“Son of immigrants, black and gay” were the words emblazoned over Kiddy Smile’s t-shirt on the evening of June 21st at the Élysée Palace. This seat of power that’s witnessed generations of ‘dominant white males’ parading by, this historic centre of political colonialism, finally welcomed a black, gay son of immigrants to its Fête de la musique. As orchestrator of this grand Elysian soiree, Pedro Winter had invited the famous French DJ and electro music producer along to the event. And so there he was, Kiddy Smile, DJ and queer artist, surrounded by his entourage of dancers and performers, all worthy representatives of the voguing and ballroom communities. After all music and liberation of the body go hand in hand. As do music and liberation of identities. DJ and queer.
He makes no bones about it, Kiddy Smile is the lovechild of a ballroom orgy, those transgender and queer balls of 1980s New York. But his ecstatic electro sounds owe just as much to Chicago house music and pays tribute to immense pioneering black artists, Frankie Knuckles heading the line-up. To his rhythms, bodies are unleashed, liberated. The explosion of joy hits us right in the gut. It seizes the legs, twists the arms. Until the force erupts: strike a pose.
“Okay Macron, I’ll entertain you. But I’ll bring you face to face with all the ‘black and gay sons of immigrants’ under your government. And I even hope you have a great evening.”
Kiddy Smile - Pierre Hache is his real name – was born far from the prestige of that evening, in a neighbourhood called Rambouillet. The son of immigrants, black and gay, nothing could have predicted him ending up an Elysian honoured celebrity. And then there’s the dance, the voguing, the video with George Michael, a career as a DJ and even further recognition with the release of his track Let a Bitch Know in 2016. Under the name of Kiddy Smile, Pierre Hache is truly a child of his era: a youth spent almost overdosing on the idealised nostalgia of the 1990s with reminiscences of Show Me Love by Robin S (1993) sprinkled through his music. A black, queer and Arab France has found in this straight-talking and liberated giant of a man, an embodiment of pop at its very best. Numéro caught up with him as his first album is released and he steps on screen in Gaspar Noé’s latest film.