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Are You Ready to Get Woke?

Last night I had the honor of judging the #GetWoke Best Runway Contest. Runway Contests come out of the underground ball culture that started in New York City’s African-American and Latinx LGBTQ+ community and first gained notice in the 1980s. The current fictional television show “Pose” and the 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning” both tell the stories of ball culture and how the different houses supported homeless LGBTQ+ youth whose families had rejected them.


To be in the lobby of the Bloch building at the Nelson, standing among the brave, beautiful, accomplished trans artists and activists in our local community was already a total privilege. Then, to be invited to judge the competition?! Surreal.

#GetWoke is a local collective of activists and performing artists whose mission is to create safe, affirming and artistic environments for LGBTQ+ people of color. They organized three years ago after the homicides of Dionte Greene, Jasmine Collins, Tamara Dominguez, and Reese Walker - four queer and transgender people of color whose deaths have yet to be classified as hate crimes (even though there were hate violence reports preceding their deaths).


If you haven’t seen “Pose” or “Paris is Burning”, I recommend that you do. I also invite you to check out the strength and courage of our neighbors at www.getwokekc.com.



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1017 w 29th Street

Kansas City, MO 64108

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