The ballroom in Corbett Center Student Union was transformed into a vibrant and inclusive space on Saturday, as NMSU’s Black Programs, LGBT+ Programs and Residence Hall Association came together to host the Black History Month Vogue Ball.
The event celebrated artistry of Black and LGBT+ groups, who, through their unique style, choreographed performances that went beyond simple creativity. As the lights dimmed, performers took the stage and showcased their craft to a panel of judges and the audience.
The collaboration between Black Programs and LGBT+ Programs provided an opportunity to raise awareness and promote their communities. The last time an event similar to the Black History Month Vogue Ball took place was in 2019, but on a much smaller scale.
Because the event was funded by RHA, both programs were able to increase the size of the event this year.
Lore Falls, a graduate student and LGBT+ Programs staff member, was one of the few organizers who helped put the event together. They described the ball as a space for members of the LBGT+ and Black communities to come together and express themselves in a competitive environment, and compete in different categories related to a specific look.
“I think the biggest thing we want to communicate with this event is that the programming we do on campus has these individual offices. We aren’t just one identity or one category, but we are all a complex whole of all the parts that make up who we are,” Falls said. “We want everybody to know that all parts of you are seen here and that you have a community here and you can go to offices where you can hang out and they are open to everyone across campus.”
Taking part in the ball culture is a way for performers to express themselves and celebrate their identity.
Casey Combs, who performed under the stage name Cece Knight Jones, also took part in putting on the event. Combs said the night was a chance to demonstrate what it is like to be a young Black person in the queer community.
“It’s about showcasing that we are here, even though our population is very small. Less than 5% of the students here on campus are Black, and even less of those are a part of the LBGT+ community,” Combs said. “It’s an opportunity to showcase Black excellence as well as Black queer excellence.”
The ballroom was full of lively energy and interaction between the crowd and performers was common throughout the night. Performers gave attendees the chance to join in on the action, some getting to stand in front of the panel of judges and do some showcasing of their own.
Tearza Valencia, a guest, and a junior at NMSU expressed her excitement for the judging of the drag show, and everyone’s unique outfits at the Black History Month Vogue Ball.
“I think an event like this really just brings out a lot of people from these communities together,” Valencia said.“It’s just great to hang out with people that are like you or people who are interested in the same things that you are.”
The Black History Month Vogue Ball inspired a sense of community by uniting many different backgrounds and identities. Both programs hope to host more events like this in the future, and to shine a spotlight on the incredible talent and creativity that exists within their communities.