If arts festivals are not your thing you may not have heard of them, but Hot Brown Honey is about to become your new favourite live act. Speak to anyone who’s seen them, and you’ll realise that this smash-hit, genre-defying, firecracker of a show could possibly be THE ultimate girls’ night out.
Part theatrical extravaganza, part radical consciousness-raising social activism, this show packs plenty of punch in a sexy mash-up of cabaret, musical theatre and piping-hot political hip-hop.
We chatted to Lisa and Busty from Hot Brown Honey about how this show came about:
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‘The show was born of the desire to see more (much, much more) hot black, brown and mixed bodies on stage. We had been making our own music, theatre and visual art for some time and we didn’t fit into the mainstream. The roles for Black and Brown women in general had become two dimensional – tropes and stereotypes – and we were like hell no, it’s time for a shake-up.
‘So Hot Brown Honey began as an outlet. We started making pieces that made us giggle, exploring the taboos of our own traditional cultures as well as the social structures around us. From there it was organic. If we were all in the same place, we would call up talented sisters we knew and put a show together. Then things got interesting.
‘More and more Black, Brown and Mixed sisters from all over the country and the world made themselves known to us, all with astounding skill sets, creating unique, hilarious, outstanding and political responses to the world around them. We actually have a cast of thousands but due to budgetary limitations we have a stellar company of six representing – Lisa Fa’alafi – The Game Changer, Ofa Fotu -The Myth Slayer, Hope One The Beatboxer, Crystal Stacey – The Peace Maker, Juanita Duncan – The Truth Sayer and myself, Busty Beatz – The Queen Bee’
‘Hot Brown Honey has gone on to become a platform, shining a light on untold stories of phenomenal women. A platform for us to be kick ass performers and to talk about the sticky points of our existence such as denial, privilege, access and opportunity and dismantle it all, personally and politically. We are highlighting the lack of diversity on our stages, pages and screens by making a show like this, but we’re also celebrating the fact we are creating this space for ourselves and for people like us – game changers, risk takers, Diaspora, sisters, feminists, queers, punks, poets, provocateurs, thinkers, those of us from the edges, fringes and margins. We ask our audiences to stand with us, we invite them to make change, to question, to see for a moment what the world looks like through our eyes and let’s not forget to celebrate our fabulaaashness.’
The Brisbane based all-female group is made up of powerful and talented First Nations women from Aboriginal Australian, Samoan, Tongan, Indonesian, Maori and South African heritages and are all about empowerment and challenging the stereotypes around women of colour
You can expect to thoroughly enjoy getting ALL your prejudices and racial assumptions challenged in this foot-stomping celebration of our similarities and differences.
‘Some of the stereotypes we challenge that go across racial barriers are The Maid, The Dusky Maiden, The Savage, The Scorned Woman, The Colonised, The Gender Fluid, The Angry Black Woman, The Australian Tourist, The Golliwog, The Battered Woman – it’s all in there and more. We are taking all these ideas and flipping the script, retelling, exposing truths. But even bigger than that, just portraying ourselves as positive, powerful, fierce, strong women of colour are breaking through mainstream stereotypes in one clean swoop.
‘While everything we tackle in our show comes from a place of protest, Hot Brown Honey takes that protest to fever pitch. We party and revel in OUR time on OUR stage. We take our audience on a ride full of fun, joy and ridiculousness as let’s be honest laughter can help bind us. Comedy, satire, cabaret and burlesque are dynamic forms to play within the context of a political piece such as Hot Brown Honey where we use eclectic forms from Hip Hop to Indigenous languages to dance song and circus to create our world. These are some of the best tools to dismantle issues we often want to push under that dusty couch in the corner. So by inviting our audiences in, inviting them to laugh with us, maybe, just maybe we can ask them to rethink their own preconceptions and assumptions.’
A hands down favourite on the Festival circuit, they’ve been tearing up the biggest venues and festivals across the globe, including the Sydney Opera House, Victorian Arts Centre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Auckland Pride Festival and Hull Freedom Festival.
So while it’s a hell of a lot of fun Hot Brown Honey also want to inspire change in those who see them perform.
‘Ok first up for us it’s about what all humans will take away from the show, as true change needs a balanced multifaceted approach.
‘You know how once you see something you can’t un-see it? Hot Brown Honey is all that. This party doesn’t end when the show does! This is about a continuing feeling. And from all our experiences so far peeps are up for this party! They are up for getting sticky, confronted, delighted, messy, joyous and angry with us – all the feels. We know that audiences want to see more of their communities reflected on stage, so we are giving it to them. Our biggest hope is that audiences walk away talking, chatting, laughing, arguing. We want conversations to be generated because it’s these truly open conversations that will take this country forward. We want people to walk away and feel empowered to seek truth and MAKE NOISE!!!
‘ In the Words of Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”’
Hot Brown Honey are unapologetically fierce, and we can’t wait to see them take to our Outdoor Stage in an explosion of colour, culture and controversy.
‘With a cast of phenomenal Black, Brown and Mixed women with global First Nations heritage including Xhosa (South African), Tongan, Gamilaroi (Indigenous Australian) Samoan, Indonesian and Maori, the show represents how we as Women of Colour intersect, smash stereotypes, poke fun at the world around us to rock the motherlovin boat. Hot Brown Honey crosses forms and defies labels by serving up an audacious platter of dance, poetry, song, circus and burlesque. We make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed and shake every part of what your mama gave you. Fiercely feminist and deliciously disobedient, we are the latest models of our ancestry. We are here. Centre stage. Welcome to the Hive – hold onto your seats because Fighting the Power Never Tasted So Sweet! We also have a giant Bee-Hive who speaks.’
Hot Brown Honey will perform at the Outdoor Stage on Fri 6 Dec followed by Hip Hop Junkie Yo! Mafia with a power punch video DJ set that will keep the party going all night long.
“It’s phenomenal – sexy, foot-stomping fun and radical consciousness-raising all at the same time.” ★★★★★ The Scotsman
“Whoever you are and wherever you come from, this will change your life. I have never been surer of anything else ever before.” The Huffington Post
“Gleefully challenges stereotypes of sex and race with a full grin, bared chest and raised middle finger.” ★★★★★ Edinburgh 49
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