Director Kemar Jewel released a stunning video showcasing Black trans and queer performers vogue for Black Lives Matter as a powerful protest against police brutality and discrimination.
After being verbally and physically attacked by police while attending a Black Lives Matter protest in May, Jewel decided to use his art as a way of speaking out against this oppressive system. Jewel told them, “I was angry but didn’t say anything because I already knew how that situation would end up. I was upset and cried the entire way home. Later that week, I decided to turn my anger into art.”
Jewel swiftly created the dance video Vogue 4 #BlackLivesMatter, showing Black queer and trans performer posing and stunting in front of police. With funds raised from 60 GoFundMe patrons, his video was released on June 26.
Speaking with HuffPost, Jewel shared, “I think people need to be a part of a revolution the best way they know how, and the way I know how is through movement. I’ve always been an activist, and being able to continue that work through my art is powerful to me.”
Jewell further stated, “When we say ‘Black lives matter,’ that includes Black queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people as well. These individuals should be celebrated for living their authentic lives in a world that usually only celebrates them for 30 days in June.”
Accompanied by Byrell the Great’s Bubble Drip, the dance group vogue and pose for Black Lives Matter through New York’s Greenwich Village. They hold signs reading Protect Black Trans Women and raise their fists in solidarity.
Vogue 4 #BlackLivesMatter serves as both a protest against police brutality and a celebration of the Black queer community. The dance troop honours this artform’s long history, from Harlem’s ballroom scene and even further back than the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
Across the world, queer lives have found hope and power in voguing, as highlighted by the documentary Deep in Vogue about Manchester’s ballroom scene. Co-filmmaker Amy Watson expressed, “Whatever you are, whatever you’ve got to show, whatever you need to work out or explain on a stage about yourself, you’re welcome to.”
Near the end of Vogue 4 #BlackLivesMatter, it declares, “Dedicated to all of the brave Black and Brown, Queer, Trans, and Gender Non-Conforming people around the world fighting for change. We see you!”
You can watch the full Vogue 4 #BlackLivesMatter video here:
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