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Episode 009 - Let's Share Stories vol. 2

Let’s Share Storie is an audio profile series highlighting the legacy of the House and Ballroom scene through the legends and icons who’ve paved the way! In this second installation of our LSS series we hear a heart-warming journey from the one and ONLY Icon Meeka AlphaOmega (ex-Prodigy), as well as two tales of Baltimore from the butchqueens who were raised there: Legendary King James West and Icon Marquis revlon, who made their name in the scene there.

Part 1 - King James West

Part 2 - Meeka Alpha Omega

Part 3 - Marquis Revlon

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Brandon: I’d like to offer that we-oop he cute!-um, so I’d like to offer that we reclaim the word shablam, and deathdrop, honestly. So this is what I’m suggesting: you walk down the steps and you texting and you really into it, you miss a step, and the next thing you know you go tumbling down… bitch that’s a shablam. When you not paying attention cuz you too busy bird-watching the meat on a piece of trade and you walk into a tree, bitch that’s a shablam. Or when you jump the curb on your bike and you fall… that’s a deathdrop. Hopefully y’all don’t die. So maybe we don’t reclaim deathdrop and we just leave that alone and let the drag race girls continue to misuse the term. But anyway, let’s get back to queer.

[Let Get’s Back To Queer theme music by Byrell the Great]

Brandon: Welcome to Let’s Get Back To Queer, a mixxy podcast that explores the mundane, magical, and sometimes messy experiences of Black queer and trans culture. I’m your host Brandon Nick.

I am so excited to be presenting Let’s Share Stories volume two! This series is an audio portrait that highlights the legacy of ballroom through stories from the legends and icons that paved the way, in their words! This is our version of an LSS and this second volume features some of my favorite voguing performers. Aight y’all, let’s just get into it!

King James West: So James was like a young, normal gay kid. Um, I was not very secure with myself. Um, I felt like I wanted to be a certain somebody, I'm not sure who it was. I just wanted it to be more important or I want it to feel more important.

Once I learned how to dance, it was like, it was pretty much up for me. It was like, baby, I need to be in every dance group, that's that's hot right now. I started to become a tad bit, more popular in like the dance scene that I was a part of. And like, Baltimore club dancing was my thing. I want to be a part of like every competition they had when we went to clubs, parties, um, shake and bake. I felt like I'm gonna hit this floor at some point, like and if you think you're good, let's do it. Like I wanted you. Let’s get high, let’s get high. Like, that was one of our lil, um, songs. Um, you keep on fucking around I'm going to go get my guns… oh my god its so many songs I could name that people used to dance to.

Growing up gay in Baltimore, so no shade, like, Baltimore is just bangy. Like we had to kind of teach Baltimore society how to treat us. Um, and that meant sometimes beating they ass, that meant spraying it with mace. You was faggots, you was, um, sissies. You was a punk and just honestly you was a target at that point. You were looked at like you were weak. If I felt outnumbered, if I felt like I just couldn't handle what was in front of me, I was spray em. If I could fight they ass, I fight them.

So, um, gladly, I came out with the people that I came out with because a part of me being insecure, I felt like I wasn't strong enough for so many different reasons. The people I came up with: Mook, who is still around, um, Dannika, who is known as Crash, now; Trouble who is still trouble. I like, I owe a lot of like thanks to them because they gave me a lot of strength that I have to standing up to another man and feeling man enough to compete with them at whatever it may be. Shortly afterwards I met like Damon. Um, I met Clinton and like if I had to say my top five, like protectors, um, supporters, inspirations, like for so many different reasons, like those were my top five people who made me kind of who I am. First of all, I met them. Right. And I didn't know anything about ballroom. I just seen them vogue. And then we started Project Olympus. And when I started going to Project Olympus, like they would be in their voguing and like, nobody cared to be listening to club music. So I was like, oh, let me play around with them. Let's start playing around with them in there. And then like, I started to kind of find vogue a little fun. Like imma say being fair, 16 is when I really started to get into ballroom and I have not stopped since.

