Kiki is a subculture of voguing. Once a social gathering for young men of color in New York at health outreach programs where they received HIV prevention counseling, it is now a formal creative expression with a ballroom scene.
In Kenya, Kiki is an underground culture reimagined and practiced by the Ishtar Dolls, a community of gender non-conforming performers who have embraced and Kenyanized this form of expression, as part of their engagement with global black cultural resistance.
Kiki is also the name of the award-winning film, which None on Record screened to the LGBT community and allies in Nairobi and Kisumu in 2017 and 2018.
None on Record also brought the Ishtar Dolls and Twiggy Pucci Garçon – the internationally renowned gatekeeper of ballroom culture, a consultant on the TV show Pose, and the co-writer of the film Kiki – together for a day of learning, sharing, and growth. We spent time investigating gender identity and expression and talking frankly about living bravely and boldly in spite of societal pressures in Kenya and abroad.
The Dolls were then treated to a makeup tutorial by one of Kenya’s best makeup artists, Sinitta Akello. Afterward, Sunny Dolat of The Nest Collective did a photo shoot with the Ishtar Dolls to close the day.
This project is part of None on Record’s ongoing exploration of how film, fashion, and photography can shift the narrative around queerness. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @noneonrecord.