The inability to deal with certain stress and emotions. That thing that causes you to feel defeated, powerless, depressed, and overwhelmed often comes from unchecked TRAUMA. And one of the most common places that trauma starts is during our childhood. Some of us can identify it and others may not. Some of us remember and some of us may not. We tend to internalize it and even give it a mind of its own. It paralyzes many of us and become a troublesome part of our lives. But what if we could do something about it? What if we recognized it and put in the work to check it and get through it. Here are 13 signs I’ve learned of Unchecked Trauma. – Maven Logik Lee, B.C.C., CMHT
INABILITY TO SET BOUNDARIES
ALWAYS SAYING YES
A PARALYZING NEED OF APPROVAL
TRYING TO FIX PEOPLE
SEEKING AND TOLERATING ABUSIVE PARTNERS
TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE
PUTTING OTHERS NEEDS BEFORE YOURS
DESPERATE NEED OF EXTERNAL VALIDATION
FEAR OF ABANDONMENT
LOSS OF SKILLS
DID I MISS ANY? Feel free to comment your experiences below.
Throughout the country there are folx going above and beyond to make our lives better. They inspire us. They motivate us. They connect us. They empower us. They teach us. They build us up. They push us. They encourage us. They fight for us. They believe in us.
There have been so many folx throughout this unpredictable year I’ve seen and heard make impact on every level of our society. No deed is too small to be acknowledged if you ask me. So I decided to take a moment out of each month and just share the faces of 8 leaders across the country. And here are the first!
Director of Community Engagement TG Justice Initiative, Human Rights Campaign
HIV + Advocate, Community Liaison, and Ballroom House Leader
Entrepreneur, Ballroom House Father, Dance Instructor, and Parent
HIV+ Advocate, Scholar, Sexual Health Researcher, and Social Worker
Senior De-Escalation Expert, Broad Street Ministry
Outreach Specialist, WPT Cares and long time Community liaison.
Outreach Specialist, Housing Works & Trans Activist
Founder of EMOTE Inc, Ballroom House Leader and BU Program Coordinator
Shai Lynn is a respect to past, existing in the present, and leads the future of R&B. Her voice is an impeccable blend of tone, flutter, variety, well placed rifts and rifts. She takes you on an emotional journey and lets you blossom with her. Check out her recent joint “Dont See It”
Gizzyy is an up and coming fem-cee and songstress with a raw yet alluring sound. She beautifully blends her flow and personal sound to create a distinct Gizzyy swag. She herself is a star in the undergound ball culture that has gradually fallen over to mainstream media. With her stunning sexiness and personal music taste Gizzyy is breaking barriers. Check out her new single “Cope” !
You could have spotted him around the world on tour with Rihanna flexing his unmatched danced skills. But did you know he had the music to match? Hurricane brings a fresh bop sound that isn’t overly complex and just right to make most of us music lovers move our shoulders and nod our heads. Check out his new song ” I Can Never Fall in Love”
I must admit it takes a lot to keep me intrigued on stage. And this emerging artist always brings his performances to life. His soulful voice and fusion sound is a good addition to anyone’s playlist. Check out his newest video “Tonight”
A visionary to say the least. This beautiful creative has crafted some of the most eye catching visuals I’ve seen from new artist. In fact I can’t even say she is new anymore. She is a pro. She understands R&B. Her music is lyrical accurate and puts some respect on those moments in our life that we search for soundtracks too.
This multi-instrumentalist beat master is creating a whole new chapter of groovy beats and fascinating sounds. His EP “Sorbert” caught my eye. Each song named after a different fruit magically brought each flavor to life. If you love instrumentals and bomb beats check him out.
When and why did you start ballroom? I joined Ballroom in 2013. I started as an event promoter with Banjee Ball and it was a few months after throwing my first couple Balls (which were very pre-school Ballroom) that I got bit by the vogue bug.
What does ballroom bring to your life? Community. Purpose. I’ve been a music artist for a very long time, and the music industry was always lacking something, which is why I kept searching. I found it in Ballroom.
Your greatest life accomplishment? In Life, creating my daughter. In Ballroom it was winning the 2017 Woman Voguer OTY in NY. The two are actually connected – I had set a goal post of winning a trophy in NY before getting pregnant. I had made my name traveling state to state walking OTA performance because at the time, other than in NY where all the Woman voguers resided, there were no Women’s performance categories. And I had some big wins. But when it came to NY, I was a last battle girl. I FINALLY won Grand Prize at the Ebony Ball in 2017 and got pregnant 4 days later. I was awarded Woman OTY the same week I announced my pregnancy.
