“Strangest and gaudiest of all Harlem spectacles in the ’20s, and still the strangest and gaudiest, is the annual Hamilton Club Lodge Ball at Rockland Palace Casino. I once attended as a guest of A’Lelia Walker. It is the ball where men dress as women and women dress as men… it was fashionable for the intelligentsia and social leaders of both Harlem and the downtown area to occupy boxes at this ball and look down from above at the queerly assorted throng on the dancing floor, males in flowing gowns and feathered headdresses and females in tuxedoes and box-back suits.”
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, Black Lives Matter is winning immediate improvements in the lives of people of color.
Today we address a feminist icon, civil rights legend, and queer revolutionary, Barbara Smith, one of the longest and most committed activists to freedom and justice for all people. She’s 73 years old today but age has hardly slowed her down. As she is still actively sought after by people from all walks of life. Smith’s 50 plus years of social justice advocacy makes her one of the most knowledgable and qualified civil rights leaders in the world. An incredible feat for anyone, but especially a black lesbian born in the middle of the Jim Crow era. How did she manage to become the fierce leader she is today? Well, let’s start back at the beginning.
Billy Porter has come to redefine the industry and shatter every boundary and binary in his way. Though he’s been in the industry for over 30 years it’s only in the last few that this incredible star had been getting the recognition he deserves. A conscious choice made when Porter chose his authenticity over fame; a decision few would have had the tenacity to follow through on. But today his hard work, dedication, and unwavering moral stance have earned him the role of a lifetime. Starring as the enigmatic Pray Tell on the hit TV show Pose, Porter serves us Ballroom Culture realness as he emcee’s the nightly challenges. But before we get to that, let’s start back at Billy’s childhood. *And before we start. We do want to add a trigger warning as we will be discussing sexual abuse and trauma*.
As the name suggests, this day was created to focus on the specific epidemic of HIV & AIDS in black communities. And like everything that racism and bigotry touches, the AIDS crisis has been no different. We are not going to go into the full history behind AIDS as we will discuss that in June when we finally cover the AIDS epidemic. However, in this episode we will discuss the many biases and overt as well as subtle racism that prevented early treatment in black and brown communities. We will also give a fairly thorough explanation of HIV and AIDS and address some of the stigma around the virus.