Human Rights Campaign Foundation in Association with Partners Beeline Productions & Shady Gang Announce “The Equality Ball,” A Celebration of Black, Queer Culture

by HRC Staff

The Equality Ball will honor and elevate the vibrance and joy of Ballroom culture—a monument of the Black and Brown queer community

LAS VEGAS— Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, presents The Equality Ball, in association with Beeline Productions and the Shady Gang, with support from BeyGOOD Foundation—bringing authentic ballroom culture to Las Vegas directly from the source. The  Equality  Ball  will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 27, 2023, at the Palms Casino Resort, and to celebrate and uplift the beauty of Black and Brown, queer joy. 

Ballroom culture is a progressive and innovative community that was founded by queer people of color, particularly Black and Brown transgender pageant performers.The Equality Ball is a friendly competition that creates a safe space for individuals to showcase their ability to artistically express themselves. An event in celebration of expression and inclusion while showcasing fashion, style, pose, poise, grace and various forms of artistic abilities. The ball will be highlighting the legendary House of Basquiat and the newly founded KiKi house of FUBU as well as professional choreographers and dancers in the community.

“Ballroom culture is synonymous with the Black queer community—it creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ people at a time when being your authentic self was dangerous. But let’s not get confused, it’s still dangerous for us—Black and Brown trans women are facing an epidemic of fatal violence, and just within the past week, O’Shae Sibley, a Black queer man, was brutally murdered for vogueing. The Equality Ball serves as another space for those who feel overlooked to take center stage and let the world know that—as Beyoncé sings—you won’t break our souls,” said Human Rights Campaign President, Kelley Robinson. “There is hate out there, but nothing can break our souls. We see the community’s resilience in our own programs—in the leadership of advocates who work in our Trans Justice Initiative, in the unlimited potential that shines through students in our HBCU program, and in the work we do with Black and Brown leaders advancing health equity, inclusive workplaces and schools free of bullying and bias. Despite the challenges facing our community, we continue to celebrate this renaissance of freedom and self-love and honor the Black and Brown, queer and transgender pioneers who paved the way for us to live our best lives.” 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation unequivocally stands with Black and Brown queer leadership, without exception. The Equality Ball will be offering numerous resources and services to the community members in attendance including, HIV testing, voter registration and direct access to information about local LGBTQ+ programs and initiatives. These critical services align with the HRC Foundation’s commitment with racial equity and programs that are committed to using a racial equity lens to directly serve and improve the lives of Black and Brown queer communities.

BeyGOOD Foundation, the public charity founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, is honored to make a contribution in support of these needed services for the community.

Human Rights Campaign President, Kelley Robinson, will be attending The Equality Ball, which is being spearheaded by Executive Producers Lena Giroux Zakalik, Carlos Irizarry, and Stephanie “Packrat” Whitfield — all prominent professional dancers and choreographers for high-profile artists in the entertainment industry. The Shady Gang (Carlos and Packrat, both queer artists of color) will be co-directing the ball and together have over 20+ years of experience in the ballroom community and have organized Balls in Ballroom culture for years. They have worked for artists such as Madonna, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Estelle, Ashlee Simpson, Camilla Cabello, Calvin Harris, and many more. They also appeared on the hit show Legendary on HBOMax. Creator & Director Lena Giroux Zakalik, is BIPOC, CEO of Beeline Productions, a woman-owned production company in Las Vegas, which is extremely rare. She is a veteran in the entertainment industry who has danced for artists such as Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Amerie, Outkast, Chaka Khan and Cher. Her choreography credits range from Disney’s "The Cheetah Girls" national tours to assisting choreographer for the PussyCat Dolls (PCD’s) MTV award winning video “Buttons.”

For more information about tickets, pre-register at

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email