Video Vixens, female models who appeared in hip hop videos in the late 1990s and early 2000s, inspired Cherish Menzo to create the performance JEZEBEL. Also referred to as ’hip hop honeys’ or ’video girls’, these seductive and hypersexualized vixens had a great influence on the aesthetics of hip hop. The repetitive images reinforced negative stereotypes associated in particular with black women. Although Video Vixens were considered strong and empowered by their sexuality, they were also the subject of severe criticism and often typified as ‘Jezebels’, in reference to the biblical temptress and the archetype of the black woman.
In the pre-YouTube era – when MTV still meant Music Television – the Video Vixen model played a central role in the popularity of male artists. Today, she stands for much more than the objectified “ride or die” model in a male-dominated culture.
Jezebel refuses to be defined by others. She navigates the landscape of hip hop culture, looking for ways to reclaim her own image. Can Jezebel deconstruct the controversial stereotype associated with the black hip hop honey? At the intersection of threat and seduction, Menzo’s JEZEBEL forces us to think about how we think in stereotypes. With explosive power, this captivating solo reflects on the way the society stigmatizes, fetishizes and renders invisible certain bodies. The performance is part of international contemporary dance festival Moving in November 3.-13.11.2022.
Concept, choreography and performance: Cherish Menzo
Lighting design and technical coordination: Niels Runderkamp
Music: Michael Nunes
Video: Andrea Casetti
Costumes: Daniel Smedeman
Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij
Outside. Eye: Berthe Spoelstra, Christian Yav and Nicole Geertruida
Vocal coach: Shari Kok-Sey-Tjong
Campaign image: Tatchatrin Choeychom
Coproduction: Frascati Productions
Production management: Bibi Scholten van Aschat
Distribution and tour management: GRIP and Frascati Productions
With the support of: Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst
Thanks to: Benjamin Kahn and Centre Chorégraphique Le Château
Visit in collaboration: Kiasma Theatre
Visit supported by: The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux
Dancer and choreographer Cherish Menzo is striking for her powerful, controlled, inescapable physical presence. She graduated in 2013 from Amsterdam University of the Arts (Urban Contemporary Dance) and has since appeared in work by Eszter Salamon, Akram Khan, Leo Lerus, Hanzel Nezza, Olivier Dubois, Benjamin Kahn, Lisbeth Gruwez, Jan Martens, and Nicole Beutler. Next to her work as a dancer and performer, she has been creating her own work since 2016. Menzo questions the apparent norms and creates universes in which the black body stands central. Jezebel is her first solo work, created in 2019. It has received an Amsterdam Fringe Award and an International Bursary Award.
Cherish Menzo: JEZEBEL, Moving in November
Venue: Kiasma Theatre, Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Time: 11 November at 19.00; 12 November at 18.00
Accessibility: Kiasma is fully accessible
- There is a wall switch that opens the front door
- All floors can be reached with a lift.
- The upper landing in Kiasma Theatre is fully accessible. If you need a wheelchair space, we recommend you contact Kiasma’s info beforehand.
- Accessible restrooms are located on the first and fifth floors. They are designed to accommodate children as well.
- Kiasma Theatre is located on the first floor, at the opposite end of the building from the main doors. The theatre has no numbered seats. Jackets and bags can be left to Kiasma’s cloakroom for free.
Disabled persons’ personal assistants have free entry to the performances. Assistance dogs are welcome. Please contact in advance if you need a seat for a wheelchair or personal assistant or have any questions regarding accessibility: firstname.lastname@example.org