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Ballroom Has Something To Say

Wanderlust Wednesdays

Originally Aired: Wednesday, June 14, 2023


As part of The Greene Space’s Wanderlust Wednesdays series, artist and educator Michael Roberson examines the history of the once underground Black and Latinx Ball community from its roots during the Harlem Renaissance as a Black Trans-womanist theological discourse, a Black freedom movement, and a spiritual formation. The evening will explore the community’s artistic and cultural productions as survival methods in the face of oppression, and how they used the art form “vogue” and the creation of kinship systems as political movements.

Michael Roberson

Michael Roberson is a public health practitioner, advocate, activist, artist, curator and leader within the LGBTQ community.

He is the co-creator of the nation’s only Black Gay Research group and National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, as well as an Adjunct Professor at The New School University/Lang College NYC, and Union Theological Seminary NYC.

He is an international art and politics consultant and a member of the international sound art collective entitled “Ultra-red.” Michael is a scholar in residence for the Center for Race, Religion, and Economic Democracy, as well as recent TED Media Resident, where he performed a global TED talk about the underground Black/Latinx House/ball ballroom community, entitled “The Enduring Legacy of Ballroom.”

For Black History Month 2021, Michael co-authored an article in Time Magazine titled “Why Voguing and the Ballroom Scene Matter Now More than Ever.” Michael also co-created a “Respect in The Workplace” curriculum and training for Vice Media, and trained all of Vice’s staff in their Brooklyn offices and Los Angeles offices.  Michael also served as a cultural consultant for the FX television show, Pose.

Additionally, he was a public health advisor and community engagement specialist for the NYC COVID-19 contract tracing initiative.  Lastly, Michael is both the new Senior Editor of the online international publication Arts Everywhere “Ballroom Freedom School” section, as well as the Director of the Invoking the Pause Climate Challenge National Cohort for the San Francisco based Clean Energy Leadership Institute.

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