Voguing has become a topic that’s set the internet on fire this week with the news that HBO Max would be releasing a competition show, Legendary, based on the iconic ballroom community.
The show is just one part of HBO Max’s much hyped lineup, which includes Gumshoe, The Greatest Space, and Starstruck.
However, much of the debate has surrounded the appointment of Jameela Jamil as one of the judges, as fans argue she has no ties to the voguing movement.
We’ve put together everything you need to know before the series debuts.
Voguing has its roots way back in the 1920s, and is described as a “pivotal moment” for the LGBT community.
Drag competitions, known as ballroom competitions, began to emerge during the Harlem Renaissance (1920). Drag queens would dance while performing typically effeminate actions such as putting on makeup and styling hair.
They would also throw shade at other contestants with their moves.
A Brief History of Voguing states, “The movement offered a new language that challenged social structures and demonstrated the ways that race, gender, sex and sexuality distinctions were actually intersecting, fluid and constantly evolving.”
Voguing still goes on today, and has gained popularity and recognition through drag-centric shows like VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Legendary will run for 10 episodes, and will feature 10 competing ‘houses’, with five performers and one ‘house leader’ on each team.
The queens will compete for a cash prize and – of course – ‘Legendary’ status.
The challenges will be centered around a ‘ball’ – the description for the voguing competitions – and each ball will have a different theme.
It was rumoured that Jameela Jamil would be hosting the competition, and fans quickly took to social media to voice their concerns.
One user stated that “this was a bad idea”, saying, “So many people are profiting from ballroom culture even though they have nothing to do with it.”
They later added, “Because ballroom isn’t just a fun, trendy thing…it’s a deep culture, rooted in anti-racism and anti-homophobia/transphobia. And I know for a fact that you already know this. But your team should’ve advised you to find someone from WITHIN the ballroom scene to take this role.”
In response to the backlash, Jamil posted a lengthy Twitter response, in which she came out as a queer woman.
Opening her response with “Twitter is brutal”, the actress stated that she identified as “queer” but that “it’s not easy within the South Asian community to be accepted”.
She also said that “it’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties”.
She emphasized that “This is absolutely not how I wanted to come out.”