Over two decades on from the release of seminal ballroom-culture documentary Paris is Burning comes KIKI, a new, coming-of-age film that follows a group of LGBTQ youths of color within New York's kiki scene. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö (who also wrote KIKI alongside ballroom gatekeeper and activist Twiggy Pucci Garçon), the movie premiered last year at Sundance and will officially open in U.S. theaters starting February 24.
The score for KIKI was composed by Qween Beat, the collective headed by ballroom producer MikeQ, a past THUMP cover star who has been vocal about the scene's appropriation by non-ballroom artists and corporations. Today, THUMP is premiering the music video for KIKI's eponymous theme, crafted by Qween Beat member Divoli S'vere. Among an ebullient, vogue-heavy montage of flying limbs, bold looks, and other footage from the film, S'vere speaks over a metallic beat that's as sharp-edged as it is playful: "Let's turn it out at the function / We'll cause a lot of destruction / We'll get our tens and at the end we just pretend that we're not friends."
S'vere tells THUMP over email, "I was inspired by the colors within the Kiki Ballroom scene, the colors being the personalities and the different people. The LGBTQ community as a whole is the most entertaining and creative community full of gender-bending sounds, visual arts and concepts. I took that expression and combined it with my raw 'Severe' sound to come up with the theme that would embody what the Kiki film and what having an actual Kiki is all about."
Adds Jordenö, who also directed the music video, "The film KIKI is about protest and pleasure. In Divoli's alluring voice there is a powerful and radical expression of femininity, of cuntness, but also rage; against homophobia, against white supremacy; against the toxic masculinity of the Trump administration. As a director I was thrilled to work with the artists in Qween Beat. Their music is a crucial part of the film KIKI."
Watch "Kiki" below.