Is’phukphuku: Mx Blouse’s New Music Video
ICYMI: Gender non-conforming musician Mx Blouse released a fresh music video titled ‘Is’phukphuku’, featuring Thor Rixon, Jakinda and Albany Lore.
Director/Editor: Jarred Figgins
Styling: Peter Georgiades
INDIE Contributor Rifumo Mdaka finds out more:
“Hey guys! Can we just shoot in here?” They laughed at us!”
Mx Blouse knows they stand out but that’s the way they want to be.
“They were laughing at my outfit but the minute we started shooting, we were like, “You guys can carry on with whatever it is you’re doing.” I thought it was a nice, weird little thing that I’m standing there looking weird as fuck and all of these people are just carrying on their business.”
We’ve all seen it before. A flamboyant queer body makes their way into a space. First it’s the looks. Then it’s followed by the murmurs. And if the onlookers are really about sitting in their privilege, they may point, mock and laugh at the ‘idiot’ who’s just threatened their normalised space.
With the Jarred Figgins-directed video for ‘Is’phukuphuku’ (IsiZulu for the word, ‘idiot’), Mx Blouse imagines a world where things are slightly different.
The queers are alright in this world. They dance because they’re free. And they dance in salons and in shopping malls and parking lots. They dress in ways that express who they truly are and that doesn’t appear to threaten or destabilise an otherwise normally aggressive and violent status quo environment with its roots in fragile masculinity.
“I think it speaks to hypervisibility: as a queer person you are hypervisible but you are invisible at the same time,” Mx Blouse tells me in reference to the unfazed gaze of the extras – or “everyday” people – who are used to litter the mise-en-scène of the video in order to create this pseudo-utopia.
You see, it’s not just about glamorous garb for the sake of being “extra.” There are several things going on here:
In the first place, Blouse has a well-documented history covering local fashion and its designers. So, that’s why it was important to them to have South African fashion style his video. The fashion itself was important because it speaks to the reason why I used the pronouns ‘them’ and ‘they’ in reference to Blouse. “What’s most interesting is that as androgynous as the looks look on me, that’s actually menswear,” they tell me. “Especially the check one. That’s from ALC and it’s the menswear collection. But that’s just Peter [Georgiades]’s genius as a stylist to make it look the way that it did.”
The other reason is, this is not a show. This is their life. “Mx Blouse is who I am,” they say. “Even though when we look at the video, I’m styled to the T, generally that’s more or less how I dress. I’m always looking androgynous. So, it might be an exaggerated version of me, but it’s still me.
‘Is’phukuphuku’ isn’t Mx Blouse’s first musical project (he dropped an EP last year called, Loosely Based on True Stories) but it’s important that it’s his first visual project. As a non-binary queer body, he has become sensitive to the plight of all queer bodies. “Queer people and women are not safe in public spaces. But we still want to dance. We want to go out, you know. And so, we can dance and still talk about the things we care about.” The synchronised choreography scene in the red club setting depicts this best.
The ‘Is’phukuphuku’ video has already received a ton of press and lot of people will say what a great job it’s doing for queer bodies. Mx Blouse knows we’ve got a long way to go and they don’t want this to be about activism. They just want to tell their story.
“I try to be very careful to not be a mouthpiece for queer issues because I recognise my privilege, basically,” they say. “But it doesn’t mean I should keep quiet as well because it’s also my experience. So, I can only speak from my experience and say we might see change in these privileged spaces that we live in but is the change really happening? I can’t speak to that. I don’t know if I’m the right person to speak about that.”
So, if you watch the video and wonder if you can rock your ALC or Rich Mnisi (who they shout out in the song) in a salon, shopping mall or parking lot, remember that your visibility matters but we still have a way to go in the work of fostering ubiquitous safe spaces.