As a young and wide-eyed 18-year-old, I remember getting into my most iconic black outfits, and dancing the night away at the Genesis all black events hosted by Until Until Events.
Launched in 2013, the company’s vision was to bring new and vibrant events to the social scene. Responsible for the bashes such as Sunday Roast and Pyjama Party, most of its events were the place to be for young people on the pulse of pop culture, and street trends.
As a young and queer person, who has been in heterosexual and queer spaces, Genesis provided a somewhat uncomfortable space for me.
This was mainly because there was no precedence set on protecting and providing safer spaces for those who are a part of alternative and LGBTIQ+ communities.
However, it seems that Until Until has done it again, this time, bringing Genesis All Black back, as a collaboration between queer events company behind the biggest queer bash of the year, Vogue Nights Jozi, and Kop JHB, an events company that brings alternative icons together.
As the excitement builds up, I got in contact with Vogue Nights founder Ntsikelelo “Lelo” Meslani, to find out what the collaboration meant for the all-black event, and for the queer people who will finally have a seat at the Genesis table.
An excited Meslani said:
“I came around to creating Vogue Nights Jozi through Death Drop Island, circa 2018 or 2019, with Fela Gucci and Tiger Maramela, who also owned separate entities as well.
“This kind of collaboration not only grows the community, but it strengthens the nightlife scene by ensuring that we’re all working as one. Genesis All Black is no exception. I had been building a really great friendship and relationship with both event directors of Until Until and Kop JHB, and it only made sense that we use our abilities to do a collaborative event that joins the foundations of our events, through music, fashion, art and dance.”
All three entities have been at the pinnacle of their respective areas of expertise in the nightlife scene, brilliantly serving their communities, and giving the people what they want and need.
For Meslani, this collaboration is symbolic of exactly that. “This will be taking three audiences and putting them into one space where we can celebrate culture in all shapes and forms. There will be live art installations, and performances from some of the best artists and DJs. The theme is obviously strictly all-black attire. This will be the biggest event yet for Vogue Nights Jozi.”
Vogue Nights has become a staple in South African ballroom culture, where queer folk walk different categories, all in the hopes to be crowned the winner of categories such as face, femme queen vogue and butch queen vogue, among others.
Meslani said he was excited to bring the ballroom culture to straight people but also shared how the safety of queer folk would be prioritised to ensure everyone had a good time.
“Safety is what we’re working on, all the time. We’ve got security [personnel] who our audience is familiar with from every ball and staff on the ground who can patrol and make sure everyone is kept safe.”
Meslani, along with the other organisers, hopes that the audience will take this collaboration as an opportunity to take up space.
He said: “We are here, and we are queer, and more than anything we want to cement ourselves in all spaces. Queer scenes tend to be separate from a lot of the mainstream spaces, particularly those that are dominated by heterosexuals, for good reasons ... this is an opportunity to make a statement and instil the visions we have built for many years around safety in the nightlife – respect while having fun and making inclusion no matter who you are – a priority.”