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A Brief History of Ballroom: Public Talk + Vogue Workshop with Michael Roberson

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In this public lecture, Michael Roberson explored the history of the House | Ballroom community as a BlackTrans-Womanist theological discourse, a freedom movement, and its spiritual formation responses to race, class, sexuality, and gender oppression. It further examined the community's ability to use the art of performance as a hermeneutics of the body and situate its history in mobilizing as a resistance to these oppressions, placing it in conversation with other historical struggles.This talk illuminates the community's prophetic gift of truth telling, its ethical gift of archiving suffering and allowing it to speak. Being on intimate terms with death and annihilation, through the trifecta of the philosophical, theological, and political, the HBC has something to say to the world over: "What it means to be human, to struggle for freedom, to reimagine death, and to transmute it to power, healing, and life."Co-presented by SFU School for the Contemporary Arts and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Supported by the Musagetes Foundation. 
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. He holds two Master degrees from Union Theological Seminary NYC, and is Adjunct Professor at both 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 scholar in residence for the Center for Race, Religion, and Economic Democracy, as well as a 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 serves as a cultural consultant for Pose, the FX television show. Additionally, he is a public health advisor and community engagement specialist for the NYC COVID-19 contract tracing initiative.
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