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Archive for August, 2012

The Other Side: Paris Still Burns – Columbus’s Ballroom Tale

I’ve been commissioned by Outlook Columbus, Central Ohio’s premiere lgbt publication, to write a new monthly column titled “The Other Side” that will offer stories and detailed analysis about the plights faced by gay people of color. I’ll be posting an excerpt from the story here each month with a link to the full story on Outlook’s Web site. Please support those who support us! 

If you think that Madonna was the impetus for the flipping, dipping and face-defying poses that started the vogue style of dance that’s become the calling of the modern day ball scene, you’re sorely mistaken. Though Madge’s video was released the same year director Jennie Livingston finished the ball-culture defining 1991 film Paris is Burning, the ball scene had been voguing in New York City since the Harlem Renaissance.

“Long before Madonna, we were voguing in the back alleys,” said Ronald Murray, 37, a ballroom veteran, known in the scene as Father Drama Evisu.

Soon after Paris is Burning, the movement began making its way out of NYC, across the country and around the world. “The scene,” as it’s often called, made its way to Ohio in the mid 90s, but Columbus’ first official ball wasn’t organized until 2004 during the city’s first Black Pride celebration.

For those unfamiliar with the world of voguing and underground ballroom glamour, here’s a quick overview and history…

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Writing to Live: Four Authors You Need to Know

Excerpt from a piece I wrote for Outlook Columbus’ August 2012 issue. Visit for the full story. 

If I asked you to name 10 published authors who are LGBT and of color (without the help of Google) could you do it? How about if I broadened the scope to mainstream authors, directors and actors? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

After becoming completely depressed at failing the above exercise myself, I sought out to find published authors that are LGBT of color to add to my very short list. The search first led me to a friend, which then led to a Pandora’s box of possibilities. Our writers are out there. But unfortunately they often go unnoticed on a national level.

Here are the stories of four writers of which you should definitely take notice…

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