Ballroom in Baltimore right now is tired. Baltimore has no ballroom scene at all whatsoever. We don't have Bunns anymore. We don't have the paradox anymore. We don't have really any venues where we can even have like a weekly or monthly, um, ball. So like the ballroom here is dead. And what makes it even worse is that there are so many talented people here in Baltimore that really being wasted right now. Ballroom in Baltimore was fun. Like ballroom and Baltimore was like, I miss those days when I was a Virgin vogue coming out. We had the paradox. We had Bunns. Actually at one point I feel like Bunns was having like balls maybe almost twice a week, just naturally. Our scene was so much more relevant , and it's so funny, people in general. But like, we don't appreciate anything that's too accessible. So seeing Bunns every week and knowing that it's there and then having the paradox every week and knowing that it's there, like people just kind of read it, they talked about it. Now we'll have nothing at all. And everybody's just kind of like, oh I miss Bunns. Yeah, I bet you do. Like bitch, when it was here. We had to be able to go here, whatever we wanted to and y'all was reading it down. Are you going out tonight? Bitch, I'm not going to no Bunns. Oh, because it's so accessible, that you just, you above it. You can't go. Um, you don't want to go no more. You ain't, you wouldn't be caught dead in Bunns. And by now we don't have nothing to do nothing at all to do. And everybody, I just really - the Bunns, that was a good days. Yeah I’m sure.

Buns and Paradox, whether people wanna admit it or not made us in Baltimore, who we are, um, like all of my mistakes and flaws and the tiredest clips that I have was in Buns, no shade. And they made me who I am. Like Bunns made a lot of our, our voices and talents here in Baltimore feel relevant because they was able to practice them there, right there in Bunns. The paradox was like a huge club that was open from like probably nine at night to fuckig six in the morning. And when we was having balls there. If they let us go, they would let us go and tell eight. Like people just don't know how to appreciate things. And me personally, I miss the paradox. I went there. Bitch, I put on my best outfits to go there. It's a huge club, like one huge ass room, a huge hallway, a whole convenience spot where you can eat chicken boxes, chicken strips, potato chips, hot dogs, pizza, candy, soda, anything you wanted was right there or right across from you had a whole seating area. You had a whole nother direction you can go and just sit and there's really nothing there. They had a little photo booth right there with a little fake basketball court was at, a whole nother section beside that where you could just kind of mingle sit around whole seat and then then a whole nother room with like techno music, a floor, DJ booth, seating area. Like, hold on. I ain't even done. And a whole outside that connects you back over to the big room… Bunns and Paradox was definitely two of our monumental places.

The house of west is like really the world to me. The mission for me starting my own house was to make a new movement in ballroom so that ballroom can evolve and get away from it's old ways. I feel like,, what surprises me the most is like how much, like your dedication can actually push you in, like how far it can get you so fast. Me and Africa, X Revlon, started the house of west. We came out in North Carolina. We was introduced to the scene by Jack and we had on all white. That was like our like welcome into ballroom, um, in a purist way. Because I wanted people to know we came into ballroom with no malice, no shade, like planned, or like we came with nothing but pure intentions to love and, and, and make ballroom better. So it was good to me because I felt like it's party time.

The house of west is a family. And that, that applies to like goods and bads. Like I've seen people in the house of west, um, argue, I've even seen people in house of west fight each other behind closed doors and then got to a ball and act as if it didn't happen. like our bond is just so crazy that like, you're not coming to west. It's really not a loss for us as a loss for you.

We have fun. We like, we was at a ball before, probably one of the biggest balls of the year, last year. And two of our house member's birthday was that day. So while the ball was going on? We turned our backs to, I'll tell you when we sang happy birthday to our member. We went to a ball the year before that year and a couple of months, actually, it was like labor day, weekend, labor day, weekend. We was in Atlanta. We was at the ball. We was in there, dressed up everything, having a nice time. We had people walking. We didn't win, not one category that night, but we were so enthusiastic in the front of that stage. We was having so much fun. Like we didn't win anything. One, one another house leader had said to, like when somebody I know, like the West fucking was was enjoying themselves. Like they was paying that ball no mind. Like they was kind of like walking out there, doing whatever they was doing. And then like at the table, just vibing, just being a key and joining us that was, I don't know what they was saying, but I really enjoy watching them interact.

