In celebration of Black History Month, GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has launched NEON which will seek to highlight the specific narratives of Black people in the LGBTQ+ community.
According to GLAAD, Neon is described as an “ongoing digital content series that aims to increase the visibility of Black LGBTQ people” which hopes to “leverage the power of storytelling and GLAAD’s platform to create multi-dimensional, accurate portraits of the Black LGBTQ experience.”
The first ‘NEON’ offering features artist and poet, Roya Marsha, whose legacy channels Audre Lorde.
In the last week, the initiative has released another photo and video set in its Black History legacy series paying homage to legendary ballroom figure Willi Ninja who played a large part in making Voguing mainstream.
GLAAD wrote that, “Ninja is known as the godfather of voguing and led the charge in bringing ballroom culture to the mainstream in the 1980s and beyond. As the mother of the House of Ninja, Willi became a household name in New York, known for his dance, choreography, quick wit, and sharp tongue.”
The organization continued by highlighting what a transformative figure Ninja, who died in 2006, was and still is.
“Willi was featured in the 1990 documentary film Paris is Burning, which spotlights New York’s ballroom culture and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities that made a lasting impact on the subculture. The documentary also highlights the origins of voguing, which ultimately brought greater mainstream attention to Willi’s work. To this day, Willi is recognized as a central figure in LGBTQ, gender, and performance scholarship for his nonconforming gender expression and trailblazing artistry.”
LGBTQ celebs such as Janet Mock and Laverne Cox support NEON and have already begun sharing its new content on their social media accounts.