melville is having their 90s party called Spice Up Your Life! This spot has become a fave, and the vibe is always good. They better play Spice Girls! If you go, send me a video if they do play my gals.

There is a Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition at Everard Read Gallery in Rosebank all weekend. So if you like plants and plants like you back (in no order), then check this one out. Rosebank has their Sunday Market and every first Sunday of the month the Locrate Market is in Soweto around Lebo’s Backpackers. Hopefully the weather allows. I’m keen on a new market vibe with hopefully some different food trucks. They always tend to be the same. Don’t forget it’s First Thursdays next week. Braam has Kalashnikovv Gallery, Once backpackers, Anotomy for She Said So and 99 Juta. Rosebank has the one stop shop of Keyes Art Mile and surrounding galleries in the area.

Encounters Documentary Film Festival is back this year at The Bioscope Cinema and at the Rosebank Nouveau. It runs until the 10th. This could be a great mellow solo Friday sitch actually. Check out the schedule here.

OK that’s it gang. Links are added for times, venues and the videos I’ve mentioned. Go wild. It’s June after all!

Happy Friday!

xo

ALN.

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