As we cross the halfway mark on this season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the popular reality competition (1 million Facebook Likes, and growing) continues to be one of the primary drivers of a reinvigorated interest in drag culture and slang. However, long before Mother Ru was tellings us to “sissy that walk,” Venus Xtravaganza was asking if we were “going through it” in the iconic 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.
While the film introduced America to lots of drag vernacular -- launching “reading,” “realness” and “voguing” into the cultural consciousness -- it also perfectly encapsulated a specific moment in time. Filmed in mid-to-late ‘80s, director Jennie Livingston’s documentary sheds light on the faces of New York ball culture at its peak, including figures like Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey. It is a portrait of a segment of the LGBT community before the height of its struggle with AIDS. The film also tackles issues of race, class and gender.
Take a look back with some of our favorite clips celebrating Paris Is Burning,
AFTER THE JUMP ...