PART I: YOYO OCEAN BLACKFIRE
My name is Yoyo Ocean Blackfire or you can call me Cosmic L’amour.
I’ve kind of been doing drag my entire life. I’ve always been Yoyo and at some point in my childhood I became Yoyo Blackfire. I’m actually a singer and a songwriter. That is how I express myself as a creature and as a creative. I’ve always been Yoyo Blackfire, that has always been the person that has been developing inside of me. In middle school my friends gave me the nickname “Ocean” and it’s become very fitting because I really like to embody the idea of not just gender and sexual fluidity, but existing in a state of liquid entropy, where you can constantly convince yourself to accept what is, was, could be and just continue to move on.
I don’t have any preferable pronouns as long as you have generally good intentions. He, she, we, they—I refer to myself and think in “we”. In the normative world, when I’m wearing my bun, polo and jeans while working at a fast casual restaurant, people think that I’m a woman. I am super androgynous, I get that a lot. The weird thing is, I don’t get that from other queers, or drag queens. From them I get, “Oh you think you look like a woman?! GIRL PLEASE.” I get called a woman mostly by heteronormative people who would probably never come to the queer scene. I think that’s actually helped my flame burn brighter though. As mean as I can be to myself, I do love myself. I love myself enough to know who I am and that’s what matters to me because at the end of the day, if you don’t love yourself why the hell should anyone else love you? You know you the best, if you don’t love yourself deep down inside there, nothing I say is going to make you truly feel good about yourself because you don’t know that feeling from yourself.
I am fluid like the ocean. I am most certainly queer.
Beyond that, I identified as bisexual until I realized that I don’t believe in gender. At which point, it was just kind of like jumping out of the helicopter into the ocean of fluidity. I aspire to live life with no boundaries. [My own understanding of my sexuality began with] porn. I would say it started probably around my tenth birthday. I am all about sex positivity. I think that nudity is amazing, I love to be nude. I hate wearing clothes. Even when it’s not artistic, or the aesthetically beautiful body, it is very natural to be nude. There is nothing primal about wearing clothes. As animals we don’t do that. Clothing has been something that’s developed through the domestication of man.
I’m an Aries, so I’m super attracted to myself. My sexual identity started to uncover itself when I would be watching porn. So [at that time] I started thinking to myself, what does it really mean to be bisexual? Like I can appreciate both bodies. Mind you though, when I was a child I was also the faggiest little Jew boy there fucking was (laughs). Everyone knew I was gay, or thought I was trans and that’s great because [my sexual fluidity] has always been a part of who I am. Obviously, when someone tells you they think you’re gay [as a child] then it’s something that’s put into your realm sooner. So what does [bisexual] mean? It means I can definitely appreciate both bodies. Through experiences and getting older, social changes, I just became this. I don’t see myself as gay at all, which is probably rooted in a mixture of self-hate from being a child who was bullied and not only liking boys, but also because my favorite flavor of ice cream is pussy. And to be gay I felt like I had to be associated with all kinds of things I didn’t believe in [gender]. Although I still feel like I understand those things, I just can’t Yoyo-ciate (associate) with [being gay] because I don’t agree with it.
I grew up an orthodox Jew.
Sometimes when I’m bored—being an Aries and an element of fire— I make noise a lot, so I will just randomly sing Hebrew (laughs). I will just sing the same random lines of Hebrew songs. I grew up Jewish, so like any religion, the deeper you get into it, the deeper the Kool-Aid. There’s a lot that’s just instilled in you in terms of gender and sexual identity. In Judaism there’s a lot of difference between male and female and I never really understood that. For example, women are supposed to in theory wear long sleeves and skirts, so you see a lot of woman covered up most of the time. It’s because you want to be modest, you don’t want to show off your body too much. But to me it was like, well how come women should be modest and men shouldn’t be? So as a kid I was always wearing long sleeves and long pants, which obviously feeds into the whole queerness. Another thing is hair. As a child I was never allowed to grow my hair out, but all I ever wanted was long hair, being a fag (laughs). In many religions hair is a big deal, and when women get married in Judaism, they’re supposed to cover their hair. It has to do with being intimate for your husband. And when I was a kid, I always wanted to cover my hair. To me hair is intimate, I mean look at my hair. When I wear my mane out, it attracts so many people. Like, even now here I am doing a photoshoot and an interview. I was always fascinated with that.
My drag is something between a biological woman and your neighborhood dreammaster.
