By Wanique Block
Lelo Meslani popularly known as Lelowhatsgood is the perfect embodiment of what a multihyphenate is.
As a writer, content creator, DJ and founder of Vogue Nights Jozi, Lelo actively seeks to disrupt and challenge preconceived notions, misconceptions and societal stereotypes surrounding South Africa’s queer community.
It is for this reason that we at Kaya 959 are shining a light on cultural innovator and pioneer Lelowhatsgood.
Deeply connected to his queer South African community, Lelo is a multi-disciplinary creative who has specifically carved out a space for the representation and visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In addition to this, Lelo uses his craft to celebrate queer culture by cultivating safe spaces for women and the queer community.
In doing so, Lelo has pioneered the creation of South Africa’s first ballroom/ vogue event, Vogue Nights Jozi.
Embedded in ballroom culture, Vogue Nights Jozi is an inclusive, intersectional event and cultural movement that is centered around music, dance and the arts.
“Vogue Nights borrows from the ballroom culture, that was happening globally around the world. Ballroom fosters community, love and respect but in a very interesting way, by competing with different houses and categories”, Lelo tells Kaya 959.
Vogue Nights effortlessly depicts the stories and experiences of South Africa’s queer youth, by providing safe spaces that are empowering, encouraging, inspiring and uplifting.
In conversation with Kaya 959, Lelowhatsgood recognizes and highlights the importance of queer visibility and representations.
“I realized there weren’t enough spaces for queer people in so many ways. When I stated DJ’ing, it was evident how queer people were mistreated in certain spaces, whether in bathroom stalls, or not getting booked because they were too femme or too queer. In those moments I realized how great it would be to create something Four Us, By Us.”
Although we’re living in an era where marginalised groups like the LGBTQIA+ community are receiving the recognition and attention that they deserve, Lelo’s drive doesn’t stop there.
Lelo notes that his main objective remains to continuously and consistently create safe environments for people to freely express themselves.
Beyond exploring on South Africa’s night life scene, particularly within the queer community, Lelo serves to be an inspiration to many young queer creatives.
Giving advice to young creatives Lelo reiterates the importance of working hard.
“As tough as it may seem, you just got to keep working hard. I know it sounds cliché, but sometimes hard work meets opportunity”, Lelo shares.
Lelo is a cultural innovator, icon and legend in the making. He is the moment!