What does the show Legendary mean to you? For me Legendary is about the stories that are getting told. The people of Ballroom have so much to share about Love and Loss.
If you could give the whole world one message today what would it be? Brand yourself. Figure out what it is that you LOVE to do and do it. And don’t get hung up on whether it makes you money or whether it manifests in the way you think it should manifest. If you are following your purpose the opportunities will surprise you.
How can we show you love? Wow, this is a hard question to answer. Letting me know that I belong in Ballroom as a cisgendered white woman.
Favorite Voguer: Starr Revlon Favorite Politician: Bernie Sanders Fruit or Veggies : Raspberries Favorite Movie : Desperately Seeking Susan A pet peeve: Liars Favorite song : Live to Tell by Madonna MJ or Prince: Prince A hidden talent: I’m a tap dancer!
But for me… at least in the greatest days of my life they are valuable everyday. I see them. I love them. I appreciate them. And I’m inspired by them.
These womxn and men of Trans experiences have completely reshaped how I see and view the world. They’ve rearranged my idea of what courage looks like.
I remember growing up with transwomxn in my late teens, early twenties. Kaarmen, Blanca, and Jhene were their names. They all were vastly different but each one made me feel seen. Each one had something about them that was fascinating and fearless. They became my life long sisters. How they made me feel seen, loved, and appreciated has been the shared experience ever since.
I remember the day I meet Marquise… Blahnik at the time. This man was so fine admittedly so and the glow he exuding was enamoring. He was strong. He was a gentleman. He was ambitious. He was casually yet boldly standing in his blackness. I saw a strong black man. In fact … he was “if strong black man” was a person for me. And I recall being told (not from him) … “ you know he is Trans”. For reason I felt a way about how they said that to me. I can’t tell you how much that moment lives on with me. Marquise was seen before anyone told me anything. I meet the man that mattered.
I remember meeting Vanessa Frost. And no I’m not talking about times before but the day I saw her eyes glisten. She was a flower blooming right in front of my eyes. Those days she would go to school and change clothes before the day started. The don’t tell my parent’s road trips to find her truth. I was seeing a girl becoming a young lady right in front of me. In those moments I became a big brother. A protector when I use to struggle to protect myself. And she just like those before her made me feel seen.
I remember meeting Sayer Johnson. Seeing him reach his arms out to others without hesitation. You could feel his heart. You became a witness to his integrity.
I remember meeting Tori Cooper. This strong black womxn. She embodies radiance and independence. You could see your mother. You could hear your aunt. And I felt safe.
I remember meeting Adonis Margiela. Focused. Driven. Honest. The brother I needed. Hearing him speak truth to power. Being fascinated by his dedication to not only visibility but respect.
I remember meeting Miyonnee Hickman. That voice. Musically connected and instantly attached. That angelic voice rings. The one who never closed her doors to anyone.
It’s the hugs from Jahaira that were full of unconditional love. The tough love of Amaya. The we will get through it sibling arguments with Giselle. The dedication of Toni Bryce. The passion of Gabrielle. The heart of Mariah. The strength of Jazelle. The love of Teiona. The fierceness of Laverne. The boldness of Tyra. The creativity of Jay Alexander. The elegance of Trace. And so on and so much more that make these men and womxn so important to me.
Because of them I see the world differently. Understanding how truly fluid and diverse the world really is. How it’s bigger than some of the biblical boxes I was taught to stay in. How it transcends the heteronormative society I was born into. The way gender is far more nuanced than body parts. To see folx exactly as there are in front of my face and love the unconditionally for it.
I’m enamored by the transparency and bravery of this man. Gender expression and identity to some people is always more challenging than it supposed to be. It’s disappointingly difficult for some to allow folx to live their truths. And this is especially true for those that we assume it’s our business to understand in order to respect. All transitions can be tough. And for this superhuman to navigate two different transitions that both come with questions, opinions, and acts of bravery I am empowered. So from one legend to another I am proud, inspired, and privileged to share this space with you. Let’s go! – Maven Lee Margiela
1. MAVEN: I’m excited so excited to chat with you today! So before I start what name am I using? Mike or Michael?
MIKE: Mike Lowery is just my Facebook name. My birth name is Michael. Mike it’s just a cute nickname but Michael Allen is the person my mom gave birth to. Call me Mike today!
