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Honoring the Black Femme in Ballroom

June 22, 2022 | 2:00-3:15PM EST / Virtual Event

The Hemispheric Institute is proud to present Agency + Process, a series of virtual conversations curated by Camille Lawrence celebrating individuals who are shaping the future of memory work, creating outside of traditional archival models. Those featured employ ethical methodologies to access and recover hidden Black histories. Lawrence refers to this intentional practice as “seeing in the dark”, where Black folks have the ability to see themselves where others cannot.

This series will explore, challenge, and celebrate the ways that Black memory workers are taking agency over the preservation, documentation, and representation of Black life, and will feature speakers who are transforming how communities interact and engage with archives and performance art. The series will begin with two events in which archivists discuss ways to address institutional inequities and share their reparative practices in the archives. The subsequent conversations will highlight creatives, archivists, and artists whose work centers Black visibility and the body as an archive.

Hemi is also excited to announce Camille Lawrence as a Mellon Curator in Residence for the 2022 calendar year. Lawrence is an artist and archivist whose work focuses on the diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. To learn more about Lawrence’s work, click here.

​​These events are made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the "World Making and Social Emergency at the Hemispheric Institute" initiative.

Honoring the Black Femme in Ballroom

For decades mainstream society has appropriated the artistry, performance, fashion, and expressions of the Ballroom Community without the proper respect, reverence, or inclusion. In this presentation, Archivist and Marsha P. Institute “Leader of The New School” Awardee Noelle Deleon will share the history of Ballroom and the iconic moments in which Femme Queens transformed the landscape of the art form.  

Noelle Deleon

Noelle Deleon (she/her). Archivist, Artist, Femme. Founder of The Femme Queen Archives Noelle Deleon is a Texas-based interdisciplinary artist, archivist, writer and dancer committed to the progression and history of Black radical art and expression. She is a member of The Xclusive House of Lanvin and The Kiki House of Juicy Couture. As a Ballroom historian, Noelle’s passion and experience in performance art inform her approach to archiving and documenting Ballroom culture. In her 2021 interview with the LA Times, Noelle states, “I never understood myself in the world until I started studying femme queen performance and going back into the history of Black trans women in the world. It’s been the key to my biggest awakenings.”

In February 2021, Noelle was awarded “Leader of The New School” by The Marsha P. Johnson Institute for her work honoring Black Femme Queens in Ballroom. Noelle is currently working completing The Crystal La’Beija Organizing Fellowship (2022) receiving support and mentorship in community organizing, project management and resources for community.

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