4.21.2017 | 11:15a – 12:30p | Asian American Cultural Center | Student Union, 4th Floor
Join us for a screening of “VOICES, VOLUME 1: Ballroom” by artist Jasmine Jones on Friday, April 21st at 11:15am in the Asian American Cultural Center at UCONN. After the screening, stay for a discussion with Jasmine and Chriss Sneed about identity and queer possibilities.
“Voices, Volume 1: Ballroom is a documentary about the Ballroom Scene, which is an LGBT based, predominately Black and Latino pageant-like competition that began during the Harlem Renaissance and still continues today. These competitions involve the physical transitions of transgender participants as well as performance-based events like Runway and Voguing. The dramatic costumes, brash terminology, wild performances, raw talent, and out of this world characters belie an array of human issues that are often overshadowed by the entertainment.
In the United States, the oppression of Blacks is not only deep in its execution but also in the ripple effects of abuse that linger even in moments success, when barriers are seemingly being broken down. Black people must constantly reinvent their identity, as Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll, and now Hip Hop & R&B are co-opted by others. The same thing is happening with the Ballroom Scene. The face of these cultural modes of expression changes from one group to another, over and over again.
How does the face of a non-dominant cultural expression change over time and why? Is there a pattern of “outsider” cultural innovators becoming hired help? Is the sharing and baring of underground gems of expression and talent, usually reflective of lived experience, being sold for the promise of financial stability, or the prospect of fame and travel and the respect gained as master of an art form? How do we celebrate the triumph, while identifying the tragedy in this process?
With Voices, Volume 1: Ballroom, I hope to empower minorities to love, embrace, and take ownership of their cultures. I wish to start a conversation about appropriation, fairness, intellectual property, and a kind of cultural racism that may be less deliberate, but equally destructive of a people.”