Photo: De Lovie.

Uganda's Authentically Plastic Finds Queer Sanctuary on the Dance Floor

We talk to the multidisciplinary artist about drag, their ANTI-MASS parties and the hidden beauty of Kampala.

The last few years have seen Kampala, Uganda take center stage as an essential destination for underground dance music in Africa. The city hosts Nyege Nyege, a massive festival with line-ups featuring international talents and producers like Miami's Suzi Analogue and São Paulo's Badsista have toured on lengthy stays to collaborate with local artists and feed off Kampala's dynamic energy.

One of the hands fanning the flame of this new movement is certainly ANTI-MASS collective and its founder, Authentically Plastic. The 29-year-old nonbinary Ugandan native is a visual artist and performer, who organizes explosive queer raves, produces industrial music and DJs a nearly singular style of expertly-mixed gqom, house, techno and pop.

Still, Kampala's extreme conservatism has presented major challenges for creative, open expression over the last decade. Less than two years ago, Kampala's historic gay bar was raided and over 125 arrests were made. It's this enduring obstacle that makes Authentically Plastic's performances and their ANTI-MASS parties feel so deliciously charged. These parties offer local Kampala queer folks one of few opportunities to truly experience nightlife, to show up and show out as more honest versions of themselves.

Authentically Plastic's visual presentation, inspired by their own drag performances, is nearly political in its bold, chic transformation of wigs, makeup and exquisitely-styled dresses. Their music and their pronounced performance energy in the face of such danger and oppression is nothing short of remarkable.

Authentically Plastic invites us into their world below...

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Rina Mushonga. Image courtesy of the artist.

You Need to Hear Rina Mushonga's Cosmopolitan Pop

The Dutch-Zimbabwean musician shares her ambitious new full-length, In a Galaxy, taking new risks at merging the disparate worlds of indie rock and Afropop.

One can imagine that as pop music evolves, cultural borders will topple and genres might blend and blur the way rays of light shoot out from a prism. If so, Rina Mushonga and her new brilliant cosmopolitan pop album, In a Galaxy, are at the forefront of this radiant movement. Raised between Asia, Africa and Europe and born of Dutch and Zimbabwean parents, Rina's general take on life is one of a global citizen—absorbing disparate influences with humbleness and reverence and allowing that energy to seep into the music.

In a Galaxy takes cues from the dance productions and intimate songwriting of electronic pop and R&B savants like Empress Of and Blood Orange. But there's hardly a song on this 12-track LP that doesn't weave the dynamic rhythms and jubilant melodies of Afropop into the mix. The electronic-folk experimentation of Francis Bebey also helps color these dynamic tunes, as well as the shimmering, jit music grooves of Zimbabwe ensemble Bhundu Boys.

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