Bitch! Why You Mad? Cause My Pussy Pops Severely, And Yours Don’t?
By Jonathan Selu
The FAFSWAG Pre-Ball was definitely fierce. But if you’ve ever been to the FAFSWAG Ball, you knew it was going to be. What caught me off-guard was WHERE the Pre-Ball was. Watching stunning individuals werk that runway and proudly serve realness with every step and shade with every drop is the reason for going to a vogue ball. So I want you to think about what vogue’s all about.
You got an answer?
OK I’m bored, you can stop now…I’m just gonna tell you. The obvious answer is that vogue is a dance style that was made in the ballrooms of Harlem. But voguing is more than just some dance style. In the words of the immaculate Jaycee “It’s all about expressing who you are because that’s what vogue is.”
And that’s it. Vogue is about being you and telling your story and saying what you gotta say. Having the guts to walk the runway is actually a massive thing. A walker is literally serving up a big fat platter of ‘ME’. Now, keep that in mind and keep reading.
I am a proud tama Samoa. My culture means the world to me because it has shaped and formed who I am today, just as culture does for anyone. I am Hamo hard. BUT I’m also a gay man, and with that comes its own culture. In my daily life, I live both these identities. The sad thing is, most people don’t see me as a gay Samoan. They see me as gay and Samoan, as if these identities are exclusive and unrelated. In my life, I’ve had to try and find how I can be a gay Samoan man and it’s still a journey I’m on. So when I walked into FAFSWAG Pre-Ball and realised that the Maota Samoa was literally a traditional style fale Samoa, I got the shock of my life. Immediately I felt like two of my worlds had come crashing together and although I was excited to be at the event, I also felt a little weird being in a place that matai use for fono.
But what are fono for? Well, really, they are a space for talanoa; whether that’s telling stories, presenting opportunities, or discussing issues. Hold up. Isn’t that exactly what our voguers were doing? Were they not telling their stories, highlighting issues that the outside world don’t even know exist, and taking the opportunity to be totally themselves?
Answer: yes. Yes to all of that.
I had a realisation that the Pre-Ball wasn’t just some Poly event for young queer and trans* people. The Pre-Ball was a space for our Poly Rainbows to share their voice with the world, and be heard by a captive audience. Better than that, they were supported, encouraged and celebrated for having the balls to stand up there in front of the world and say “Fuck you, this is who I am. TRY and come for me, world!” So I started thinking Yass! Where else would you hold an event like this? Let’s take back our cultural spaces and tell the world, and our communities, just how much we matter. That we don’t have to be Poly and Rainbow but actually we can be Poly Rainbows, thank you! The voices of our young people need to be heard and we need spaces for those voices to be expressed however they want to express it, and still be heard and validated.
As if this wasn’t enough, I started to think about the po siva in Samoa before European contact. It was a celebration of sexuality and the beauty of the body. It was a space to dance and express yourself. It was what I was watching happen right in front of me as the DJ hit it with “Bitch! Why you mad? Cause my pussy pops severely. And yours don’t?”. And where did these happen? Oh that’s right, in a fale.bI think it’s pretty obvious what I’m saying here…
So, as the night closed, I felt like although I didn’t walk, I actually had the chance to witness greatness. The first time that I’d seen young Rainbow Polys serving up realness back to the communities that mock them and make them feel lesser than human. This is us. This is who we are. And we are entitled to our culture just as much as the straight and cis-gender members of our communities. And that gives me life.
By Jonathan Selu
Light skinned. Bearded. Educated. BOOM! That’s a white man, right there! Maybe an arab. But a Samoan? Nah he’s not Samoan.
I am Samoan. I may be afakasi, but it’s still my dominant culture. I speak our language (not as well as I would like to but I use it as much as I can, wherever I can.) I try to live according to Fa’aSamoa. I give service as much as I can. And I can’t wait until the day that my father gives his permission for me to be marked with a soga’imiti. These are things I hold dear to me. These are things I feel are the most important. But, unlike most young Samoan men, I have to prove that I’m even worthy to think like this. I have to prove my Samoan-ness.
Samoans treat me as if I’m somehow exempt from our rules, our responsibilities. Silently, I’m told that I live a life of privilege and therefore I don’t deserve to live the struggle that my people do. Like I have a choice. Like I’m allowed to back away from the struggle just because I’m not brown-skinned or go to church or some other bullshit that “defines” a Samoan. My parents have worked in factories all their lives and have gone without so that my sisters and I could eat and go to school. I grew up with the same speech from my Dad that every other first-generation Samoan heard about coming here so that I could have a better education, a better life. I have worked hard to honour the sacrifices that my parents made for me. And I cherish every little victory that I have in my life as a testiment to the values that my ‘aiga instiled in me. Why? Because without them, I do not exist. Everything I do, I do for my family. #FaaSamoa #ThatsTheRealStruggle #NooneComesFromNowhere
You would think that this place as a ‘second-rate citizen’ wouldn’t be echoed in palagi spaces. WRONG! So I’m at a bar talking to this palagi guy and having a beer. He’s kinda cute and it’s all good, until I say “I’m Samoan.” #HereComeTheStereotypes “Oh really? I would never have guessed! You don’t look like a Samoan! I have a Samoan friend/colleague/neighbour! Do you know them? Yeah because all Samoans look the same and know each other! But wait, it gets better. “What’s the Samoan way of doing this?” “How do I say this word?” “I don’t get why Samoans have to give so much of their money to church and random relatives!?” “Can you explain this concept?” “You must like Hip Hop.” “So you guys, like, wear skirts aye?” “What’s your life like in your village?” “Can you sing like them? It’s always so divine.” God damn! You thought I was white until that point, now it’s ok to treat me like some kind of wikipedia page about Samoa? I’m trying to have a beer at a pub and maybe go home with a guy, not give a lecture on the intricacies of my culture.
Now, most Samoans have had some experience with being turned into a social experiment by non-Samoans; sometimes it’s ok, sometimes not. Here and now, not the best choice. But why does it almost feel like you’re trying to test me to catch me out as if I’m lying about being Samoan just to get into your pants by playing the exotic ethnicity card? Why do I have to prove to you that I’m worthy to call myself Samoan. And why do you have to turn me into a potential tick on your bucket lists of exotic sexual conquests? Fuck off mate. I’m worth a hell of a lot more than that, and I will not let you turn my culture into an interesting little side note. #BitchPlease #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre #TakeALLOfMeForWhatIAM #IgnoranceAintBliss
With that, I just want to say I’m sick of having to walk between to worlds where I’m not good enough in either. Stop fucking treating me like a commodity that can be used and abused. Stop treating me like I have a cultural disease. Stop making me an outcaste just because I’m half caste. Start getting to know me for all that I am instead of making prejudiced judgements based on outdated and fucked up notions of ‘REAL Samoan’ identities. Welcome to 21st Century multiculturalism!
#RantOver #DropTheMic #ImDone