MORE THAN FASHION
OUR STORIES, ON OUR TERMS
By Tanya Compas, 19 June 2021
There's also a COLLUSION micro-drop in the colours of the inclusive Pride flag coming v soon – so stay tuned.
The idea behind the COLLUSION campaign was inspired by Cash (below), who I’ve been supporting for the past year or so as a mentor. On Instagram, Cash frequently shares stories of them dancing, free flow, and each and every time I’m left in awe. I can always tell how Cash is feeling by their dancing. In Cash’s words, ‘Dance is a form of communicating what you don’t yet have the language to express’, and this couldn’t be more true. I saw a lot of my younger self in Cash and it made me think, would I have found myself sooner if I saw people like Cash in campaigns? And the answer is: yes.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’ve had enough of seeing Pride campaigns centred around educating cis-heterosexual people around the very basics of the LGBTQ+ community. They feature us, our voices and our faces, but the campaigns are not made to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and are rarely made by us. Therefore, I’ve become hyper-cautious of how brands try to use myself and Exist Loudly over Pride season. I refuse to allow us to become a badge for them to wear and throw away once it’s over. Most importantly, I refuse to work with brands who feel as though their donation warrants them access to the painful stories of the youths.
But our partnership with COLLUSION felt right. They sat back, listened and gave us the resources necessary to do what we do best. We ended up with not only the beautiful visuals and content from the shoot itself, but a commitment from ASOS and COLLUSION to support Exist Loudly and our community beyond this campaign. They've committed to funding our first long-term programme, which will launch later in the year. It will support Black LGBTQ+ youths who are NEET (not in employment, education and training), helping them to explore different creative mediums, build employability skills and create a network of friends and mentors.
Our campaign with COLLUSION is a true reflection of Exist Loudly: a celebration of Black LGBTQ+ youth, a celebration of young people, outside of identity labels; where everyone just so happens to be Black and LGBTQ+. A campaign where, not only those in front of the camera were Black and LGBTQ+, but those behind the camera as well; where Black LGBTQ+ youth and creatives were paid and valued without having to ask. A campaign that isn’t dependent upon LGBTQ+ people sharing stories of trauma, but that's centred around the stories that matter to our youth, stories that centre around joy. Our stories, on our terms.
@bluespit @ehenebeng.artistry @yanaboth_beauty @kellonkutz @elu.sade @edenbmorse @deji.tiwo @deshy202 @seankdm @donalsweeney
EXIST LOUDLY CREW:
@_editmyfengshui_ @tanaka.fuego @omgitzshayy @9ahyo @7oses @ana1r1n @amiravelli