While the vast commercial world drowns in an ocean of mundane offerings and products, those who seek inspiration are looking deeper into the enclave of designers and artists who are rebelling against the mass commonality.
Trends are now very much controlled by large companies, launching and marketing only what they deemed to be possible financial successes.
This dictatorship is creating a vortex that sucks the creative vitality out of societies and cultures. We are imprisoned by their constant manipulation of our psyche as to how we should live our lives.
I feel like I'm drowning, gasping desperately for that breath of creative freedom, inspiration and excitement.
It takes much precious time and infallible tenacity to discover anything that is uncommon these days. And when you find them, I urge you to make them as available as possible, to share and celebrate them with the rest of the world.
Creativity needs fuel.
The source that oils the machinations of most creative minds is the creative works of others. Creativity needs to be passed on from one creative to another, growing and changing with possibilities, viewed from various perspectives to result into something new, the ongoing evolution of genius.
I source most of that creativity from a vast diversity of art, culture, fashion and music.
In this article, I want to share with you, my musical muses. These musical gems are part of the treasures that makes up the richness of the underground and subculture collectives. I applaud them for their creative genius, strength in their pursuit of diversity and their proud sense of self.
There has been an earth shattering movement in the underground "House" music scene and Ballroom scene all around the globe. I would call it at least a 7 on the Richter scale, on the verge of bursting out of the underground enclaves. I hear you say, "House" has been done before. Yes, but the new generation has turned it around, making the sound more multi dimensional.
The new multi dimensional drama in today's underground "House" music is the result of combining other influences such as electro or techno (just to name some) into the core essence of a new "House" that is a ballroom dance-floor ready vogueing extravaganza!
There's also a wider range of "drama" or subjects covered by the lyrical messages communicated through the new tracks.
As societies become more opened to taboo subjects, writers are now able to make such subjects heard along with their dance beats.
So, we are not limited to dancing to the theme of "love" and the acts surrounding the issues of "love". I find today's rhythmic messages covering a vast area of cultural, societal, and political issues. They are delivered with the aplomb of true artists whose life views and experiences are often within the core of their message.
There has also been a proliferation of drag culture in this musical enclave.
Now, when I say "drag", I am not referring to a man who just wears women's clothing but someone who has stripped themselves of their own identity and created an alter ego of the fiercest and most theatrical part of themselves.
Drags aesthetics are no longer bound to "serving fish", that is to look like a real woman of normal or substandard appeal.
Above | Left: Rozay Labeija. Right: Kiddy Smile
Above | Left: Hercules and Love affair. Right: Mister Wallace
They are now as creatively inspiring as they are a challenge to the capabilities of ones imagination.
They are a huge part of the underground "House" music movement and are members of "House System" or Ballroom community. For over 50 years these alternative families, primarily consisting of Black and Latino queer youth, and are led by “mothers” and “fathers,” providing guidance and support for their house “children.”
Above | Hard Ton
So to you, out there whom I'm talking about: I thank you and salute your talents and your guts!
We love you and your work whether being apart of mainstream house or next gen. Kiki house.Here is a link to a great article by Rachel Hahn for Vogue "This New Brooklyn Dance Party Celebrates the Black and Queer Roots of House Music"
Some clips below of tracks we are loving from some of the key players in House at the moment. Some track are not so new, but still are brilliant and showcase some brilliant creativity.
Kiddy Smile - "Let a bitch know"
Hard Ton - "Food of Love"
Alien Alien - "Sambaca"
Mister Wallace - "It Girl"
Pillar Point - "Dove"
O.K., so Pillar point are in no way "Drag" and are actually Synth Pop rather than House. However this clip shot in Bogota, Columbia and featuring Kia Labeija is amazing and she is so captivating. Kia, while not a drag act, is queer woman who is a crusader for HIV awareness and born with HIV herself, a visual artist and dancer. Love this clip...and track.
Shea Coulee - "Cocky"
Shea was a contestant of RuPaul Drag Race season 9. A platform that has really allowed many performers to showcase their "Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent" to millions around the world.
Be sure to view "Paris is Burning" which chronicles the ball culture in New York and filmed in the mid-late 80's. These influences are still present in todays ball communities...it's also a great nostalgic look back at such a hedonistic time.