Flowers While We’re Living is a call to action to celebrate, love and fight for trans women of colour

"We face some of the highest rates of interpersonal violence, often at the hands of people in our own 'communities,'" says co-host Coco Supreme

FLOWERS WHILE WE’RE LIVING featuring COCO SUPREME, ALASKA B, NINKURU ZINDURU, I. M. BROWN, FRANNY MORENO, RAVYN WNGZ and others at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander), Thursday (June 22), 8:15 pm. $15.

On Thursday, DIY collective Unit 2 and Ninkuru Zinduru present Flowers While We’re Living, a night that places BIPOC/racialized trans and queer artists squarely in the spotlight. It’s multidisciplinary, with words, dance, music and more. The event assures the participating artists a safe space and community to shine in, a far too rare occurrence. 

Co-hosts Kim Ninkuru and Coco Supreme talk to NOW about the night of love and resistance.

What’s the meaning of the show’s title?

Coco Supreme: It’s a reference to a phrase I’d seen circulating around social media about the countless deaths of trans Black, Indigenous women and women of colour around the world. We face some of the highest rates of interpersonal violence, often at the hands of people in our own “communities.” And our labour, love and sacrifices are far too often invisibilized. 

Yet often we see people who have hurt us performing a sort of mourning of trans women who have been taken from us, while here’s little media coverage of these murders and little action to seek justice, as in the case of Sumaya Dalmar in 2015. Oftentimes victims are labelled “cross-dressers,” “drag queens” or just gay men. 

FWWL is essentially a call to action to celebrate, love and fight for trans women and femmes of colour so that we aren’t put in situations of violence. I also see it as an homage to Marsha P. Johnson, who did a lot of work around gay liberation and protecting young street-based sex workers and was an incendiary part of the Stonewall Riots. She used to wear flower crowns she made, which recall the DIY glam that comes from having to be creative with no resources. This show serves as a reminder to be conscious of her sacrifices.

Tell me about the artists and night.

Kim Ninkuru: All [are] amazingly talented. It’s a night to celebrate, and also remind us that until all trans women of colour are free, nobody is free. Expect to be taught a few lessons about freedom, love and resistance.

For those who have never seen you spin, Coco, who is Coco Supreme?

Coco Supreme: It’s hard to answer because trans people are expected to have these narratives of “transgressing” and “transitioning.” It’s hard to define Coco Supreme because I feel like I’m very dynamic. But I’ll pretend this is a Tinder bio and say, “She’s a young girl not really interested in partaking in narratives of success or transitioning, but is trying to do big things and make her friends be really extra at the club.”

What’s the best part of this event for you?

Coco Supreme: The strong friendships among young trans women and femmes is one of the most sacred things in the world, so it’s really a blessing to be able to work together.

Will FWWL be ongoing?

Ninkuru: We’re definitely going to make this into an ongoing series. We want to show that trans women of colour deserve all the space, all the love and all the funds to make it through life. | @chakavgrier

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