Multifaceted artist (singer, performer, Dj and dancer) Pierre-Edouard Hanffou, aka Kiddy Smile has established himself in a few years as one of the main queer figures on the French House and Voguing scene.
Always having in mind the idea of shaking up codes and social norms: whether it is for his performance at the presidential Palais de l’Elysée for 2018 Music day during which he wore a t-shirt written “Son of immigrants, black and fag” (“Fils d’immigré, noir et pédé) or during his red carpet appearance at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where he broke the protocol by wearing a dress. Well, Kiddy has never been one to conform to other people’s expectations and instead has always been true to himself… This is exactly why Magnum has partnered with him for several years.
Magnum: Why did you choose to partner with Magnum to talk about Pride Month?
Kiddy Smile: Simply because they have always supported my work, so when they offered me to work on their new campaign, I said yes. We have been working together for four years already. In the past, they invited me to various events, including their beach party at the Cannes Film Festival, and if you look closely, they have always wanted to promote queer representation through their content. I had already noticed this in their 2015 advertising that featured Drag Queens, long before other brands took the LGBT trend during Pride Month.
M: Would you define yourself as an LGBT+ activist?
KS: To be completely honest, no - Because for me, to be an activist is to get involved in a fight and in actions in order to dismantle an existing structure, by for instance, having laws voted or repealed. I just make music. On the other hand, I cannot deny that talking about my life - as a black homosexual when I am given a platform - can have a certain impact and influence on the public. But in reality, it’s just about my life, my personal story. This is not what I would call activism per se.
Maybe people think I'm an activist because I can express myself strongly on my oppressions in a language register that people usually don't expect from me. I bring a societal and political light to it but it is only a question of my own existence. If today I have this place in music and if I’m able to display myself and show myself as I am, it is certainly thanks to other people in the past who led the way. I believe that music and dance is an important platform for self-expression and therefore sharing your views. There has always been a strong link between entertainment culture and equality movements through music, dance, art etc.