The acclaimed, boundary-effacing musician, activist and performance artist Mykki Blanco has been giving us so much this year. Between touring and slaying the stage around the world, giving lectures and talks from North Carolina to Norway, Mykki found some time to create a beautiful and riveting film series called ‘Out of This World’ focusing on the experience of queer people and artists around the world. Created in partnership with i-D and directed by L.A. filmmaker Matt Lambert, the first film is a 40-minute window on and immersion into Johannesburg's queer artist community. Do yourself a solid and take some time to watch it today.
In this first film, we meet several representatives of the ‘Born Free’ generation in Johannesburg (those born after apartheid was abolished in 1994) finding their way and expressing their creativity in modern South African society while dealing with issues such as race, homophobia and transphobia and wealth inequality.
Blanco talks to a young couple and their experience coming out and being in a relationship in a less-than-accepting society. We see activists going on a “femme walk” as a precursor to a Pride parade, and get to know more about the incredible performance art duo FAKA, who are trying to create a new representation of queer identity and femme expression within the gay community through their infectious (and flawlessly styled) music videos. Mykki meets young artist Lady Skollie, who talks about misogyny, female erasure and the oppressive treatment of women and we get introduced to model and self-described ‘transgender princess of darkness’ Luke van der Burg. We go to a club night where people get to cut loose in a transformative way and much more. Both the strength and vulnerability shown by the amazing people profiled is inspiring.
There’s a particular energy and sincerity that comes from watching people who understand each other on a deeper level connect despite different cultural backgrounds, so this was just a highly refreshing watch. 'Out of This World' feels like the perfect and needed counterbalance to the ‘Gaycation’ series - which is also great - on i-D’s sister network VICELAND, where hosts Ellen Page and Ian Daniel visit LGBTQ cultures around the world. We all needed Mykki to get his (Blanco has recently stated he prefers to use male pronouns again) own show yesterday, so this has panned out nicely. The warmth and genuineness he conveys is just heartening.
Both i-D and Mykki Blanco have described “Out of This World” as a series so here’s hoping there’s more to follow very soon. If you want to find out more about this first instalment, you can read the i-D interview with Mykki Blanco on the topic here.