By Tafadzwa Zimoyo
Social media is awash with images of people that were apparently called to preach a gospel of high life. Their pictures, videos and stories paint the most attractive lifestyles that make their friends and followers green with envy.
They know the most appropriate ‘Kodak moments’- those settings when they get best shots on camera. Images have always been known to tell a thousand words.
And these characters are eager to get a thousand comments envying their portrayed fancy lifestyles. It’s the social media space where everyone wants to appear fabulous, expensive and outstanding. It is in this space where stylish women called slay queens are found in abundance.
They don’t miss an opportunity to show the world that they are living large.
The term slay queen emanated from Beyonce’s lyrics. Everywhere in the world, girls and modern women were inspired by her lyrics from the song “Formation” when she goes: “… I came to slay…coz I slay…” In her sense, slaying means showcasing style, fashion and high life.
Despite the abundance of slay queens on social media, they cannot all be classified under one bracket. There are some who really portray true colours of fabulous lives while others push themselves to the edge in painting fake pictures of their lifestyles.
There are real slay queens and fake slay queens. Real ones do not put much effort.
They just mirror their lifestyles through social media postings. They have style. They have income for luxury. They go for holidays and can afford the high life they exhibit through heir social media updates.
On the other hand are those ladies who want to make everything appear classic yet their real lives are the extreme opposite. The fake ones can do anything crazy to maintain misleading images of themselves on social media.
They will go to pose for pictures at the most beautiful house in the neighbourhood, a city hotel where they have never been booked and even a stranger’s posh car.
The fake slay queens are guilty of soiling the art of slaying. What do these fake slay queens want to achieve by faking appearances?
There are so many reasons for borrowed lifestyles. They want everyone to believe they have a high life, which in reality might be a pipedream. It is because of the fake slay queens that the term is now becoming associated with derogatory connotations when it is supposed to celebrate flamboyance. Local musician Cindy Munyavi said some people have destroyed the real definition of slay queens.
She said in most minds, a slay queen is some sort of a prostitute or a blonde, which is not the case. “To me slay means ‘killing it’ by way of dressing and being stylish. That is what we are bringing to you. If you are familiar with modern slang, you might have heard of the word ‘slay’ being used in a figurative way.
If you say that someone is slaying, it usually means that they are doing a very good job and, if it is a competition, they are destroying their competitors by being so much better,” she said Munyavi who recently released her new video of “Wabata Moyo” said she is a slay queen in her own right.
Model Vimbai Mukambi, affectionately known as MK who is now based in Abu Dhabi, said there is nothing wrong for one to be a slay queen. She said when it comes to the term ‘slay queen’, people should stick to its positive portrayal.
“After all, saying ‘slay, queen!’ – with an exclamation – is aform of encouragement and being a slay queen has to be something good, right. Many people in Africa now use the term ‘slay queen’ to describe a woman that likes to show off her luxurious lifestyle even if she lives in the poorest neighborhood and struggles to stay on her feet,” she said. “However, some are of the impression that slay queens are young and naive girls who apparently do not date broke men. They spend hours on Snapchat and Instagram showing off things they don’t even own.”
Another social commentator Kelly Mounty from Borrowdale Brook said an insatiable penchant for high life has led to distortions around the characteristics of slay queens.
“The Internet is full of slay queen images. 21st century is the perfect era for slay queens, as they can use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook to tell the whole world about the expensive things they do not even own.
You might be surprised, but this type of behaviour is actually not unique to women. Slay kings also exist and behave almost in the same way as slay queens do,” said Kelly. Kelly is a full-time lifestyle coach and she said the trend of slaying is dignified when practiced by the moneyed.
Well-known businesswomen in the country have joined the culture. “Some are genuine in their hustling. There are many of them, but some however are not and they can try impress the world flaunting, flying all over the world, showcasing a lavish lifestyle. I hope you noticed on social media during the festive season that many took their children and families on holiday and appeared to spend a lot of money.
“They posted great pictures trying to show us everything including how they are breathing. If you take a lifestyle audit on some of them, you will be surprised. They stretch themselves to prove worthless points. They live for others.”
Views about slay queens differ. Award-winning fashion blogger Lillian Madyara, affectionately known as ‘Hollywood Lee’, said a slay queen is a lady who dresses sexy without showing too much skin. “You don’t need to be half naked to look sexy. A slay queen is someone who shares her fashion creativity with the world to inspire others. I chose to slay,” she said.
“It is also a fact that your typical slay queen never leaves home without makeup on. She can show up to the corner store in the middle of the night wearing a full face of makeup and, most likely, a pair of high heels.
“Heels and short tight dresses is what slay queens’ love most.” However, the fact that slay queens wear makeup all the time does not mean that they are all good at it. Most of them are experts at using retouching apps and software on their mobile phones. The selfies that they post so frequently on social media are face-tuned so much that you will probably never recognise them on the streets.
If you somehow manage to catch one of them without any makeup on, do not be too shocked by the striking difference between what you see before you and what they post online.
Then there is another dimension that says every slay queen is a party animal. “Every weekend, or sometimes even during the week, you can see her at the fancy bars, clubs an similar places dancing on her ridiculously high heels, drinking a colourful cocktail by the bar or drunkenly stumbling in or out of a cab.
“If you are (un)lucky enough, you might even catch a whole flock of them, huddled together with their lips pursed and selfie hands outstretched in search of the best selfie angle and lighting,” said an owner of a local elite club.
Social media fanatic Thomas Chizhanje said a slay queen cannot live without her social media.
“They are girls who do not have a wealthy background but appear as if they do.
“They use malicious acts to attain cash, drink expensive alcohol, procure expensive cellphones but back at home she’s a chicken chaser,” he said. “95 percent of slay queen’s Instagram profiles are her pictures. Mirror selfies, restaurant pictures and club pictures among others, every minute of her flashy life has to be documented.
“The poses slay queens usually take in their photos are unnatural and uncomfortable, as they have to gather in their stomachs, curve their legs and jut out their chests and behinds,” said Chizhanje. Other men interviewed by this reporter on how they find this phenomenon said, for some slay queens, the end goal is to find a man. “What do you think is about that for? Slay queens are after men and not just any man; he has to be filthy rich and he needs to worship them and the ground they walk on”, said
Welly Nyaumwa of United Kingdom who is on holiday in Zimbabwe. Renowned pilot-cum-disc jockey Tapuwa Mhlanga a.k.a T-Fresh said in layman’s language, a slay queen is a woman who wants to choke everyone else with how beautiful they feel they are and how they do their “cool stuff”.
She has to keep up with all make-up and accessories trends. Slay queens have been a subject of scrutiny to the extent that some have negatively and comically pointed out that the queens put flowers on their heads to pay respect to their dead brains.
The versions and perspectives about slay queens are diverse, but it is a fact that they will always show style on social media. Whether they portray real or fake lifestyles, slay queens will always show you a fabulous lifestyle on their postings. The Herald.