Mangos with Chili


Mission, Vision, Impact: “Mangos With Chili is a North American touring, Bay Area based arts incubator committed to showcasing high quality performance of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. Our goal is to produce high-quality multi-genre performances reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) and speaking out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia and violence that QTPOC face…Mangos With Chili’s multi-genre productions present work in the disciplines of dance, theater, vaudeville, hip-hop, circus arts, music, spoken word and film. More than a performance incubator, we are also a ritual space for queer and trans communities of color to come together in love, conversation and transformation. Our goal is to present high quality performance art by QTPOC, but so much of our work is also about creating healing and transformative space through performances that are gathering places for QTPOC community.”

Funding: “We feel that it is important to be very transparent about the fact that we have had very little core funding over the years and operated on a very sparse budget. Our work does not neatly fit into the visions of funders who operate under the white supremacist hetero ablest patriarchy. We refuse to be tokenized. We refuse to filter or tame our work. We refuse to shift our message or description about who we are or who/what we are here for to appease those with power…We are also deeply thankful for our beloved community members, who have filled passed hats and Paypals, given us venues, videography and places to sleep, given us hugs and encouragement when we felt like giving up, and been our most consistent source of support. We have always said that capitalism doesn’t love us, but our communities do. We have been able to keep operating due to this support, as well as the support of countless community members.”

Throughout the semester, we have learned about various forms of oppressions against transgender people and specifically transgender people of color. We have also discussed various forms of resistance. I related Mangos with Chili with our reading for today, “Performance as Intravention: Ballroom Culture and the Politics of HIV/AIDS in Detroit,” because Bailey argues in their piece that communities “at-risk” (of HIV/AIDS, in this example) are also communities “of care” whose members support each other in various ways (intravention). For the members of the ballroom culture in Detroit, community support meant creating a counter-discourse, providing social support for its members and producing prevention balls in order to reduce Black queer people’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection through competitive performance.

Mangos with Chili also provide similar support for each other by providing spaces of healing, transformation, dialogue, visibility and centering of queer and trans people of color.

Both forms of transformative community spaces serve as a form of resistance to the contrasting oppressive social and political contexts that members live in.


Upcoming Event
Blood Story, Bone Memory, Skin Legacy: A Ritual in Corporealities: “In Blood Story, Bone Memory, Skin Legacy, artists explore the queering of ancestral memory, navigating these living moments mapped in our bodies, in queer blood and bones. Bearing witness to the stories held in our queer bodily experience, we heal and transform through the power of embodied truth.”

Upcoming Event at Brava Theatre:





6 thoughts on “Mangos with Chili

  1. I’m relatively surprised that I had not heard of Mango’s with Chili until this blog post. I believe they are a good parallel to the ideas of community within ballroom culture. I could see how intravention could occur in the setting of theater that is performed by Mango’s with Chili although I don’t know how their performances work. From the clip we saw though I am excited to hopefully see a performance or donate to Mango’s with Chili. Over the semester we have discussed capitalism and neoliberalism and how they allow people to move through various spaces. The fact that Mango’s with Chili is a seemingly anti-capitalist space (I’m assuming) by not taking any corporate funding but by being funded by the community is a great thing because it gives them freedom. Capitalism and especially how Non-Profit Organizations work can taint not only who is allowed to receive services but how those services are received. They can be as real and depict the violence and struggle to stay true to their story without having to worry about losing money because they did something that a funder didn’t approve of. That is a problem that is discussed in the Bassichis , Spade, & Lee article , “ Building an Abolitionist Trans & Queer Movement with Everything We’ve Got” says, “ The rise of the nonprofit as a key vehicle for social change bolstered this trend ,giving incentives to charismatic leaders( Often executive directors , often people with privilege) to frame struggles in ways that prioritize symbolic victories (big court cases , sensationalistic media coverage) and ignore the daily work of building a base and a movement for the long haul. This trend compromises the accountability of leaders and organizations to their constituencies’ , and devalues activism in the trenches.”(TRS2 659). I feel this quote is a good example of what Mango’s with Chili doesn’t want to happen to them. Although they aren’t an NGO they can still be effected by funding in the way an NGO is where funding can come and go depending on where that money comes from. By being community based they aren’t able to reach out which is a con but they get to keep their artistic integrity as well as give performances of truth to the communities they are trying to reach.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It is awesome to see a local community that has found a way to express itself using art. I am impressed that they have been able to tour and share their message with communities outside of the Bay Area. It is important for small communities to share their stories, reach out, and connect with others and Mangos With Chili has found a way to do that. By traveling and touring they are able to reach out to others that may not have a safe space or a community that will accept them. They are able to provide to the trans community in ways other than money. Money is always going to be an important factor for a community to grow and be successful but money alone does not build a community. I think its great that they are able to provide a safe space here in the Bay Area. They are able to really make an impact by providing QTPOC with a place to go for support and belonging. We all need a place to belong to, a community to belong to. There are so few places available for QTPOC to go to so Mangos with Chili is really special and unique. I like that they utilize social media as well. It is so important to use social media and their website makes it nice and easy to connect with their different social media platforms. Mangos With Chili provides to the QTPOC in ways that I would want for myself.

