Meet the Inspirting LGBTQ+ Youth Behind South Africa’s Vogue Scene

Following the relaunch of the Forum sneaker in July, adidas partnered with some of South Africa’s creative talents who represent the ethos of the Forum campaign “unapologetically amateur”.

Much like the shoe, the mood of the Forum FW21 campaign is loud, bold and in your face, but still welcoming of anyone with a different take. In this three-part OPEN FORUM series, filmed in Johannesburg and Cape Town, episode one shows Stacey Lee May famously known as the Queen of Smoke, taking Tutu Zondo Creative Curator and Co-founder of Vogue Nights for a spin on a car track, as they chat to each other about their passions, and their need to always stay open minded to new experiences, and tap into a world that offers a safe space to express themselves.

In Conversation With Tutu Zondo (Creative Curator)

How would you personally define ‘voguing’?
I always say “Voguing is Queer Prayer” – it’s a form of expression that’s rooted in the history of who we (as queer people) are. It’s about dance, fashion, spectacle. To me it’s the constant reminder that even in a world that refuses to see us, we will always find a way to be seen in all our glory.

What are some of the challenges you face, trying to curate a safe space for the LGBTQI+ community?

When trying to curate spaces for a community that’s often seen on the fringes of society you get a lot of doors closed in your face. We struggle with getting funding/sponsorship, coverage and even finding safe accessible spaces to collaborate with us. But we always find a way – for every door closed, we find a window or an air vent. And slowly but surely things are getting better, safer papacies are popping up and it a joy to see.

Vogue Nights has created a safe space for not Joburg LGBTQI+ members, but even Cape Townians. How do you plan on expanding Vogue Nights?

Vogue Nights is a dream that keep growing and evolving and it’s so exciting for us to move beyond Joburg, we’re planning balls in Cape Town, Durban and other places in the country. We’re also on the planning stages of creating workshops, brunches and other day time events for the LGBTI+ community.

The OPEN FORUM campaign is titled, being ‘unapologetically amateaur’. What does that mean to you?

I don’t see myself as an expert, or someone who has all the answers. But I arrive every day with a willingness to learn, to grow. I approach all my projects with a passion and a desire to be better than I was before. Being unapologetically amateur is exactly that.

How do you stay open-minded in a world that is so scared of change or anything different?

Staying open is choosing to let go of fear, it’s being brave and vulnerable enough to live life on your own terms. Staying Open isn’t always easy, but once you’ve tasted the liberation that embracing your difference brings, you can never go back. I’ve realized that being different is something to be proud of.

The next chapter of Forum is available at and at adidas Originals stores with prices starting from R1699.

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