September 01, 2018
Fat, Femme & Free
by Mojo Disco
Who is Mojo Disco? That is a question I get all the time in interviews. There is something humbling about questions that make you instantly reflect on yourself. It is a constant question with ever changing answers; who I was yesterday is not who I am today, nor is it who I will be tomorrow. When people ask me this question these days, my mind forces my lips to part and say, “I am the light of the sun.”
If you are familiar with soul music you might take it as homage to Jill Scott’s 2011 album of the same name. If you are spiritual, you might take it as a zodiac reference or as a symbol of limitless energy. If you are a rapper or poet, you might take it as a super dope metaphor. I love the phrase because it will always mean different things to different people. That in a nutshell is who I am: consistent in character and ubiquitous in spirit.
You don’t get to where I am with shackles. There is an element of freedom that I practice in my life that spills over into my fashion, art, politics, sexuality, and other passions. There is also an element of blackness that ties all of those things together. All of these things work together in a way that will do two things: make you admire, or make you uncomfortable.
Growing up wasn’t easy for me, as it is not for many black queer youth in general. I come from a family of tough love. There was no one who looked or spoke like me. There was no one with the same vision and talent as me. I was the first of my kind. My family reminded me of this through liquored lips, and exhales of Mary Jane, through Bible scriptures, and card games, through all of the joy and through all of the pain. It wasn’t always nice, but it was necessary. As an adult I can now look back and see that they were preparing me for a world they were not prepared for themselves. They gave me the tools to be visible in a world of sameness.
“What is the recipe for womanhood? For me, it is strength, courage, and wisdom.”
Growing up I was chubby child. From a young age I had hips, ass, and breast. By no means am I trying to sexualize my childhood self, but there is no denying that there was something in the cornbread. I was stocky in way that didn’t match department store sizes. Because of this fact, I had to learn early how to dress my body to be the illusion of what I desired it to be. My effeminate ways and mannerisms however, couldn’t be concealed; no matter how hard I tried.
I never had one of those coming out moments that you read about in books or see on television and in the movies. I never felt I had to do that. Although I was private, I was never in denial about who I was now, and now, who I was becoming. I also realized very early that coming out is a performative act for the benefit of “straight” people. In May of 2018 I came out as transgender to my mom. I really grappled with the idea of even telling her at all but I felt this was something I really had to do in order to clear my conscience. It was an exuberant exchange to say the least; however, it was in that moment it all became real for me. I was becoming the woman I was destined to be.
What is the recipe for womanhood? For me, it is strength, courage, and wisdom. These traits, the ones I have exhibited most of my life, really represent womanhood at its core. It took a lot of strength to not complete suicide. It took a lot of courage to pull some of the fashion stunts I’ve pulled over the years. I acquired wisdom from many of my failures and have used that knowledge to inspire others. Everything I’ve been through has gotten me to this point and it was time to live in my ultimate truth. As Mo’Nique so fiercely said in an interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club, “I’m a big, fat black woman,” and it was time I honored that notion.
“Fat” is a word many people like myself have chosen to reclaim. A word that used to hold so much power over me, now liberates me in ways I’ve never been liberated before. From my hair, and makeup, to my clothing and shoes, I do it all as a political statement that my fatness should be appreciated, respected, and worshipped (if you’re into that kind of thing). I do it for every big girl who battles with insecurities because society deems us “disgusting” for just existing, the girls who are body shamed to the point of dysmorphia, and starvation, the girls who don’t realize that everything they need is right inside of them.
Being trans comes with its portion of setbacks as well. Being fetishsized, and collected like Pokémon has never been my cup of tea, and navigating love and desire with those two imprints has not been easy. However, life in general has never been easy but I’m still open to all the possibilities to grow and love harder each day. This is my work, and it is my mission to slay the world as we know it.
I hope this article was able to bring an ounce of light to your mind and heart. May it be a reminder that freedom and liberation should be at the forefront of all your endeavors.