A lot of ballroom didn't see the house of West prevailing. We didn't expect our house to go as far as it did. So it being where it is speaks volumes to like how people in our house feel. Where the house was, was after the first year. I didn't expect for five years. Like, we've done it, we've done it. We changed the whole dynamic of what ballroom is. Because the talent wasn’t the question, the talent was the answer.

And I’m like, actually at this moment, I’m the youngest overall father in ballroom. And like, if I have to say so myself, my house was definitely one of the top three. And I can honestly say like, these last three years has been like a lot more fun than I've had in ballroom as a leader, um, before. It was that it was way more fun nowadays. I actually enjoy being around the west more than I enjoy being in the ball.

I feel like everything that's happening in my life happened because of ballroom. I learned like, okay, some people actually, they own houses and stuff like that. And like, I've told myself when I was like 23, like I want to own a house by the time I'm 30. And that came from seeing people in ballroom. So I like ended up getting to my house when I was 29.

I really, really wanted a home with like a bathroom attached to my bedroom. Must have just naturally with space for me. Like I needed to have space, um, to the point where I had my closet built. I definitely wanted to have like a good neighborhood. So when I found this house and I knew I liked it, I would drive through here at like random times a day.Like, what is this? Like at 10 o'clock at night? What is this? Like at eight o'clock in the morning? What is this? Like at three o'clock on a Sunday, on a, on a, on a summer day, like I wanted to see these kinds of things. So once I started looking at this house, over the months of me waiting to get here, I came and I'm like, looking like, let's see, let's feel this out for a second. At one point, I even came down here and like sat outside work on my computer, like I just was like sitting outside, just like watching the atmosphere. And I was like, okay, this is cool.

My gay mom Monique who helped me find my house came. I met her through ballroom. Like every, I went to about 30 houses. She was at every single one of them with me looking at them like, um, what about this? How do you address this? I don't think we like this one. So when we first seen this house, um, we came in, I liked the, like the, I liked the atmosphere in general. I got here in August, so it was like a nice fall look in here. She was like, I'm really happy that you finally found what works for you. And like, she loved the house. I love the house. I was like, let's go and let's do it.

You know, people kind of question, why am I so like into ballroom? Why am I so passionate about it? Like, for me, ballroom is honestly way more than just what's inside of a ball. Like ballroom is like the leadership role I play, the different personalities that I've been around. Like baby, thanks to ballroom people, I'm from Baltimore, and I say, dog. Like I grew up saying, Doug, I have two dougs downstairs. No, I have two dogs downstairs. Ballroom has played such a huge part of like who I am today and which is why I don't feel like necessary at all to turn my back on ballroom. I honestly feel like ballroom has brought me way more positive than negative, period.

Everything I felt like I wanted when I was younger, like, um, not only did I find it in ballroom, but like I literally grew into who I am in ballroom. Um, so like a huge part of that was, um, finding that confidence. Young James would just be so much more comfortable knowing that older James is going to be who he is. Like you, that person, you feel like you, you don't even know who it is yet, but you want to be, you're going to get there. You're going to be important. You're going to be, um, somebody that people love and you're going to be that person that everybody needs one of. Like, I feel like I genuinely in the most comfortable and humble way feel like everybody needs a James, everybody.

Brandon Nick: Hiiii qmunity, before we get into the next story, which is everythiiiing, I have a simple favor to ask of y’all… support Let’s Get Back To Queer by showing us some love on social media, and encourage your friends to check us out! Qmunity is how we grow and succeed in this world. So thank y’all in advance for y’all support, or whatever. Alright y’all, no more interruptions, let’s get into the next story.

Meeka: Any person who existed before me who existed and thrived and was their authentic self paved the way for me. You were a part of something that now I'm a part of that I get to enjoy and appreciate and pick up and put down at my leisure. That's a privilege. And so I honor every person who helped to create ballroom, um, because without them, I wouldn't, I wouldn't be here.

So when I was coming up and I, fucking talking about coming up and I'm some old bitch, but anyway, We were young runaways, like sleeping on park benches and doing to just survive. Like you, you, if you was out at that time, you was going to be connected to ballroom. At some, you're going to run into somebody. You're going to be at a club with someone, people like people would come in ballroom like Mystery and all those people would just be walking in the club and then they'll just create like a little crowd around them and just make a moment, and that's really kind of how it was.

