19 June 2018
24 hours ago I ran into the lounge and began rambling to my parents, top speed , about FAKA ( The Queer icons we've all been in need of) having not only attended the Versace Menswear Spring/ Summer 2019 show front seat - but watching the show, listening to their music. Music which served as an inspiration for no other than Donatella Versace who proceeded to give them the following shoutout on instagram :
Oh my twitter heading is not enough for y'all? Head to toe versace, flown out on a private jet? Well look at this :
Now why is this important ?
Other than the fact that your favourite misogynist artists could never (#okmalumkoolkat) - FAKA have internationally garnered attention for their queer performing arts collective, predominantly, without the help of the South African entertainment industry. Which is a pity, and yet not suprising in the slightest.
Up until ,perhaps right now, many of you will have had no idea who FAKA is - that isn't necessarily shade... it is perhaps rather a reflection of a creative industry that has begun to decay. Not for a lack of talent or resources but rather the fierce gate-keeping thereof by the white cis-het powers at be. FAKA has the capacity to make the world shake - which they have already begun to do already, performing overseas at the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (in 2016), Unsound Festival in Poland (in 2016); and the Vienna Festival last year (according to a Neo Matilda Article, for the Design Indaba). Feats like these ought to have made headlines... well more headlines but as it stands it took international models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid for the local entertainment industry to be whipped into a somewhat delayed frenzy.
FAKA has been a queer art collective since 2010, and yet it is only in 2017 that I became aware of their presence in an I-D documentary :
[It is advisable to watch the whole thing - but if your data struggles are real watch from 5:40]
While I was grateful to have found the poignant and moving documentary - I was greatly saddened by the fact that this art collective receives more accolades internationally than locally.
I was challenged when my mom asked me "Well baby, who is FAKA?"
And I suppose you may be wondering the same thing.
If Solange was born in South Africa, as two queer black men who fell in love with Gqom, their sexuality and themselves - it would, at it's finest be something like FAKA.
Think afrofuturism meets spiritualism.
Think de-homogenized self-love.
Think unencumbered freedom.
Think profound re-imgaination.
Think much-needed representation.
Started by Desire Marera & Fela Gucci , FAKA aimed to do just as their name suggests ; Penetrate...
Penetration of exclusionary spaces. The penetration of stagnant mindsets. The penetration of an industry that defines challenging masculinity by taking photographs of black cishet men with pastel backgrounds with glitter, balloons and flower crowns. The penetration of an industry which rarely represents black queer culture realistically because what is realistic is not palatable - which is why the name FAKA probably rubs some people the wrong way.
If queer people aren't rich, fetishcized or traditionally attractive are they even represented in the media?
If so, queer bodies are presented, it's for cishet consumption - not represented, presented.
Othered but "included", the South African entertainment industries forte.
Which is why SIYAKAKA is important. SIYAKAKA is not only a platform for much needed representation in the performing arts but a huge fuck you to the status quo in the creative industry - which gatekeeps the kind of content and artists get the much needed limelight through a combination of :
- formal training
- Job experience
- Economic resources
I'm not just being vulgar ( as per usual) - SIYAKAKA literally means we're shitting on you. I'm only making tentative suggestions as to whom the 'you' refers to - but it's not that difficult to guess - if you can't guess you're probably part of the problem.
SIYAKAKA feminism is an articulate response to the desperate misogyny and homophobia which has frequently expressed itself in violent hate crimes exacted on trans and queer bodies in the country.
I will not give examples of these crimes, not only because of their excessively gruesome nature, but because we are force-fed trauma by the media - trauma more often than not exacted on POC. Developing a trauma-consumption base without the accompanying humanity - all of which ultimately contributes to our relationship with brutality, with consumption of the black body and it's ability to withstand horrors.
A subversive, covet narrative which not only desensitizes the public to trauma exacted against POC, but one which serves to construct ideas of the disposability of the black body. A narrative which comes full circle with hate crimes because the disposability of black bodies is met with unchecked homophobia.
SIYAKAKA is activism.
FAKA is queer photographic, literary, fashion and musical activism.
As defined by Desire Marea on 26 March 2015 :
"The concept of SIYAKAKA feminism transcends all falsified boundaries that keep one party at the bottom, bottoming, grappling with the degrading-by-nature dichotomy that is sex.SIYAKAKA feminism is the process of rebuking that nature with the nature we deny ourselves when confronted by the objects of our desire, because that part of our nature is our very own undesirable essence, one that can be suspended but never expelled from intimacy. KAKA. HUMANISE. Let it be learnt until it is desired the same way we desire demeaning intercourse."
Dynamic art is as follows :
[That's my personal favourite]
Currently you can download their music on iTunes - but all my android lovers you aren't lost to this movement, their music is also on soundcloud. Their latest EP (Bottoms Revenge) is also on soundcloud :
Want to read some of the literary works ?
There is something liberating about witnessing greatness - about watching others step into their truth as if by doing so a hand is outstretched towards you, soft palms - begging you to do the same.
I have no doubt this is just the beginning for FAKA.