News

May 2019

A quick April roundup before our updates for May:

We had essays in two new publications last month. The first was in the Advocate, and challenged the widespread notion that the recent election of Chicago’s first Black lesbian mayor, Lori Lightfoot—a corporate lawyer and federal prosecutor—was a victory for Black queer Chicagoans. The second was printed in the Chicago Reader, and reflected on the key successes of the #NoCopAcademy campaign. As youth- and community-led movements make headway in mainstreaming fights against austerity and militarization, holding newly-elected officials accountable, and demanding the redistribution of our city’s resources, we encourage you to keep supporting grassroots abolitionist organizing in Chicago and elsewhere.

We also led a Linking Anti-Blackness and Anti-Immigration workshop on April 16th as part of the Demilitarization School. The three-day summit, hosted by American Friends Service Committee and the War Resisters League, brought together youth leaders from across Chicago, uniting global struggles for justice through the framework of demilitarization. It was inspiring!

On Saturday, May 18th we’ll be teaching a bilingual Linking Anti-Blackness and Anti-Immigration workshop for Organized Communities Against Deportations’ monthly asamblea comunitaria, affirming Black and Brown solidarity in resisting the policing of all our communities. OCAD played a major role in the successful battle to permanently end Cook County’s racist gang database. Their work is indispensable, and it’s a joy to support them and their members!

We’re returning on Friday, May 17th to the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council’s Annual Youth Summit, teaching a new workshop for Black and Brown students on the school-to-prison pipeline. BPNC boasts some of the baddest youth organizers in the city, was a key endorsing org of the #NoCopAcademy campaign, and works hard for poor, worker, immigrant, and youth power. If we like how this new workshop goes, we may add it to our permanent roster!

On that note, we’re taking a break from vogue instruction, and so have removed Intro to Voguing and Vogue and the Prison Industrial Complex from our roster of workshops. Feel free to reach out and ask, based on the needs of your group, what we are available to teach, but be prepared that our voguing workshops may be off the table.

BH

April 2019

In a break from the usual, we’re beginning the month with a video shoot! We’ll be making a (tiny) cameo in Tasha’s music video for Take Care/New Place. Tasha has been one of our co-strugglers for years, and we’re honored to celebrate her by being a small part of this new piece, alongside some other Black women and femmes from Chicago who we’ve long admired and respected. Keep an eye out for the video drop!

We also appeared in a promo for The Coalition to End Money Bond. The coalition is calling for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices to open a public hearing, and is also hosting a People’s Convening on Money Bond in Springfield this July. Sign their petition, and support their work!

On Friday, April 12th we’ll be leading an hourlong Intro to Voguing workshop for students at Highland Park High School as part of the FOCUS on the Arts Festival. Prioritizing trans and queer students of color, this workshop will briefly ground students in the history of vogue as a form of creative rebellion, then make space for each participant to create and share their own phrase of movement. Passing on the practice of resistance is a key part of our own artistic process, and we’re excited to join forces with these dedicated students.

ArtsEverywhere, an online publication of the Musagetes Foundation, is republishing “Vogue Is Not For You,” an essay we wrote in 2015. To elaborate on how some of our teaching practices have shifted since we first wrote the piece, we’ll be sitting down with icon Pony Zion at the New School in NY on April 19th to discuss the history of vogue, our individual philosophies as instructors, and the distinctions between exchange, appropriation, and commodification. We’ll share the full article and interview here once they’re published.

BH

March 2019

We’re so grateful to our good judy Bria Royal who has designed the new logo for our website! Bria is a Chicago-bred, Afro-Boricua animator, illustrator, and general badass who’s work we highly recommend you spend some time with. Thanks boo!

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ll be teaching a specialized Intro to Voguing workshop for Jane Addams Hull-House Museum‘s Chosen Family Day on March 24th. This multi-generational session will be called Move The Way You Move, and will encourage participants to celebrate their own unique ways of moving, unfettered from judgement.

Hull-House was the first place in Chicago we showed the entirety of our solo performance piece Dancer As Insurgent. We’re grateful to be back in this supportive space, teaching students of all ages the liberatory roots of voguing, its message that in order to properly love ourselves and each other, we must show up and fight hard.

It’s a lighter month of freelancing for us, because it’s going to be a heavy month for the #NoCopAcademy campaign, which we have supported from its inception. Black and Brown youth have been fighting the construction of a $95 million police academy in the West Garfield Park neighborhood for a year and a half, demanding those funds be put into closed schools and mental health clinics, and all the other resources that prevent violence rather than punish it. As mayor Rahm Emanuel leaves office, the struggle is coming to a head. We’ll be supporting our city’s youth, and you should, too!

See you at City Hall on March 13th to say #NoCopAcademy!

BH