meet the brilliant duo behind london's new all-inclusive club night, bbz
Brand new UK club night BBZ challenges obsolete ideas around identity — gender, race, sexuality, and otherwise — with its access-all-area, all-inclusive policy. As much exhibition space as rave, the south London-based space is all about Burgeoning...
Four years ago, Tia Simon-Campbell, 24, a photographer and fashion producer, met cinematographer Nadine Davis, 26, on the set of Davis' first video. Her directorial debut is best forgotten, Davis insists, but the ending was, regardless, a happy one; the two fell crazy in love. "One of my models dropped out, and I asked a friend to find me another girl. Tia was the other girl. I had been stalking her on Facebook for years, so when she turned up I was really excited." The feeling was mutual — Tia asked Nadine out the next day, and the two became not only a totally gorgeous romantic partnership, but a brilliantly creative one too. "She has great taste, and is into the finer details," says Tia, "whereas I'm scatty and very conceptual. Nadine grounds me." Earlier this year, the southeast London twosome decided to create a space for people like them — and like-minded people not like them: black, queer, trans-masculine, cisgender, transgender, female, male, white, brown, artistic, creative, fun, forward thinking, outwards looking. Or to quote the pair "a monthly exhibition/ turn up for the fam celebrating non binary women of color." "People are recognizing the spectrum of queerness, race, and culture, but they have a fixed ideal that they are comfortable with," Tia says. "When it steps outside of that they're still struggling. As queer women of color, I think there is a massive way to go, but hopefully BBZ encourages fluidity in the way people identify and exchange ideas." Rather than being purely a place to pick up, BBZ is a space where you can dance to everything from Wiley to Wizkid, drink, discover new art, and, who knows, maybe find the Tia to your Nadine. "With other parties you're going to hunt your prey; with BBZ you can scout your prey, you can get into her head," Tia laughs. "We strive to keep it as interactive as possible while being a space of inclusivity." It's about a good time and good energy, adds Nadine. "The older I get the harder it is to make friends and create a community. We are so online as a generation; BBZ is about making real connections with real people." "Turning up to BBZ is like arriving at that perfect house party; you're instantly embedded in comfy community feels," BBZ regular Leala-Rain Shonaiya says. "As well as the banging vibes, you're treated to artwork made exclusively by non-binary women of color. It gives artists a platform and viewers the chance to explore works that represent and speak to them. There's such a strong sense of support and love. As a young queer black woman in London trying to navigate such abrasive terrain, BBZ is so needed and greatly appreciated." It's exactly this reaction that Campbell and Davis hope to provoke from BBZ-goers. "A lot of people come to BBZ and say, 'I needed this, I needed my humanity affirmed,'" Tia says. "BBZ exists as affirmation that you're special and it's our differences we should celebrate — and at BBZ we do."
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Francesca Allen
Hair Wilson Fok using Catwalk by TIGI. Makeup Marie Bruce using NARS Cosmetics and Kiehl's Skincare. Photography assistance Daisy Bendel.
Tia and Nadine wear all clothing model's own.