LAS VEGAS— On Sunday, August 27th The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, in association with Beeline Productions and the Shady Gang, and with support from BeyGOOD Foundation, held the inaugural Equality Ball—bringing authentic ballroom culture to Las Vegas at Palms Casino Resort to celebrate and uplift the beauty of Black and Brown queer joy.
Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson spoke during the ball, sharing her views on what it means to be a Black, queer person:
“Ballroom culture is where queerness and Blackness come together—where generations of us have found chosen families and safe spaces. Tonight we celebrate our roots — and declare that we will not be uprooted. So, let’s dance like O’Shae Sibley did, let’s live it up like Koko Da Doll did, and work to make sure that what happened to them will never happen again. Tonight, we adhere to the iconic mother of the House of Renaissance, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and declare, you won’t break our souls. We must be proud, we must show up. If you’ve got a Pride flag, wave it. If you’ve got a vote, use it. If you have a folding chair—well, I don’t need to tell you—don’t ever give up your seat.”
The Equality Ball teemed with professional, acclaimed entertainers, performers, dancers, actors and drag queens, including:
Kevin Aviance, a member of the House of Aviance, and whose song "Cunty" is sampled in Beyoncé's Renaissance album.
Precious Basquiat, a commentator in Ball for Culture that was featured in Viceland's docu-series "My House.”
Brian Michael Smith, a transgender actor who has appeared in The L Word: Generation Q, Queen Sugar, 911: Lone Star and Disclosure.
Miss Lawrence, an actor and singer that starred in movies such as Bros and The United States vs. Billy Holiday, and TV shows Star and Fashion Queens.
Elliott with two T’s, a prominent drag queen that competed on season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The Equality Ball had five main categories that the Houses competed in: Face, Runway, Virgin Vogue, Sex Siren, Drags Best Dressed and OTA Performance Bring it Like Beyonce. The Ball’s competition programming had five judges:
Jack Gorgeous Gucci (Mizrahi), an icon in ball culture and the father of the house of Gorgeous Gucci. He is a pioneer of ballroom culture and works as a writer and producer for shows involving Ballroom.
Dashaun Wesley, the iconic father of the House of Basquiat and was the host of Legendary on HBO MAX! He has also been featured in POSE, Vogue Evolution on “America’s Best Dance Crew” and Viceland's "My House."
Twiggy Pucci Garçon, the Overall “Overseer” of the Legendary International House of Comme des Garçon, consultant and runway choreographer for Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-nominated hit, POSE.
Ricky Holman aka Legendary Ricky 007, who made history by being the first Pretty Boy Realness of the west coast in 2005 and is a member of the House of Prodigy.
Jennifer Barnes-Balenciaga, an advocate who has dedicated her life to ensure advancement of gender equity and inclusion and is a member of the House of Balenciaga, an institution of the ballroom scene.
Additional photos linked here.
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