  3. Thank you for your post! It’s great to see local groups creating and utilizing art as a means of activism. I believe at this point, the power of art and community in any organization or group is evident. In regards to Mangos with Chili, it gives an opportunity for members of the community to control the information they give out, and give it in a relevant way. This is reflective to the discussion of intravention in ballroom culture in Marlon M. Bailey’s “Performance as Intravention”. This being said, Ballroom culture seems more effective because the incentive of competition that revolves around ballroom culture creates more of a drive to be knowledgeable of topics, and the house system creates family units that give places of support and communal education while Mangos with Chili offers a stage that travels and inspires. The quote that stood out in class being, “We have always said that capitalism doesn’t love us, but our communities do.” Is relevant to abolitionist activism as well, because it is straight to the point about capitalist systems not having room for individuals who are “impossible”. Because this system does not have space for the well being and existence of all individuals, it should be abolished. Mangos with Chili recognizes this and utilizes art and performance to communicate within the community and raise awareness as well as create a safe space, where individuals can develop as well as be inspired. In their About, they say “ We refuse to filter or tame our work. We refuse to shift our message or description about who we are or who/what we are here for to appease those with power.” As discussed in class, and the charts shown that show the difference between the “official” solutions and the transformative approaches. Mangos with Chili embodies this need and desire to fight current systems rather then attempt to assimilate into them, which is perhaps essential as a QTPOC organization, being that by not being white, they cannot embody the “good queer” person that can be easily assimilated into current systems that. As an artist it is exciting and inspiring to see groups of people coming together utilizing art as a medium of empowerment and community building.

  4. I am very glad that you brought this organization to light. I truly enjoyed reading about this in the blog as well as seeing you presenting about it. Mangos with Chili, does have several correlations with Bailey’s reading of “Performance as Intravention”. The organization Mangos with Chili, provides a support system for queer individuals. Which is what the ballroom culture is all about. The ballroom culture is a close net event created for individuals that mostly standout in the world. This scene was and is for people of the queer culture, this allows for the individual to create their identity and form connective friendships. Just like Mangos with Chili, they created a space to be creative and channel all those scars into a form of artistic expression. Both of these divisions are a form collective help. They where created for the people and by the people. Just like how the Ballroom culture creates an alternative world for the minoritarian social sphere; Mangos with Chili does the same in helping queer individuals tap into that oppression and making something that people can see, feel and understand. With this being said, we must understand that for people who stand out and do not fit the “norm” they must find other ways to find that kinship. Which is exactly what Mangos with Chili and the Ballroom culture have done, this is where performance, queer genders and sexualities, and kinship unite. In the reading Performance as Intravention, Ballroom culture is described as competitive fashion with dance performances or battles that are sometimes sexualized. Bailey makes a great connection between family and kinship with the Ballroom culture and like family you are going to fight, but you are also going to protect one another and educate each other. Which is exactly what the organization Mangos with Chili has also created a system that can help queer individuals be part of something and find a new life.

  5. Hello there! Just wanted to say that I love that you posted this blog. I came across Mangos with Chili when I was looking for a activist group for the same reading but you beat me to the punch. Even though I live in San Jose it’s always great to see proactive groups perform and inform others of important factors in society. Mentioned in the post it says that as group their goal is to perform quality performances reflecting lives and stories of queer and trans people of color. This is definitely a connection to Bailey’s argument of the three forms of intravention he mentioned. It obvious of the connections made from the reading and the post. I feel that through music or dance or performances in general can express a lot and can actually tell a story if the individual is connected to the performance as well as paying attention. Since Mangos with Chili travels within North America their really able to spread awareness as well as give trans people of color a sense of belonging to a community. Bailey also mentioned that a community gives individuals a means through which image and status are formed and repaired. We have discussed throughout the semester that people who are lesbian, trans, etc has their image and status in society in a sense revoked from them. And through a trans community it restores all of this, like taking back what belongs to them. They gain recognition and their status. Also Mangos with Chili provides queer and trans people of color a space where they can transform and have conversation around people with loving and open arms. In times of struggle, everyone needs an outlet. One thing I do love is the quote that was posted “We have always said capitalism doesn’t love us, but our communities do.” This quote gets straight to the point how capitalist systems reject the “norm.” Ive always been apart of dance, music, singing, something that deals with being in front of a crowd so I praise those individuals who are apart of the organization for making it possible. Overall, great blog and I hope I can attend a event hosted by the Mangos of Chili soon.

  6. I first heard about Mangos with Chili only a couple weeks ago from my friend Askari, who is actually one of the featured performers in their most recent tour. Askari told me all the wonderful things that this organization is all about: highlight queer trans people of color who are artists and was immediately intrigued. I think it’s so powerful for fellow QTPOC to see themselves represented not only in local communities, but also in positive ways–while these performers are being highlighted the performers as artists who are authentic. In these terms, I agree that Bailey’s concept of intravention is visible in the Mangos with Chili organization and I would also like to add that their promotion of community support is revolutionary: “We have always said that capitalism doesn’t love us, but our communities do.” I think this promotion of community support is so important in QTPOC circles, especially when thinking about Spade’s critique of abolition and working directly to help the community thrive. When people make personal connections on an individual level, then they are more likely to help each other because they truly care about the person and their happiness. This is similar to the example of helping your drunk friend instead of calling the cops–since they are a friend, you want to help them verses calling the authorities and possibly leading them towards a tricky legal situation. Therefore, Mangos with Chili not only exemplifies Bailey’s concept of intravention by recruiting and self-empowering QTPOC artists, but this organization also portrays Spade’s critique of abolition by using community-building and local representation for the heart of an abolitionist movement.

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