by Brittany Higgs
The timing couldn’t be better for an all-Black kiki ballroom house to come to the spotlight. The Royal House of Noir is a house of talented and devoted performance artists and community activists in the greater Seattle area. There are currently a total of six members: house parents Lü (she/they/Queen), Chi (they/she/Queen), and CarLarans (he/they/King) and children Avery (they/he), Aísha (she/her/goddess), and Elle (she/her/duchess) Noir. These six individuals are taking the community by storm with their intentionality, mindfulness, and focus on community safety and liberation.
Continue reading The Royal House of Noir: Seattle’s All-Black Kiki Ballroom House
by Shann Thomas
Dr. Stephaun E. Wallace already had a lengthy list of job titles: the director of external relations for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s (Fred Hutch) HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), faculty appointments at Fred Hutch and the University of Washington (UW), as a staff scientist and clinical assistant professor respectively, in addition to launching the inaugural Office of Community Engagement for the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, Wallace expanded his current job as director of external relations for HVTN to include the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), which coordinated all major COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trials except Pfizer-BioNTech’s.
Wallace smiles, and says, “My mother and my team accuse me of … being a triplet; because they’re like ‘We don’t understand how one person can do all that you do and still … absorb as much information’ as I do, and have the mastery of having to categorize it and spit it back out without much concern or draw there.”
Continue reading Behind the Mask: Public Health Innovator Dr. Stephaun E. Wallace
by Mark Van Streefkerk
The fifth anniversary of Legendary Children, a celebration of QTBIPOC art, performance, and ballroom culture, takes the virtual stage this Saturday, November 21. Featuring the work of 25 creatives, including six houses, the star-studded event spotlights the creativity and fierceness of queer and trans Black and Brown communities in the Pacific Northwest. Hosted by CarLarans and Aleksa Manila, Legendary Children will include live house music from DJ Riz Rollins and video content from Seattle Public Library (SPL) artist-in-residence Momma Nikki. Last year the event was held at the Seattle Art Museum in partnership with SPL and other community partners. Due to the pandemic, this year the glitz, glamor, and talent will be live streamed via Facebook and YouTube with production help from Michael B. Maine. The free event begins at 8 p.m. this Saturday, and those wanting to participate in the virtual runway are encouraged to RSVP for a Zoom link here.
Multi-disciplinary artist Dakota Camacho and performer and artist Adé are co-curators of the event, with guidance from curator-at-large and icon Dr. Stephaun Wallace (Blahnik). Through the unique opportunities of an online platform, Wallace encouraged Legendary Children to reach beyond the spectacle of ballroom culture to its foundation of QTBIPOC community care. The artistry and resilience of ballroom has sustained queer and trans Black and Brown communities for decades, including during the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, adverse political administrations, and now COVID-19.
SPL’s Public Engagement Programs Manager, Davida Ingram, said, “Stephaun Wallace asked us to consider, ‘What’s the substance of house and ball culture?’ Yes it’s fashion, yes it’s fierceness, yes it’s bold, and at its essence is about radical care and love and nurturing.”
Continue reading Legendary Children Takes the Virtual Stage, Celebrating Ballroom and QTBIPOC Culture
by Jasmine M. Pulido
She was my mentor.
Not in an ethereal, vague way. But in a literal way. She was assigned to me through the Alphabet Alliance of Color’s summer institute where experienced local QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community organizers pass down their skills to newer ones. We were prompted to pick our top three choices for mentors and, I’ll be honest, Constance Blakeley wasn’t in my top three. My top pick — an Asian American columnist writing about social justice, culture, and equity with a focus on marginalized communities. I thought the best pick for me would be someone with a similar background, in profession or in identity, or both.
Continue reading In Memory of Constance Blakeley: A Transcestor Too Soon
I couldn’t have been more wrong.