FILM PROJECT DOCUMENTS BALLROOM COMMUNITY NEW YORK

"How Do I Look," a film project about the ballroom sub-culture that originated in Harlem in the fifties, explores a more than 50-year-old tradition. The ballroom community consists mostly of Black and Hispanic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and is one of the most artistic and creative communities--as well as one of the hardest hit with HIV/AIDS. With chapters across the United States, members of the ballroom community compete against each other at "balls," showcasing their many talents in a highly competitive but safe environment. The ballroom community inspired superstar Madonna to write her hit song and music video "Vogue" and her documentary "Truth or Dare." Unfortunately, the ballroom community gets lost in the HIV/AIDS funding shuffle, and receives no governmental or corporate support to break out of the artistic ghetto. Because of lack of funds and the loss of many of its members to AIDS, it has been extremely difficult for this community to empower itself. How Do I Look provides not only the opportunity to empower this community artistically and financially, it provides the opportunity for members of the ballroom community to travel across the country and share their experiences at universities and colleges, educating students on HIV/AIDS awareness, transgender-related issues, and the art of dance. The film is currently in its fourth year of production, documenting "balls" and interviews. The How Do I Look project has already been a helpful tool in empowering the ballroom community, not only by bringing the community together but improving the quality of life for its members. How Do I Look provides the opportunity for the ballroom community to speak out about its concerns and issues, and provides an artistic vehicle for its members to show off their talents. For more information about the project, visit www.HowDoILooknyc.org

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