It is impossible to separate Lisbon’s creative scene from queer contributors and forerunners in this small city’s entertainment and creative industry. From fashion, music and art, this Portuguese city is full of curators of culture who are setting this scene’s pace. We sat down with some of these pace-setters as a collective who gave us an authentic insight into what Lisbon’s creative scene currently has to offer.

Raquel (she/her)

Fashion designer, MUA, model, and content creator Raquel Borges has just released her latest bespoke denim collection from her brand, Mystirgo; beyond her explorative up-cycled pieces, the fun, fabulous and fashionable designer joyfully shared with us how Lisbon’s creative scene is expanding with the help of black culture and people.

GUAP: How would you describe the creative scene in Lisbon?

Raquel: The creative scene is growing greatly and is BLACK AS HELL! It’s one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen! Right now, we’re at our best. We are growing so much and supporting each other. 

GUAP: Is there any place in Lisbon you wish you had discovered earlier?

Raquel: It’s not quite a place, but there are parties like Dengo and The Blacker The Berry in Lisbon. I wish I had known about them when I was younger. 

Jesualdo (he/him)

Founder of The Black The Berry (TBTB), cultural curator, model, and filmmaker Jesualdo Lopes encapsulates a fun, creative and spontaneous spirit. Jesu is infamously known in Lisbon for his curation of community-soothing parties to which he is expanding beyond the terrain of Portugal.

GUAP: Do you have any creative projects you’re working on?

Jesu: TBTB will release its first merchandise collection with t-shirts, tote bags, and more. I have a few projects lined up – a Portuguese TV channel, but I can’t say more about that. We’re also trying to take TBTB to London to level up, purrrr! I want to expand TBTB beyond Lisbon.

Lola Maria (she/her)

As the Princess of Lisbon herself from the Kiki House of Bodega, transgender model and drag queen Lola Maria shines as a pillar of light for transgender women and LGBTQIA+ people in and outside Portugal. 

GUAP: How would you describe the creative scene in Lisbon?

Lola: In Lisbon, we are poor economically but rich in culture. We have a lot of black cultures here, and if you know where to go, you will have the most amazing time you can get!

GUAP: Do you have any creative projects you’re working on?

Lola: We are making the first vogue night from my house, Kiki House of Bodega, on March 19th, and the theme is ‘The Trans Celebration.’ I am a trans woman, so I must celebrate my body and everybody on this earth. I want to celebrate all the trans people that have been here and have made it possible for me to be here. I think this is very important to display and tell the world.

Mario (he/him)

Creative performer and dancer Mario Quimua are not only known for his vibrant voguing from the Kiki House of Bodega, but his unique style alone speaks a thousand words. In conversation with GUAP, Mario gave us a detailed insight into Lisbon’s creative scene. 

GUAP: Is there anything unique about Lisbon’s creative scene?

Mario: There’s no way to quantify it but the energy. The environment I’m a part of is very welcoming, and no one is afraid to express themselves. The people are fearless and just do their own thing. People do not care bout what others will say or think. 

GUAP: How would you describe the creative scene in Lisbon?

Mario: The creative scene is very white. It lacks diversity, and many people that should be given credit and the spotlight aren’t given that attention. The scene takes a lot of inspiration and copies what black creatives are doing. We are not valued for our work. And while all that is happening, they are appropriating what black people and black queers are doing. They then disguise this appropriating as a “cultural celebration” while not crediting the real creatives. 

Herlander (he/him)

An emanation of warmth and peace, Herlander, the music producer and performer, spoke to us about his experience of TBTB and his current creative projects in the works.

GUAP: Is there any place in Lisbon you wish you had discovered earlier?

Herlander: It’s not necessarily a place, but I wish I knew more collectives like TBTB. Whatever pace they’re in is always good – it’s comforting, and it’s always home. I wish I had discovered something like TBTB earlier than I did. 

GUAP: Do you have any creative projects you’re working on?

Herlander: I am working on an EP. I was working on an album before that, but now it’s become an EP that should be about mid-2023.

Liana (they/them/all)

Bigger than themselves, their body and mind, artist Liana Bernado confirms Lisbon’s creative scene isn’t just expanding but moving more underground. Liana is currently working on some visuals while resuming their writing, hoping to fuse their words with music. Their primary focus is learning how to curate the works of their friends and creative community. 

GUAP: If you were to host a 24-hour tour for creatives worldwide coming to Lisbon, where would you take them and why?

Liana: I would take them to the place I recently discovered near my ends – it has a lot of greenery. I think many of us look like us and do the stuff that we need to breathe, and we don’t get a chance to breathe very often.

Cyber (he/she/they)

Don’t be fooled by the hoodie, as the fun, fashionable, and chaotic fashion designer and stylist Cyber Tokio is known for turning heads with their style at every party. Cyber, as well as everyone else in this collective, is a creative polymath with a series of projects and passion in their pursuit. 

GUAP: Is there any place in Lisbon you wish you had discovered earlier?

Cyber: Not a place, but a part of me wishes I had known about this community earlier. Growing up as a queer black person, I had nothing [as in safe spaces for queer people to hang out]. Now no matter what place we are in, it feels like home.

GUAP: Do you have any creative projects you’re working on?

Cyber: As a freelancer, there’s always something, haha. I work with Dengo Club and my friend Jesu on his TBTB project. We’re having a party on March 3rd. The start of my collection is coming out soon, also. 

Project Credits:

Community co-ordinator – Jesualdo Lopes 

Photographer | Director – Wildat Hassan 

Director | Interviewer – Alero Helena

Discover more from GUAP’s Arts & Culture section here



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