Blvck Queer Block

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde

Blvck Queer Block (BQB) is a sophisticated new South African creative, collaborative and authentic performance forum that represents black and queer women on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

In association with Link Up Sessions, MambaOnline & Final Frame.

• Dates: Friday October 30 until Saturday, October 31st.

• Time: 5pm – 6pm (SAST)

• Wehere: Various social media platforms (details at the end of the article)

Performers

#1 Jocelyn Hudson AKA DJ JSmooth is a Chicago based, open format DJ with a fiery sound that adds flavour to all of her mixes. Since starting her career in high school, JSmooth has made a reputation for being electrifying, energetic, and amplified. This multifaceted DJ isn’t afraid to be diverse in her sound by using several genres of music in her mixes including Top 40, R&B/Soul, Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Pop, Trap, House, Reggaeton, and EDM.

 #2 Banzii Mavuso aka Kanii Axtro is a musician, creative industries practitioner, visual artist, events coordinator, photographer, performance artist, filmmaker and all-round creative who uses creativity to bring to light issues affecting the LGBTIQ community. Originally from King Williams Town in Eastern Cape, Banzii has lived and worked in Cape Town and currently resides in Johannesburg.

Through Banzii’s company Blvck Queer whose tagline is “progressive African LGBT stories” as the main platform Banzii uses various platforms to shine light on queer life and the daily struggles for acceptance, respect and dignity in spaces which are not friendly and some openly intolerant and homophobic.

Banzii has been instrumental in being a pioneer in both the alternative music space through her old entertainment company: Jam That Session. She was also introduced into the LGBT events space through her past events space: Queers on Smash that brought the first Black queer socials, which attracted artists such as FAKA, Lady Skollie, Yoliswa Mqoco, Thandiswa Mazwai and Nakhane Toure.

In 2019 Banzii made a partly self-funded film (with additional support from the Gauteng Film Commission and the NFVF) called Gang 888 which “seeks to provide a social commentary on the murders of black women and black queer people in South Africa”.

In 2019 Banzii was part of a Melrose Art Gallery programme of “art performances by African contemporary womxn artists” called The Warmth of Other Suns and the performance piece was entitled Musician Shows You. In the piece, “two queer black women explore their upbringing, reflecting on memories of joy and pain in a performance that includes musical renditions sung in isiXhosa and accompanied by ancestral South African instruments”.

In January 2020 Banzii was part of the Pan African Music Show in Zurich, Switzerland featuring many African artists and cementing Banzii’s place as an innovative artist who fuses rap, dance and vocals seamlessly to produce a sound so rich, fresh and hard-hitting and urgent! Banzii is passionate about identity, representation and how narratives either project or obfuscate realities faced by the LGBTIQ community in South Africa hence much of Banzii’s work is dedicated towards the creation of safe and affirming physical and digital spaces for artistic expression.

#3 Shaun Lunga is an artist in learning, freelance writer, and poet who lives between Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Eastern Cape. Also an accounting student at the University of Johannesburg, he encourages people to read Black Literature and spends most of his time archiving our stories through music, art, and black culture.

#4 Carrie Hawks confronts self-imposed and external assumptions about identity in order to promote healing, particularly in relation to Blackness, gender, and queer sexuality. They work in animation, drawing, collage, sculpture, and performance, often incorporating humour. Their film black enuf* was nominated for a New York Emmy, won Best Documentary Short at Trans Stellar Film Festival, was broadcast on American Public Television’s World Channel in 2019, and screened at over 40 festivals including Ann Arbor and BlackStar.

 #5 – Gang 888 actress interviews.

Gang 888 is a short film written, directed by Banzii Mavuso about a gang of 5 black queer women who fight toxic masculinity and homophobia. BQB will feature behind the scenes interviews with one actress from the film as well as Banzii Mavuso.

Festival screening and ticket information

Tickets are priced at R100 and can be secured here via Quicket. Funds raised go towards supporting all artists involved in the festival, volunteers, as well as company facilitation and admin.

Alternatively, donations of $6 can be made to the company PayPal account to support future programmess, artists and volunteers. 

The festival will be streamed on: 

More information can be received by emailing: blvckqueer@gmail.com

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