What can I say about Mzz Kimberley! She is a star in her own right and has always aimed to spread the message, ‘love yourself for who you are!’. From creating ionic photoshoots, joining the cast of new American sitcom, The Finellis to performing at Brighton pride and The Glory this year, Mzz Kimberley is unstoppable.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Mzz Kimberley’s event, ‘LIFE’ at City Hall. The event was created to signify and celebrate the beauty and power of Trans models and performers as they graced the catwalk for a fabulous fashion show. ‘Stomping out transphobia one strut at a time!’, Mzz Kimberley’s night was also held in aid of highlighting the work CliniQ does and to help assist them in building a platform to gain more support for their services. CliniQ, who was founded by Michelle, is a holistic sexual health and well-being service for all Trans people, partners and friends. They are ‘a trans-led team, who offer a safe, confidential space for those who may not feel comfortable accessing mainstream services’. ‘LIFE’ also celebrated Mzz Kimberley’s and Kayza Rose’s (Operations Director) partnership as they collaborated on this innovative project . This alliance highlighted that Cis and Trans black women can unite to really make something beautiful.
The night was full of energy and truly amplified the talents and gave voice to the often misrepresented Trans community. The night opened up with Tanaka Fuego’s beautiful, heart moving poetry piece entitled, ‘Therapy’ (which is one of my favourite pieces!). During this performance, Tanaka passionately expresses the importance of going to his Barbershop and how it is his personal form of therapy as he navigates the harsh realities of the world around him. Tanaka, to me is the poetic spokesman for the Trans community who can truly capture and educate an audience on the struggles one faces as a Trans person. His second piece, ‘Body conversation’ was littered with poetic devices and word play as he interweaved the struggles of being in a body he doesn’t really feel himself in with his difficult familial relationships.
Frankly Desire then took to the stage, dripping in flamboyant colours. Dressed in a tutu and strutting around in 6 inch red heels, Frankly Desire shared a contemporary piece highlighting the struggle and need to break free of social moulds and constraints. The piece reminded the audience, ‘coming out’ is still not fully accepted and many people have been the victim of suicide due to homophobic taunts, abuse and harassment. The piece consisted of various different commentaries of news reports and stories of those who have also been victim of homophobic as well as transphobic crime. It was a moving and dramatic piece which truly highlighted the ongoing issues in today’s society. As Frankly Desire stripped bare, I began to really resonate with the piece as we as LGBTQ+ people have had to hide or downplay our sexuality or who we are in order to, ‘survive’ in various different environments sometime in our lives. However, the piece ended with a bold statement as Frankly donned the Trans flag, ‘be yourself, boldly and proudly!’
As I explored the event I found myself on the middle floor. The room was full of people networking, vibrant conversation and obviously champagne! The view was spectacular as I looked over the river Thames and watched the sun set. I found myself talking to people from all walks of life and mentally taking fashion tips for my upcoming events lol. The night got even better when I reached the top floor for the opening of the catwalk.
Photos were shot by Orlando Myxx
First to the stage was performer, Kennedy Coombs. His poetry took us on a journey of his transition and the struggles he has faced along the way from homeless, taking drugs to self-harming and finally evolution. His story captured the hearts of the audience but also set the bar for what was to come. Next was Jordan Revell, who graced our ears with a smooth ballad (May I add Jordan’s legs are amazing!).
Then it was time for the first section of the fashion show. It was amazing and inspirational to see so many different faces of the Trans community bravely and confidently strutting down the catwalk. Chaune King, then took to the stage with his own song entitled, ‘Champion’ dressed in a smart black suit and loafers. He definitely made a statement, musically and fashion wise! The second part of the catwalk highlighted the different faces of the Trans community in the workplace. To me this really emphasised the point that Trans people are everyday normal people and have a right to have a place in society just like anyone else! After this segment, Andrea Di Giovanni hit the stage singing and vouging to upbeat sounds to really get the crowd moving.
For the finale, the models who took to the catwalk embodied the definition of soul, sensuality and sexiness while they walked to the sultry sounds of Madonna, Sade and Janet Jackson. The event ended with a thank you to the supporters and contributors as well as the sponsors/partners of the event such as Allies Corner. As part of Mzz Kimberley’s, ‘LIFE’, Allies Corner is a space for Allies and trans people to come together to speak about allyship on the terms of trans people. They will be hosting their first event on October 18th at Rich Mix at it will be hosted by Mzz Kimberley. The event will consist of screenings from trans directors and a panel discussion chaired by Kayza Rose. The panel will delve into what allyship looks like to trans people and how we as Cis people can be better Allies. There will also be some time for mingling and information sharing with CliniQ after the event.
For me personally, Mzz Kimberley’s ‘LIFE’ event was heart-warming, fierce but also humbling. Above all, the event was pivotal in highlighting the presence and untangling the misrepresentation of the trans community. The organisers and the audience also took a moment of silence for the individuals lost to suicide and transphobic crime which created a powerful moment of connection and oneness throughout the room.
Final note: The, ‘LIFE’ team managed to create a memorable event that truly showcased the talent, strength, courage and continuous resilience of the Trans community. This is the time to be accepting, understanding and fearless!