You could see me out in anything from a little bit of makeup and a lash on, to a double-stacked dread wig and my full body, head to toe painted white. It just depends how I feel. I think that the way I make people feel, no matter how I look, you’re gonna feel this mixture of disappointment, disgust, and sadness and that’s what I Yoyo-ciate with. That’s what I think, more than any visual aesthetic, is my drag. When I started drag, I had zero skills but a lot of confidence. I have a lot of natural talent and ability and it really pissed a lot of people off because the things that I did were super queer, but there’s not polish to it and I do what I want, when I want, how I want and I don’t give a fuck what anyone has to say about it. I’m an Aries, if you want to butt heads then I’ve got horns hunny. And I’m a flame so if you get me heated up I will scorch you, but I don’t like to be that way. My natural confidence and my energy about it comes from my certainty of knowing who I am. I think that’s what inspired people the most [about my drag] is that confidence and certainty.
I have a drag name, it’s Cosmic L’amour and I have a really big drag family here in Phoenix but I don’t go by that because I have aspirations that fall under the normative entertainment industry side of things. In hopes of those becoming super successful, I didn’t want to give people one day the opportunity to say, “Well look at this disconnect between who they are.” So much of what I do as an artist is share my story and perspective on things, so that I can bring people together, so I didn’t want to give people a reason to think that there is anything but me and who I am and what I am working hard to be able to present in the right way for people to experience. The best part about embracing being alive, is realizing that I am a cumulative art. Not just because I am a by product of the life that I live, I’m also a by product of the life that I imagine I live. I want to eventually find the place where that reality can be one.
I like to sing all kinds of music. This time of year, I am a huge jazz baby and all I wanna do is wear my fur coats and sing jazz music. I love Frank Sinatra and older music like that. I love rock music, like stoner rock. I love Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Metallica, Elton John, David Bowie, those kinds of artists. Those are some of my favorite things to sing. I always said if I was a pie chart, I would be ⅓ classic rock star, I mean just look at my hair. ⅓ rave girl, that’s actually where the name “Cosmic” came from because I’m a psychedelic kid. So when I became a L’amour it was cute because together that means “Cosmic Love” which is my mission in life. When I introduce myself I like to say “ Hi, my name is Yoyo Blackfire and it’s my mission in life to rebuild the human connection by breeding love, spreading compassion, and radiating positivity one song at a time.” The third part [of the pie chart] would obviously be jazz baby.
I think that, fortunately enough, out of all of the things that I’ve been through, I was always encouraged to be myself.
Whatever that meant, I had to commit to that. If I was gonna be different, be different that’s fine. [It’s about] knowing that you’re different I guess, but I don’t like the word “different”. [I don’t like it] because who are you going to tell me that I’m different from? Put any two people together and tell me that they’re exactly the same, like you can’t. What is this standard that being “different” is based off of besides being human? What is regular and who are you to tell me that? [The societal conversation around gender and sexual identity] is a wicked problem. It is a problem that has so many people involved and so many factors that unfortunately it’s not going to be resolved. It’s not to say that we’re not going to make progress and we’re not going to see change, however it goes. Everything happens in waves of good and bad. Sustainable change takes time and effort, and as a whole there are 8 billion people on this planet and there will never be absolute consensus on anything. Period. I’m such a realist and an extremist that I have to physically pull myself back to middle and ask, “Who is to say this isn’t us coexisting?”
I think [positive] coexistence is possible and I would love to see that, but I’m such a realist that I don’t know if there are enough people committed to the full time job of opening someone’s mind and broadening their perspective. You can fight, and you can win elections, and you can have the most money in the world or the most power, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t get in there and get someone to understand. That’s the difference between me being so loud and proud versus not. My energy is so strong about who I am that it’s easier for you to feel it, and the more open you are, the quicker you’re drawn to it. In my experience, I still get through to people who don’t [understand]. It’s so exhausting to explain who you are and how you feel and then to have someone look you in the eyes and tell you “That doesn’t make sense, that’s stupid, you should be locked up bro.” That’s so frustrating. It takes a lot to commit to educating people to that extent, but it’s what I think we need to do in order to make change. Just be loud and proud about who we are and continue to have those one-on-ones because change happens on the one-on-one scale.
[Life] is a journey.
You’ve gotta just let yourself experience it. Through all of the good times, bad times, confusing times, scary times, and all of the times that you feel alone the atoms and molecules that make up your body are getting stronger because you are fighting for yourself. Keep fighting for yourself.
PART II: COSMIC L’AMOUR
In Part II, Yoyo deep dives into her perspective of the art of drag as Cosmic L’amour. This is an interview you don’t want to miss!