Lee Daniels, the director of Precious, and W. Merritt Johnson, the writer of Temple Grandin, are working with Showtime to produce what is obviously the most necessary show I have ever heard of ever, and no, I'm not joking: a contemporary drama series that focuses on New York City's drag ball culture. Haven't heard of drag balls? Sure you have! In a roundabout, super watered down and contextually lacking way:
Basically, drag balls — where voguing originated as a dance style — are events where different drag "houses" come together and compete for trophies and prizes in a mix of categories that range from what would be considered more traditional drag to dance to things like "executive realness". ("Realness" is a big thing. It basically means your level of success at whatever kind of drag you're doing. For instance, right now I'd be giving "unkempt blogger realness" if this were an outfit I had on and not just what I am.) This is the subculture that gave us "fierce," and "fabulous," and "work" pronounced like "werq." It is amazing.
There are lots of reasons to be excited about this show; for one thing, there's a good deal of talent behind it already and that never hurts. For another, it's always good to see more LGBT representation on TV. But best of all is that, given how ball culture is mostly black and Latino, this show would be a step forward, however small, in what kind of LGBT people we see. If you've checked out the recent GLAAD report on the state of queer television, you'll know that it is overwhelmingly white. It's long past time we saw more LGBT people of color on our screens.
I'll leave you with a clip from Paris Is Burning, a classic early '90s documentary about drag balls. The whole film is available on YouTube; I highly recommend it.