Image: Facebook – Mr Allofit and Gyre perform live at the ‘5 to Mainstream’ listening session at Glory in Melville, Johannesburg on 26 January 2018
No more five to mainstream. Mr Allofit has already made it – for himself and all queer bodies – and his Afternoon Express performance is evidence of this
The other day I made a playlist. I was struck by the amount of queer music coming out of South Africa, which I have spent the last five or so years trying to celebrate on this very platform. One of the strongest influences for the playlist was an artist by the name of Mr Allofit and he recently made his maiden appearance on the SABC 3 daytime talkshow, Afternoon Express.
See Mr Allofit’s ‘Afternoon Express’ interview below
Mr Allofit was on the show in support of his newest mixtape, 5 to Mainstream, a project which he describes as a “prophetic word that I have fully declared over my life, fully declared over everything that I do, that I am almost there and there is nobody that can stop me.”
Think about that for a moment: a black, queer musician was on daytime television, in South Africa, with a weave boasting inches for the gods and a costume by Artclub and Friends. In a sentence: that’s five to unheard of. You may argue that the queer dance troupe, Vintage Cru or a short-lived YouTube series known as The Gabriels helped lay the groundwork for an appearance such as this to be possible — and you would be right. Only you’d be missing some key facts. For one, Mr Allofit was a founding member of Vintage and he, along with YouTuber, Suburban Zulu were the stars and creators of The Gabriels.
When speaking of his Vintage Cru days, he remembers fondly how he would often feel that, “We’re facing the world and we need hold each other’s hands.” If his rise up to this solo national TV opportunity is to be described as anything, it is the very beginnings of the realisation of the prophetic word over his life.
“This isn’t a gimmick,” he says referring to himself, and it takes one listen of 5 to Mainstream to affirm that. This isn’t “gay music” (whatever that means) or some watered down version of hip hop (“Ndijonge”), Afrobeat (“Eat Da Beat,” “Killin’ Em”) or trap (“Best Dressed,” “The Top”). Mr Allofit is a focused professional who puts his money where his mouth is. He manages himself, styles himself, writes his own songs, choreographs his own performances: he is the consummate artist.
It’s notable that Jeannie D and Bonnie Henna were obviously unsure of how to handle an artist like Mr Allofit. “Extra” was used several times to describe his aesthetic and performance style, the words “gay” and “queer” were carefully tip toed around and stereotypically gay hand gestures were afforded a dime a dozen. Perhaps it’s not their fault: what do you do when confronted with an overwhelming energy like that of Mr Allofit for the first time other than overcompensate to be (overly) sure that you’re not offending anyone or stepping on toes. But here’s what matters.
Mr Allofit looked amazing. He said the right things. He performed the right song and performed it the way only he knows how. So in the age of Inxeba and all its surrounding protests, when we look back on how we made queerness mainstream, we would be remiss not to mention the name Mr Allofit.
See Mr Allofit’s ‘Afternoon Express’ performance below