The Cocoa Butter Club, held monthly at Her Upstairs in Camden Town, is a home of celebration, a celebration of the performer of colour. In the cabaret world, the performer of colour is neglected and considered a token, a token to a lineup full of white performers.
Curated by Sadie Sinner, a renowned show producer & host, The Cocoa Butter Club is a big fuck you to that racism and ignorance of our coloured bodies onstage. There, they celebrate not only the performer, but at their monthly showcases, they celebrate each other. It’s a home welcome to absolutely anybody – all we ask is that when you’re in our space you love us and you pay attention to our art.
Their next big event, on May 25, will be exclusively live-streamed on Blued, the world’s biggest gay social app.
The Cocoa Butter Club’s own FKA talks to us about what makes the club such a unique experience …
What five words would you use to sum up Cocoa Butter Club?
Powerful, controversial, loving, sacred and special.
What’s the crowd like?
Beginning my drag career, I struggled to find somewhere I could call a home. This is what The Cocoa Butter Club has become to me. I feel loved here, I feel celebrated, I feel that no matter what I do as a performer it will always be treated with the most respect, love & admiration. I find the build-up to a performance extremely nerve-wracking and uncomfortable, the crowd and the beautiful individuals that come to our show make me feel welcomed.
Why do people love your venue and what makes it unique?
We are the only line up full of performers of colour that showcase here in London. We offer monthly showcases that take place at Her Upstairs in Camden that is never the same – every show is absolutely so different. From burlesque, to voguing, to spoken word, to drag, to live vocalists, to poets and so so much more! We have so much that we offer our audience and we make her feel special.
What is a typical night like?
Very busy! Lots to do – I help Sadie run the show, we have to ensure all the acts tech is working and that they arrive on time. We offer our acts a networking hour between 7-8pm, to get the chance to speak to audience members and get the chance to know their audience. When the show kicks off it is one big party, full of love, tears, laughter, screaming & black excellence!
Gay venues are closing down all the time– what do you think the gay scene needs to do to keep thriving?
The gay venues that are being lost are the ones that are not understanding that things need to change. You need to change the format of your entertainment, having the same misoganistic, transphobic, racist drag performers is not acceptable and it is not the way forward. Queer venues are winning, we are the future. Her Upstairs, where our monthly showcases take place, has recently expanded into Them Downstairs, now being a two floor complex, which I am so proud of.
We are thinking about the future, where we are going, we are not stuck in 1990 anymore. Entertainment and bar atmosphere has to change. If these venues want even the slightest chance to survive, they have to understand this.
Describe your own ideal night out:
Other than my baby, The Cocoa Butter Club, a favourite night out of mine is filled with Club Kids, happy people, hot guys, aka. Dollar Baby! Developed by JJ Clark & Jodie Harsh, you can catch me DJ’ing there on select occasions at the weekly party. It’s my absolute favourite party in London!
What events have you got coming up in the next few weeks/months?
Sadie & myself are extremely excited to be taking The Cocoa Butter Club to Berlin, Germany to be a part of the Yo! Sissy Festival this July. We are taking several performers that have showcased with us at The Cocoa Butter Club.
The next 3 dates for our monthly showcases at Her Upstairs in Camden are May 26, June 29, and July 27. On June 6, you can find myself, The Phoenix and Travis Alabanza in our Destiny’s Child celebration show in a new bi-monthly residency. It’s all very exciting.