Over the past few months, Teyana Taylor has been dropping music videos left and right for songs off her K.T.S.E. album. On Wednesday, “WTP” was the latest visual released, and it was filled with ball culture celebration.
Balls have been organized by LGBTQ people of color for decades now, and they’re continuing to get more recognition thanks to shows like Pose on FX and My House on Viceland.
During a ball, individuals or “houses” (a person’s adopted family) can compete in multiple categories, oftentimes for a cash prize, a trophy and maybe most importantly, “legendary” status. There are dozens of categories participants can walk in, but some of the most important ones fall under titles like Butch Queen (usually gay or queer men), Femme Queen (usually trans women or femmes), and of course voguing.
Voguing alone can be broken down into the new way and the old way of dancing.
The old way of voguing reached the national spotlight thanks to the 1990 movie Paris is Burning, and one of its main stars was Willi Ninja.
Willi’s angular, picturesque and precise style of voguing would go on to influence dancers around the world, and it even landed him appearances in music videos like Janet Jackson‘s “Alright” and “Escapade.”
The old way of voguing received an even bigger spotlight when Madonna released her music video for “Vogue” in 1990. Though the music video has been met with more critical eyes over the years, icons like Luis Xtravaganza and Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza represented for vogue culture in the wildly popular video.
As the years progressed, voguing started to evolve into a new way that many people are familiar with today. This style involves more acrobatic moves and difficult executions such as “duck walks,” “dips” or “death drops.” Masters like Dashaun Wesley, who appeared in Teyana Taylor’s video, have helped carry on this voguing tradition.
Now, with more light being shined on LGBTQ communities of color, voguing has had another resurgence in popular media.
Legendary voguers like Leiomy are showing off their skills in Nike commercials…
Even hip hop has been bitten by the vogue bug with Q-Tip featuring ball culture in the music video for his song with Demi Lovato “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
Dancer-singers like FKA Twigs have also kept voguing alive by taking it out of its traditional ballroom setting and placing it on the far edges of the world. FKA’s “Glass & Patron” definitely repped for the technique…
But no matter how far voguing or ball culture goes, it will forever be the product of queer imagination. It’s dedicated LGBTQ community of color will continue to exemplify those who dared to live, create and of course, have fun.