Celebrate Black History
Paris Is Burning
Directed by Jennie Livingston • 1990 • United States
Starring Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza
Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—PARIS IS BURNING brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.
Up Next in Celebrate Black History
The Final Insult
Directed by Charles Burnett • 1997 • United States
Charles Burnett cannily blends documentary and dramatic action with this searing, savagely ironic tale of a bank employee reduced to living out of his car, in a character study that doubles as a compassionate portrait of Los Angeles’s homeless c...
Directed by Christopher Harris • 2000 • United States
A masterpiece of American avant-garde cinema, Christopher Harris’s 2000 thesis film is a haunting record of the crumbling, eerily depopulated landscapes of St. Louis’s north side, an area almost exclusively inhabited by working-class and work...
Directed by Ephraim Asili • 2020 • United States
After nearly a decade exploring different facets of the African diaspora—and his own place within it—Ephraim Asili makes his feature-length debut with this astonishing ensemble work set almost entirely within a West Philadelphia house inhabited by...