Features / qtipoc

Showcasing the talent of LGBTQ+ people of colour in Bristol and beyond

By lowie trevena, Monday May 11, 2020

A new Instagram Live season from Kiki Bristol and the Voice and Influence Partnership (VIP) will showcase the talent of LGBTQ+ people of colour living in Bristol and beyond.

A collaboration between the LGBTQ+ branch of the city’s  VIP and Kiki, A Night With Kiki And…. is a series of three nights hosted by Lara Lelami, one of the Kiki co-founders and the organiser of the project, along with talent including Carmen Monoxide and Manly Mannington.

The VIP was created to help make sure that individuals, groups and communities whose voices aren’t always heard are listened to, are part of shaping the city’s future.

Led by The Care Forum with organisations such as Bristol Older People’s Forum and the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, the VIP uses Bristol City Council funding to ensure all voices within the city are heard.

The LGBTQ+ branch of the VIP works with Off The Record’s Freedom Youth to amplify the voices of queer people in the city.

“The collaboration with Kiki is one part of the LGBTQ+ VIP and its plans to widen its reach, support grassroots organisations and make sure LGBTQ+ voices and experiences in Bristol are recognised and highlighted,” says Henry Poultney, leader of Freedom.

“The panel were able to support Kiki to undertake this event and will continue to work with Kiki to support their work.

“The work Kiki does is so important in creating community in our city. Kiki does fantastic work in our city to celebrate BAME and queer, trans and intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) voices and experiences.”

A Night With Kiki And…. is hosting three Instagram Lives to showcase the talent of three BAME queer talents.

The first night, held on May 9 and being uploaded via Kiki’s socials, opened the stage to Karteer Mugler, a voguer from London.

From House of Miyake Mugler, the father house of the Kiki House of Louboutin, Karteer showed his sassy, diva dance moves in his home.

Organiser Lara said: “He was in his living room, and it felt like you were there too, like a friend coming over.”

The second Live, taking place on May 16, will see a takeover from Bristol-based drag king/queen Manly Mannington. Founder of the House of Mannington, a place for Bristol-based drag performers who challenge stereotypes and push the boundaries of drag, their drag celebrates gender fluidity, black culture and the decadence of African art.

Manly Mannington performs on stage. Photo: Amy Demidow

The final performer billed for the series is Carmen Monoxide, who Lara describes as “literally beautiful, totally jawdropping”. Their set is still unconfirmed, but expect sass, beauty and drag.

Each Instagram Live starts with a short introduction and Q&A with organiser Lara, who says: “We chat about how their lockdown is going. It’s good to know other people are coping, and to know you’re not alone.”

Each evening hopes to be an expressions of the queer community’s beauty, a refuge for people to escape to for a while and a way to let LGBTQ+ people that they aren’t isolated.

“It’s the beauty of the queer community coming together,” says Lara. “I really miss my queer community. It’s so nice to feel brought together with my queer family, especially during lockdown.”

Kiki Bristol founders Peta, Lara and Sharifa. Photo: Kiki Bristol

As well as providing comfort and community, the project also highlights the lack of representation for LGBTQ+ people of colour, as well as the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the UK.

“Every day, we’re hearing about the deaths of and the impact of coronavirus on the BAME community. We don’t feel represented, taken care of or taken seriously.

“We hope this will be an antidote to that. We hope it says ‘we’re still all here, queer and fabulous’.”

Lara and the Kiki team are also adamant that people should not feel alone: “People don’t have to reach out, we’re already here for you. We’re not a one-time social event. We miss our queer family. We hope this is like a big queer hug.”

Watch A Night With Kiki And… on Instagram Live via @kiki_bristol

Find out more about Kiki Bristol at www.facebook.com/KikiSocials and find out about the VIP at www.thecareforum.org/voice-influence-partnership. Sign up to become a member of the VIP at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/voiceandinfluence

For any QTIPOC needing support, Kiki suggest going to www.baatn.org.uk.

Main photo of Lara Lalemi: Kiki Bristol

Read more: ‘The House of Mannington is a calling point for those who don’t fit into society’

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