One of London’s biggest cabaret stars talks POC representation and more.
Hey Kim! Most people will have heard of Duckie, but what is Duckie Family?
Family is a QTIPOC-centred event, originated and co-curated by Kayza Rose and Campbell X. They’ve curated three Duckie Family events. Kayza is a producer on the Arts Council Changemaker program. It’s a night for people of colour and their allies to celebrate, because a lot of POC feel like they aren’t truly represented in the mainstream LGBT+ community. However, things are slowly changing. This is an event where we can all feel safe and valid. The truly beautiful thing about it is: all of these ethnic minorities coming together, working together and getting to know each other. It’s important for us to support each other, especially right now when people like Trump, Farage and Boris Johnson are inexplicably popular.
The Legacy event falls within Black History Month; will that be celebrated?
Absolutely! Mainstream media doesn’t do a good enough job of highlighting the great things that a lot of black people have achieved. Black people need to FEEL that pride. There’s so much rich history that doesn’t get out there, and this is an opportunity to do that. It’s not, as some would have you believe, about being segregated from white people. It’s about learning and celebrating our history.
Over the years, there have been many prominent QTIPOC figures who have significantly impacted the lives of queer people through their activism: Marsha P. Johnson, Lord Waheed Ali, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, to name just a few. When you look back, who and what has stood out for you?
Everybody and everything has stood out and affected me personally! It’s interesting you mention Marsha P. Johnson, and it’s even more telling that she was left out of Stonewall movies. Marsha and Sylvia Rivera were the main protagonists.
Why do you think Marsha was omitted?
Racism. Pure and simple. Why else would they erase her out of the history books? A lot of gay men were, and still are, embarrassed by drag queens. Back then they were pissed off because they thought that’s how everyone in America would perceive all gay people. God forbid some should not fit the heteronormative, white cliché.
On a more positive note, there’s a new wave of exciting and talented artists who are making their mark, some of which are involved with Duckie Family. People like your co-host Sadie Sinner, Lasana Shabazz, Travis Alabanza and Rhys Hollis…
They are all fantastic and I am extremely proud of them. They are out there doing what they do with pride. And I have to say, people like Jonny Woo, Meth and George from Her Upstairs, and Ingo Cando deserve a lot of credit because they have been consistently and proactively giving POC artists a platform. Also Ian Massa-Harris from Pride’s Got Talent, who has been actively trying to increase representation. Sadly many POC don’t want to be involved with mainstream Pride because they feel as though they don’t fit in.
I think you’ve become a wonderful role model on the scene for young people. How do you feel about being someone that people look up to?
Thank you. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision. It’s just something that I feel in my heart. There have been so many changes in my life recently, and I never thought people looked up to me. In the past I’ve always been criticised and looked down on. I had to be sat down and spoken to, told that people do look up to me. It’s changed my whole outlook on life. It’s made me a stronger person and it’s helped me to grow up. I feel like I have this responsibility now, even though I didn’t seek it out, and I have to respect it.
Duckie Family presents: Legacy is on Sat 17th Feb at Rich Mix London, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road