My first house was Infinity. Like Hector was like really was very protective of me. It was great because I've never felt that before. I didn't really feel like that before where someone really wanted to just like, hold me close in that way. Like outside of my family, and the infinities really fucking loved on me. And at that time there wasn't a lot of black kids in the house. Um, I, I didn't know that the founder of that house was actually black. Of course I left infinity and I went to Chanel and then after that, um, I became an Ebony. Um, and then we left Ebony and then we became P R O’s.

I used to also like hang out, like my friends used to also hang out with, in drag me to different people's house, like Tim Liviticus who lived up in the Bronx. And he had like Tim Leviticus back then I think was like the ballroom throwbacks, cuz he had all these tapes. And I think I would borrow some and I would just watch them. And these were on like VHS. There was no like pausing and like, oh, like clips, right? So you had to like watch the whole wall, rewind, go back. So you had to like get into everything, um, rather than just like pulling it up on YouTube and watching a clip of what you want to do.

And then of course you have people who performed like Celeste at that time, um, my mother, you know, Nai, she, I, there was a tape that I used to just watch of her pretty much all the time where she had on a, um, she had on all black, she was young and it was a raised platform. Um, and I think she battled Ashley that night.

Performance is really trial and error for me. Like I just was in the house and just was like, like to tell you how like crazy it was. I was, I was like voguing to fucking vinyl. Um, Din Da Da, um, Witch Doktor. We didn't really hear the beats like that. Unless you were at like, you know, somewhere where you can actually hear it. So like, if you're at your house, it's like, well, what are you going to vogue to? Well, whatever's there, whatever sounds like it could be a beat, you know what I mean? And you're just going to practice. Um, so that's kind of like how things were to me. So like, when I say I hate The Ha, I really hate the fucking Ha because I don't, like, there was some points, I guess in the beginning where you're like, oh, okay, this is, I like this. But then like, you hear it, I've been in ballroom for over twenty-five years. So you're like, you hear it over and over and over and over and over again. And you're like, okay girl, like… I love anything that other than The Ha that makes me feel something, you gotta make me feel something.

I think Meeka is who you want her to be honestly, because I’m not her. I've allowed a lot of people maybe to define her at certain points in my life. She serves me in ballroom, mostly. Like ballroom really pushed me into a place where I had to kind of like be front and center at all times, which was very strange to me and very uncomfortable in a lot of ways. So I guess I had to be her in order to really navigate that space.

She's sensual. She's confident, she's bold. She's captivating, she's powerful. She's very, um, vain, you know. A lot of her performance, I think, kind of feeds into that whole voyeur-ish like, look at me. Whereas Miasha, I think, you know, is very, again, yeah, she's very maternal. She's very powerful. But I think is a different kind of power. It's a more Regal. Um, it's funny that I'm talking about myself like that. Like I, like, I like I'm talking about someone else, which is so strange because I don't talk about myself enough in that way. Um, but yeah, that's, that's who she is.

I will say a prayer, for something in the future. An experience in the future that I haven't yet had but there's something in me that's like, oh, I need to have this prayer. Before transitioning, I had to understand why, right? Like, I couldn't just like put transition on top of all the other shit that was there. Like before I transitioned or even thought about fucking transitioning, I was coming out of an abusive relationship that I almost died in. I was newly baptized ready to kind of like, just pray the gay away, honey, like, honey, I guess that's what I'm supposed to do. I'm going through all this shit in this relationship. And clearly, you know, this is not who I need to be. And it's like, my mind just went blank and I just started daydreaming. And I'm like, the fucking figure that popped in my head was with this woman. And I was like, what the fuck? I'm like why am I day-dreaming bout some cunt like, fuck is going on? And something said that's you. The biggest thing is the decision then the rest is just walking in that. From that, my life just shifted. I needed to say no to things that didn’t feel… right. I said yes to the journey, but then I had to say no to like the other shit that I knew was just like shit.

For myself, what defined me was, was being, and looking like the person that I saw in my mind, I did not want to look like, you know, my, my former self, the way I was presenting, just with a fucking wig on like that just would not fulfill me.

