Neneh Cherry

Power, Community, Timeless

In the 80s, Scotland-born fashion stylist Ray Petri was busy forming a collective of radical artists, designers, musicians and models known as Buffalo. As a fashion house, Buffalo staked its spot in the scene for the radical work that it was doing to invert and challenge gender normative clothing and design. Queer aesthetics being a relatively young and marginalized style, Buffalo's work was far ahead of its time, its contemporary influence growing more and more prominent. Among the collective's members was Neneh Cherry, Swedish singer-songwriter, rapper and icon who gained massive popularity after the release of her 1989 album Raw Like Sushi, in part because of the success of the track "Buffalo Stance".

A tribute to Ray Petri, who died of AIDS a year after the track's release, "Buffalo Stance" mixes elements of the 80s aesthetic with flashy hip hop fashion that was styled for Neneh by British fashion stylist Judy Blame. The track was a volcanic success, becoming a club and radio hit at the same time that Blame and Neneh's punk-disregard for norms led Neneh to perform the track live 7 months pregnant.

This style and ethos has remained a part of the queer scene in London, eventually making up a part of the influences that would inspire director Stephen Isaac-Wilson and designer Gareth Wrighton. When Neneh Cherry's manager approached them about making a tribute for the 30th anniversary of the song, they knew exactly what they would do and they were given full creative liberty to execute it because Neneh was fully convinced by their style. Isaac-Wilson, who has shot videos for the likes of queer photographer Ajamu, and Wrighton, alumni designer for the Fashion East designer-incubator, create an homage to modern drag. Because they grew up so steeped in the world of Neneh's influence, it was a natural process, requiring no artifice and creating something that anyone on the scene would be proud of. Over 30 years after releasing the track, it's fair to say that Neneh and her team continue to hit the target that others can't see.
Statement by Omar El-Sabrout


“Buffalo Stance” 

Performed by Neneh Cherry
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises