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…