The first time I got pumped was down the street from the church I grew up in. Yeah. We didn’t have healthcare like we have today. We had, buy your hormones on 183rd street and get your needles from the same place. And then I'll just give you a shot. So you're giving yourself probably more than you need to. So we're like over-moned and all kinds of shit. And then, surgeries that you're having, a lot of them aren't, um, you know, like where the insurance that's money that you got to make, um, surgeons that are doing it out of the country or a fucking person that, that does injections to really make that happen. I encourage everyone to not do that now because there's no reason to do that now. So if you, if you can get it through insurance and connect with the provider, please do so, connect with a mental health therapist because you're not going to be able to do it all on your own, right? A lot of is spiritual, but a lot of its also medical and psychological and we need to get that shit fixed out too.

I didn't really start feeling sisterhood or seeing sisterhood until maybe until I was old enough to really understand it. Like I look back and I see all these amazing women that were on the floor with me that were coming out with me. I didn't call them sis. Sisterhood really became, um, more universal, I think, as I became more independent, I was able to really grow more spiritually, and, culturally, and really take a really hard to look at like just what it is, and how important, especially in listen, death will, will really fucking like put some shit into perspective, right? Seeing everyone around me, like everyone just dying, dying, dying, dying, dying. It's like, well, what the fuck? You know, it's bigger. It's bigger than this shit, whatever this is, right? Like, like we have to fucking form these relationships. We have to form these, let people know how much we care about them. If it wasn't for trans women, this shit wouldn't even happen. And trans women are constantly putting themselves on the fucking front line. They're the face of ballroom. They create the most fucking magic in ballroom, right. And to see the ways in which were exploited and treated, and pit against each other, and how we also internalize that shit and then do that to ourselves and each other it's fucked up. And so we need to really get a handle of that and really like really begin to start claiming our power and really walking into who the fuck we are and, and really understanding that it, it costs, right. So the people that want to attach themselves to us need to understand what that value is, and if they're not ready to pay up, then they don't, they don't deserve you, period. And I'm not just talking about monetary, right. I'm talking about in all fucking - if you can not feed me, you know, um, physically or emotionally or mentally and monetarily, then you need to get the fuck on. I think it's really time that a lot of trans women just take a fucking stance on ballroom –and call shit out. Right. Even if somebody is not in your house, when you see a motherfucker, especially when you see cis people doing on the runway to trans women that are clearly transphobic… speak up. t's clipped, it's fucking clipped.

Meeka Prodigy: Paving the way means that you have to understand that it doesn't start and end with you, right. That this is a marathon for our liberation, because this was started out of the liberation movement. So you have to at some point, pass the Baton or create something that's going to be sustainable for someone else, right. The way that someone did that for you. But understanding that it's bigger than just one person. That you have to be able to grow, and be open to receiving new truths. Community, like remembering that this is about community. Again, understanding what our power is. Being protective of it, understanding that as much as ballroom gives, that it also requires safekeeping. So that's what that means to me.

Marquis Revlon: The name of my book or biopic, If I came up with one, now it probably will be, "The Unforgettable Life of Marquis Revlon Clanton."

In Baltimore, marching band is like one of the littest cultures. This one parade, my mother always used to take me to, it was the, I am American day parade and they used to be up Patterson park. So like the parade would be like a big parade. When you in a marching band like on your regular life, if you very, very flamboyant, you might have a hard time or some trying times when you converting from point A to point B because of how society is. But then when you're in a marching band, it's kind of giving like, oh, we, we expect that. So when you go to a parade, like you can march through the hood and eat it up or you can actually be yourself free in the streets and cut up. I was in New Edition Marching Band, THE unforgettable New Edition Marching Band.

When I first started, I was playing cymbals, but I already knew I wanted to dance. I always loved to dance. We practice at least three times a week. We seen each other multiple time, so it became like your family. I met so many people through marching and through that is how I even learned ballroom. Like, when I joined the marching band and stuff, I was younger and a lot of the fabber gays was older and more experienced. And They was already in a house. Most of them that was, they was on my marching band they was all Revlons. Like at rehearsals, Revlon’s popping up. Snoopy was like the ringleader. Um, it was Peanut, it was Gerard, um, Dwayne, Gabby, Wyleek, Blonde Hair Tony, Beaver, Canarah, Garnet. So when I seen them going out, you know, when you start to learn your sexuality and you, you kinda know what you like and what turns you on. And then you hear them going to a place where that might feel like your world. You paying attention to conversations like, oh, okay. Like I can't wait till I can go one day. Especially when you hearing them talking and like oh yes child we just went to the club last night, bitch and we ate it, and we got our mega life, bitch. We turnt it out. You be giving like, okay bitch, yeah I want my mega life, whatever megalife is. I wanna turn it out, whatever that means. So that's how I ended up in a house from the marching band from the marching band and my friends being Revlon's.

