Mx Blouse’s “Is’phukuphuku” imagines a world where “other kids live their lives how they wanna: bathandi bezinto, asenzen’ umathanda. Akekh’ ozos’tshela! Hakuna Matata!”
Ever since I moved back to Johannesburg about two years or so ago, I’ve been privileged to have a front row seat in the witnessing of safe spaces for othered bodies becoming a thing. But we can never become complacent and Mx Blouse knows a bit about that.
The non-binary kwaito-rap artist, makes their (being gender non-conforming, the artist prefers neutral pronouns) music video debut with the song, “Is’phukuphuku.”
I hit play on the video before reading Mx Blouse’s statement on it and I’m immediately taken to Blood Orange’s “Augustine” video. Let me clear: this is not about any copying anything. This has everything to do with harnessing the power to be, literally just be, and taking everyone along with you. That’s what I felt when I first saw “Augustine” and it’s certainly what I feel when watching “Is’phukuphuku.”
The song itself is a bouncy kwaito-cum-witch-hop-tinged-gqom track with assistance from Thor Rixon, Jakinda of the Stiff Pap duo and Albany Lore. “The track is a reflection on free expression and the probably idealistic notion of safe spaces in social settings,” Mx Blouse says as they illustrates via an all too common harassment case in verse 2.
He offers her drinks; she doesn’t want it
She thanks him and leaves
Now he’s here talking shit
He calls a bitch just ‘cause he couldn’t stick it
Thinks she’s out here for a blesser or something
She couldn’t be bothered; she’s got her own cheese
Got her own wheels and she only smokes weed
Her IQ is mental; he couldn’t compete
So, what does one do when considering how to visualise something like this? The Jarred Figgins-directed video is styled to the gods and back thanks to Peter Georgiades. South African fashion by ALC Man, Nicholas Coutts, Nicola W35T, and Art Club & Friends; jewellery by Stefany Roup and Lorne; and head gear by Crystal Birch all make an appearance, transforming this video into a utopia for bodies of all types.
The crazy thing is that it’s not a farfetched ideal at all. Joburg parties like Pussy Party, Cunty Power and even KOP’s regular DJ series are beginning to make a video like “Is’phukuphuku” real life. But the reason why a video like this is important is because, as Mx Blouse knows, we’ve still got a way to go.
Their current MO? Should come as absolutely no surprise. “Fuck the negativity!” they put it simply. “Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. If you love having fun, fuck whoever says what!”
And if you love good music, watch the “Is’phukuphuku” video below.