KIKI x NICOPANDA
When Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning premiered in 1990, her documentary exposed the world to NYC’s underground ball culture, which developed around the city’s queer youth of color. The doc that made Venus Xtravaganza a LGBTQ icon also brought attention to largely unspoken issues of homophobia, gender representation, AIDS and sex work, highlighting how ballroom helped marginalized New Yorkers have a true purpose in their “society within society.”
26 years later, a new doc has emerged about the scene, called KIKI, focusing on today’s ongoing problems, from racial violence to income inequality, all bound by the community’s passion for social activism and creative freedom. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö and co-written by ballroom gatekeeper Twiggy Pucci Garçon, KIKI provides a powerful scope of modern-day balls, where voguing, death drops and DIY costumes are used as tools for survival against our world’s oppressive social structures.
In celebration of the emphatic doc, we invited three cast members—Divo Pink Lady, Chi Chi Mizrahi and Christopher Waldorf—to dance around NYC wearing our pre-fall ’16 collection. Watch all six clips, below, featuring music by Poolside Panda contributor GRRL.
Divo Pink Lady
(Divo wears the Nicopanda Fur Print Hoodie)
"The ballroom scene is very diverse. We grow to appreciate each other's backgrounds in the name of talent. Your skin doesn't [change] who you are as an individual. The ballroom scene, alone, can open the outside world's eyes [and] show it's okay to be different—to love and appreciate one another."
Chi Chi Mizrahi
"When we remove influential co-factors, [like] religion, upbringing, class, gender, sexual orientation [and] political parties, we strip it down to the barest similarity, which is humility. [Through] love, we can learn to live harmoniously. When we allow individuality, we allow freedom to dictate happiness, then love will manifest. From that will come the care and concern about other lives, despite zip codes, bank accounts, skin colors, schools—just being able to love someone because they breathe and have the right to be loved. Because I live in my truth, I've set myself free."
"Ballroom is a place of healing and acceptance. Anyone can come to a ball to feel free and be themselves. I believe this structure is something that should be implemented in everyday life. If it were that way, then I think we wouldn't have as [many] issues with judging people on their race or sexual orientation."