I was inspired by a femme queen. I was looking at Daesja, honey and I, and I felt, I mean, I seen Daesja in the beginning, she was tall. She was boney. That was my inspiration, whatever I was going to bring up was given like, okay bitch, it's Boogala! That who's really inspired me to really take voguing serious. And that's why I think I ended up being soft and cunt, but I knew I had been soft and cunt because I could do every element, but dip in the beginning. And I was given like, oh my knees, my ankles, my feet, all that other stuff. So I was given like, oh, y'all just slamming. I gotta break that down. So I was given pussy, cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt, ow. But I can get crazy in a battle.

The house of Revlon mean to be unforgettable is to never be forgotten. So anything that you do make a moment and make it unforgettable, always be remembered.

Back in the day I wasn't really getting all the praises from the houses, but the girls that was walking in the category knew I was one of the ones. Like, you know how like your, your category of people already know like what is given, but then it's given like, okay, but all the commentators don't really know, all the other people don't really know. Like I have to make sure that they come up off of me.

I think the last time I was walking to Mugler ball and like, it was to the point that it was like intense and stuff like that. And I was going to through battles. As long as I'm going to the ball. All I heard was, don't play with her, motherfucking do her dirty. And I ki, but that really was a trigger in me. That was giving it like, okay, bitch I'm about to do her dirty. And nine times out of 10, you're going to be mad, but I'm not even going to address what you say. I'm not ever going to address a situation. I'm going to get on his floor and do her dirty. But imma smile inside because I know you're mad. Bitch I'll give you a hug before the battle. I'll give you a hug after the battle. But once it give girls, get ready, I clicked out. Like imagine giving a bitch a hug, warming her up, bitch yes sister down, warming her up. Then you and then it give and I give rage.

One of my things is I never wanted to see myself looking crazy or no clip or no, or no video going to the panel, like what happened? What's going on? Like you did what? Like, what's the chop for like, I'm going to go like, you know what I'm saying? Like you already kind of got chopped. So there's already a somewhat of embarrassment. Now you want to go and make a scene. Poor sportsmanship, I think that comes from when people are passionate and certain and stuff. And you know how on that shoulder, you have the good person and you had the bad person and the good person is saying, oh, pay it. But the bad person has said, oh bitch, don't pay it, make them know you. Sometimes I think they listen to that bad person, cuz they in the heat of the moment, being violence, being ghetto, just o’ turning up a ball and it's not, you know what just saying. And then of course the scene always quick to say oh bitch, they trying y'all or they trying it, and sometimes it's not always that. It's not always that sometimes you have to look at yourself and figure out, okay, was I all way on? Was that all a hundred percent on? Was I alway together? And then I always say, if you can take a 10, be able to take a chop, if you could take a win, be able to take a loss because ballroom is like a gamble. It's like playing the lottery. They might call your number and they might not, but that's the game. I don't never mind losing, but what you won't get it, but you won't get me easily. It's not going to give a sweep, it's not going to give 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. She stayed to the side. No, you get me. You're going to be given this. You gone need some water. Cause we're going to go in like that. We're going to go in. It's going to give questionable, bitch. It’s going to give like 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4. Like it's going to make you feel like, wait a minute, bitch. Like I can't just turn around and walk off. It's like, I got to give a little more. I got to watch his panel because bitch it can go either way. That's the type of vibe I give, I don't mind losing, but it's definitely not giving a sweep. Cause baby, like in the DMV area I was cleaning. I mean, I was cleaning in Baltimore. I was cleaning in DC. I was cleaning in Virginia. Like I was really cleaning up. But I felt like I traveled, but I felt like they just not coming up off me yet.

