Breaking the binary: A Red Dress

I have been fascinated with Glow since I followed her on Twitter last year, mostly for her outspoken opinion on current affairs and fashion but until I discovered their Instagram account(by accident when a friend and I were talking about our favourite SA Instagrammers, I was inspired. Vusi’s aesthetic exudes originality and confidence that mixes elements of high-fashion and South African realness. Whether it’s making dancing videos to trap music or flexing on us with her thigh-game, (@glowmamii), is not here to conform to your ideas of normality and beauty.

I caught up with Vusi to hear their opinion about this shoot, life and power.

1. What word comes to mind when you think of the colour “red”?

Ablaze. Strong. Alive. Courageous. These are some of the words that pop strongly in my mind, its the colour of blood, of life.

2. Did you use this word/idea in any way when conceptualizing the shoot? What was the idea behind your images?

It is actually such a coincidence that, around the time you got in contact about this series, i had just received the pieces used in my shoot from my boss as a gift because he felt i could do something with those clothes, as he had no plans for them any longer. So i had been meaning to shoot them. It just so happened that they were red, and your proposed them was red. So mysterious how we experience collective consciousness, I truly believe in these little moments when it just connects even though you don’t completely understand it. So to answer, the was no idea but to shoot.

3. Since it’s the month of love, how do you use your creativity to spread love? How important is it to love what you do?

I use creativity to express myself as love. Love as a form of self-care, self awareness and constant self improvement. I use it to try and de-stigmatize certain identities, bring back the love to the perspectives people hold about trans-identities. We’re always stripped off so much of the beautiful life force that lives within us, we’re fetishized and objectified as vehicles for the sexual gratification of men, not as real beings born out of love to effect and impact a change in the lives of those we meet and the universe at large.

 

Ablaze, strong, alive

 

4. What do you wish you loved about yourself back then that you do now?

I wish i loved my power back then, i wish i was that much in contact with it and owned it as better as i do now. I feared it, i feared my own godliness, my own power to intentionally live the life i want.

5. What role does your identity as a queer PoC play in what you do? In your creative process?

It informs the politics of my work, i don’t think there is a separation. I don’t think queer people are afforded the luxury to create without centralizing their identity. Our identities are always so hypervisible, and i quote Trudy here (of Gradient Lair) that ” Hypervisibility = form of invisibility. Seen, but not as a person. Noticed, but not as you actually *are.* Mistakes amplified. Labor erased.”

6. In what ways do you use social media to express yourself?

To share my joy usually, the things that light up my world. Trees for instance, I love palm trees, I share that a lot. I also vent on my channels, most usually on my Tumblr about the agonies of being.

7. In the age of influence and fast, consumption and culture, how do you stay true to you?

I stay true to the things I like, what is pulling me strongly? i gravitated towards that. Staying true means being able to identify what you’re vibing.

8. What’s on your moodboard (who inspires you,things you want, love)

Currently Sampha, i am loving process, inspired by his work, always have. Also, Laverne Cox. She is incredible, a force! I love her. Ancient texts are on my moodboard. Oprah Winfrey. Opulence, Love. Prayer. Belief.

 

Palesa

Creative Visual Expressionist.