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Beyoncé’s Charity Supports Human Rights Campaign’s Vegas Equality Ball

Beyoncé’s Charity Supports Human Rights Campaign’s Vegas Equality Ball

A person duckwalking and the Palms Resort & Casino

The celebration of Black and Brown queer culture will feature various artists and performers.

Beyoncé is teaming up with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, to present a celebration of ballroom culture.

The BeyGOOD Foundation, Beyoncé’s public charity, is supporting Beeline Productions and the Shady Gang to bring authentic ballroom culture to Las Vegas on August 27 with the Equality Ball at the Palms Casino Resort.

Queer people of color, especially transgender Black and Brown pageant performers, established ballroom culture as a progressive and innovative community kickstarted in the 1970s in New York City. The Equality Ball offers individuals a safe environment to exhibit their artistic abilities. The event will celebrate expression and inclusion by showcasing fashion, style, pose, poise, grace, and various creative talents, a press release announcing the event states.

In addition to showcasing the legendary House of Basquiat and the newly formed KiKi House of FUBU, the ball will showcase professional choreographers and dancers.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson, who will attend, told The Advocate why she looks forward to the soirée.

"The Equality Ball is going to be a celebration of Black and Brown queer life," Robinson said. "The folks at Beeline and Shady Gang have a powerful vision for bringing the joy, the strength, the resilience of our community to center stage, and I'm proud that HRC is working alongside these incredible artists. I'm also deeply appreciative of the BeyGOOD Foundation's support for the event, which will include a range of services for the community in Las Vegas."

“Ballroom culture is synonymous with the Black queer community—it creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ people at a time when being your authentic self was dangerous. But, let’s not get confused, it’s still dangerous for us—Black and Brown trans women are facing an epidemic of fatal violence, and just within the past week, O’Shea Sibley, a Black queer man, was brutally murdered for vogueing,” said Robinson.

Sibley was stabbed to death at a gas station near Coney Island in New York. Sibley, a 28-year-old gay professional dancer, and some friends were reportedly dancing to Beyoncé’s music when a group of men approached them and called them homophobic slurs.

In the ensuing scuffle, one of the men from the other group stabbed Sibley. Sibley died shortly after that. Beyoncé, who is currently on her Renaissance World Tour, paid tribute to him after his murder.

“The Equality Ball serves as another space for those who feel overlooked to take center stage and let the world know that—as Beyoncé sings—you won’t break our souls,” Robinson said. “There is hate out there, but nothing can break our souls.”

Robinson noted the queer community’s resistance to hate through HRC’s programs, such as the Trans Justice Initiative, the HBCU program, and others that advance health equity, promote inclusive workspaces and advocate for bullying and bias-free schools.

“Despite the challenges facing our community, we continue to celebrate this renaissance of freedom and self-love and honor the Black and Brown, queer and transgender pioneers who paved the way for us to live our best lives,” she said.

Various resources and services will be available at the Equality Ball for community members in attendance, including HIV testing, voter registration, and information on LGBTQ+ programs in their local communities. The organization said the HRC Foundation is committed to racial equity, and its programs serve Black and Brown queer communities through a racial equity lens.

The press release noted that the BeyGOOD Foundation is honored to contribute to these vital community programs.

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