I think it was the first, it was the, the POCC that was in the park. I didn't, couldn't go. I was some way to tearing the streets up with my marching band. Somewhere eating the black top up. But then the next year when the Blahniks did the, um, Batman and the Milans had on the little graffiti and all this stuff. That's when it was the list. And know, when, when you get listed, those get tricky. Cause like you can, everybody can be telling you like, oh bitch, you should be on the list, but you really don't know the keeper that create the list. So when the list came out, I was given like well bitch like, damn girl. I ain't make the line up? I know I should have been in the line up! So then the next year the POCC came and I made the list. So when I made the list, that was the excitement for me. I was giving like, I don't even care if I win, I'm going to New York City and make a moment and they is going come up off of me.

I was thinking everything. I was thinking something that stand out, bitch, something that wake the room up. So when I was thinking about all of that, it was given like, okay, mysterious. I was given like, I could be something that's hidden. When I was thinking about standout, I was thinking like, oh, gold, bling, all that, like, you know, like stuff that really shine. Like bitch when you see the sun come out, you'd be like… what's going to wake it up. So then I was like, okay. I thought about all gold. Then I say, okay, like a treasure. Like when you find the treasure and stuff like that, you open the treasure. It just give it like what you just feel like, oh my God, like I'm about to be rich. It's diamonds. It's bling. It's money. It's coins, all that stuff. I said, okay, well, yes, I want to go a sickening gold body suit. And I went all of that on my bodysuit. Diamonds, rings, braces, broaches, coins. I want to look like, bitch, like a jewel. When Beyoncé, had came out with the, Who is it? Who is it? Who is it? I said, oh my God, that's the mysterious part. I'm coming out the treasure. I'm facing the opposite of the panel. And I'm given in the tribe. Who is it? Who is it? Who is it? Who is it? Then I turned around given, it's me Bitches. And just giving vogue, vogue down. Everything like that, too. And then I was given an okay, well bitch, like you got a nasty entrance, how is you gonna exit? I'm going to fall back like beautiful liar because cuz Beyoncé just came out and Shakira came out with beautiful liar. So I gave that. So I said well bitch, I'm going to fall back, like bitch in your arms and bitch, y'all just going to take me out here in the air.

That made them know it! That made them know it, so fiercely, I felt like that helped me get that helped me win. Sometimes when you make a moment, the moment lands you the win. Even though certain girls wasn't expecting that, because that was the year Pony was winning, winning, winning, winning. And that was the night he came up with the house of Zion, so they was up in there deep. So when I won over him for the last battle, it was given like, okay, I stopped his streak for winning. And I was kinda like, that was his house moment. So the children booed. They gave boo… but like I'm already confident boots. It's strictly business and the girls are coming up off of me tonight! It wasn't like a moment when I'm going in the back and I'm about to cry. Like, oh my God, they booed me. It's just giving like, oh bitch, I have arrived. And y'all just, can't take it.

When Kelly was walking face and everything and Kelly was given, oh, face is not just the category, it's a lifestyle. I feel like vogue is a lifestyle. Some things that you commit to and that you do more than just for a category and you actually like me with voguing, it's more than just a category. I’m teaching it, I’m being booked, I'm being in music videos, I'm working with artists, I'm doing photo shoots. I'm in magazines, you know, I'm doing a lot of different things with showcasing voguing. Everything that I, that I brand that I brand myself in, like Vogue is always attached to it.

Brandon: That’s our show y’all! Shout-out to my guests: the Icon, formerly of the house of Prodigy, Queen Mother, the Malicious Meeka Alpha-Omega, and my Baltimore homies- the Legendary King James West and the Icon Marquis Revlon. Thank y’all for sharing your stories, and thank you for all that y’all have done and contributed to ballroom. I live for y’all, deeply.

Thank you to our listeners for tuning into another episode of Let’s Get Back To Queer, if you enjoyed this episode then episode 4 will surely give you your mega-life! It features ballroom icons Rose Chanel Maison-Margiela, Tim Princess Lanvin, and Twiggy Pucci Garcon. Be sure to tell all your good-good-girlfriends to check us out as well!

This episode was edited by myself, with sound design from, the one and only, Evan Joseph. See y’all on the next one, byeeeee!

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