Lee Daniels, the director of "Monsters Ball" and "Precious," has partnered with Showtime to develop a contemporary drama series set in New York City’s "house and ball" scene–a largely black gay and transgender cultural scene, organized around adopted families and balls featuring dance and gender-play competitions. The mainstream culture first noticed the scene after the 1990 documentary "Paris Is Burning," which chronicles Harlem’s disenfranchised black, Latino, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities who come together to "battle" on runways.
Joining Daniels will be screenwriter W. Merritt Johnson, who was nominated for an Emmy for "Temple Grandin" and has also worked on the HBO series "In Treatment." Both will be executive producers on the series, with Johnson writing and Daniels directing. The series doesn’t yet have a title or broadcast date announced.
New York City’s ball culture has spread to other parts of the country and branched into both activism and sex education campaigns. Recently, Los Angeles’ REACH LA hosted Ovahness Ball 6 as part of a three-day gathering too discuss HIV/AIDS and other health disparities amongst young men of color. Below you’ll find a clip from the Ovahness Ball held in Los Angeles last weekend and a clip from Current.tv looking at the significance of "Paris is Burning."
Hat Tip: Shadow and Act