Tia & Nadine, BBZ
Can you tell us about BBZ and why you started it?
Tia: BBZ is an exhibition and club night, which is focused on eradicating misogyny and is centred on queer women and gender-neutral women of colour. I think the main reason why we started it was because we didn’t feel like there was a space for us to all gather and have genuine good vibes.
Obviously the community aspect is really key to the club night. Is it a really powerful support network that you’ve built up?
Tia: Yeah. I’m dumbfounded sometimes just at the amount of incredible women that we’ve met. I feel like generally speaking my friendship circle had a bit of a crap year and then this year it has been so beautiful and powerful because I’ve met so many people who I’ve connected with that hasn’t been just a superficial connection; I know that it’s as a result of doing BBZ. It’s sick!
Speaking of club nights what do you think of the club scene in London at the moment?
Nadine: When we wanted to start BBZ the London scene was trash! Absolute trash–metaphorically and physically but in recent months it feels like things are changing. I have a bunch of friends who run a night called Touch and Base and you’re not allowed your phone, well you are but no phones on the dance floor; it’s called a dance for a reason you’re meant to dance. It always turns into a sweat-fest and you dance from as soon as you get there until you leave! Plus it’s in a tiny Nigerian restaurant in Brixton. There are a lot of parties now where they aim to reclaim certain spaces against gentrification e.g. Pussy Palace, Resis Dance, Batty Mama…with all these parties coming up you’re like thank God.
This interview is part of the BEAUTIFUL x POWERFUL collaboration with Nike.
See more from the collaboration >
How important is music to bringing people together? It can be a powerful bonding catalyst.
Tia: I think music is incredibly important as it really bridges cultural gaps. So for example if we’ve got a DJ who’s heritage is from India then they will normally play influences from their culture and other people will be like “I’ve never heard bashment and bhangra mixed together.” I think in that sense it’s really educational and important and powerful and so imaginative because of the clash of cultures.
What does power mean to you?
Tia: I find it really powerful when you see people evolving and you know you’ve been part of that evolution and you see yourself evolving too. I think the more you get to know yourself the more powerful you become.
Nadine: I guess I feel the most powerful when people see me the way I see myself. When I’m able to be all of myself in an environment because I feel like a lot of us, particularly in the recreational or media industry have constant neurosis that we’re not working hard enough or making the right decisions. When I’m having a good day and I can see all of my self worth and I can make someone else see that then that’s when I feel most powerful. Or when I get a fresh trim and I’ve just been paid I’m feeling good and feeling righteous!
How do you feel about how people are made to feel by social media and societal pressures?
Tia: As amazing as social media is I think it’s also a pile of shit. I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I just feel like there’s far too much pressure on our generation and especially younger generations to adhere to certain boxes—I hate boxes they’re the worst—so I’ve got a love hate relationship with social media.
Nadine: I think the pressures are very real and present and they have effects on everybody whether they like to admit it or not. I think it’s like a vortex and you can really get locked in t in and it breads a certain kind of anxiety. You’ve just got to take breaks and self-care is so imperative. I think there needs to be more conversations about the vortex that is social media and its affect on the mental health problems of our generation.
Tia: Our friend has just started a new platform called Recovr, which is amazing and it’s about pairing people with black therapists so that you feel able to talk. But again getting people to that stage is also difficult. To be honest for the younger generation things like Kid Cudi coming out and saying that he’s got depression I think for people my sisters age of 16 that will definitely spark something for them so they know it’s chill to talk about things like that. I think conversation is the most powerful thing otherwise how else do you get through to people.
Where would you like to take BBZ in the future?
Nadine: A space would be ideal. Often we find we have to make people feel okay that we do this specifically for our demographic so I’d like a space where we could run talks and screenings that are all centred around WOC, people of colour and queer people of colour; with those being the thread throughout everything.
Tia: We’d really like to make a proper platform where artists can sell their work and can be making profit from it. We want people to be making money. That’s one thing. It would be amazing if we had a space, a BBZ space, where we could run workshops and invite people to throw their own club nights or even a space where young creatives can work and create art and then show this at our event! That’s what I would like to see. I’d like everybody to be benefiting from it financially and on a growth level.
Photography: Lottie Bea Spencer
Set Design: Amy Stickland
Make-up and hair: Ezana Ove
Styling: Holly Macdonald
Editorial Assistant: Rhea Dillon