2. MAVEN: Who was Feminine Destruction/Amori ?
MIKE: Ciani Amori was a character I created to feel beautiful. It made feel like I mattered. I felt like I had life to live when I transformed into that character. As a young boy I didn’t feel special or attractive and I felt totally awkward . As Ciani people gave me compliments and credit for things pre-Ciani I felt invisible for.
3. MAVEN : What was the moment like when you decided to make this transition?
MIKE: It happened kinda randomly nothing was wrong really. As I grew older I just felt more and more incomplete and unfulfilled. What began as an escape started becoming a lie. I had a lot of shoulda , coulda , wouldas.
Because I rushed through my transition in the beginning I doubted I could do it. I wondered how I would be as a man. I went from a teenage boy to a female … it was tough.
4. MAVEN: What would you say to your Trans sisters as Mike?
MIKE : To my trans sisters, I love you. I respect you. I admire you. I know the path you are on. I know the struggle. Keep being you. Keep listening to that voice you heard that led you to being trans in the beginning. Let your heart guide you. If you are happy and comfortable in your transition that is great but if by chance you have any other feelings it’s ok to follow those to!
5. MAVEN: What motivated you to share your de-Transitioning experience with the world ?
MIKE: Had I have meet a person who had detransitioned before I transitioned I would have had a better outlook on things . At 17 I wanted to be a girl never thinking about my future, my health or anything long term I just thought for the moment ! Also I feel like the few people who I heard that detransitioned disappeared and lived a private life. It’s almost like they dropped of the face of the earth. I wanna be the one you see grow and be happy , productive and free! People need to see it’s possible . And I’m going to take on the challenge.
6. MAVEN: How has your de-transition affected your relationships with friends and family?
MIKE: It made them all better. Everyone who knew me really already knew how unique and different I was.
7. MAVEN: Does this change your ballroom experience?
MIKE : Mentally Detransitioning does change things a little with me in ballroom because Michael wasn’t there for all that. Michael is this quiet shy guy who got caught up in ballroom. He experienced the good, bad, and everything in-between. I still haven’t found the formula to balance my masculine and feminine energy yet and I don’t wanna be labeled. Until I figure that out I just laying low. And that’s why I haven’t really done much in ballroom since to be honest. But nothing can take away what I’ve done in ballroom and the positive benefits I reaped from it. I’ve traveled the entire country. I’ve met some of the best people. I gained a confidence that I may have never had. I had the strength of a warrior. And I’m still the Legendary one.
8. MAVEN: Do you feel supported In this process? And if so is it the Kiki or Mainstream ball scene that encourages more?
MIKE: I do l! Everyone has made this extremely easy for me. The love and support was epic . Way more easier than I thought it would in 2016 when I planned this detransition
9. MAVEN: What would you say to others who may have felt pressured into transitioning and are afraid to de-transition?
MIKE: It’s ok it happens to the best of us , but let’s move on from here. Transitioning is mental…. so let’s start by owning your own gender and not caring what others see or think of you as! It’s ok to have a change of heart and mind! It’s a very brave choice to do what’s best for you. People will try an push you in certain directions for other reasons than the right one for you. Go with your heart. Even if it means de-transition.
10. MAVEN: Is there something you’d like to share that we left out ? What wisdom can you share with us ?
MIKE : I’m here to listen to anyone. To talk to anyone. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk ! There was no one for me to reach out to and I had to do it all alone. That was tough. That was hard.
Now that I made it to the other side of a scary decision I am extremely happy with myself! I am proud of my scars and my journey. I have little regrets because transition and detransition made me into this super human individual who is built for anything !
Last night will go down in history as the day a black queer man successfully empowered, changed, slapped, and said HELLO to the world all at once.
We were privileged to a short film shorter than a short film. And we still got everything we needed. A storyline from start to finish. And oh was it a story. The story than many LGBTQ folx know all to well.
But his story isn’t just about queerness but it’s the intersection of so many identities. It broke down barriers untouched by anyone else before him. He was a brown skin man. A young man. A masculine man. A feminine man. A queer man. A gay man. He spoke to his fears and took control of his mental wellness. He willed himself.
And with all the social and cultural impact there’s still more that makes it amazing !
Aside from the fact his sex appeal certainly resonated with men, women, and everyone in between. Dare I say he also blurred the lines of sexual orientation … because some of my heterosexual friends both male and female thought twice. He brought the creative genius to the Max.
Many of us have compared him to a male version of Missy or a gay version of Busta Rhymes. I challenged it. While it’s clear he’s been inspired he is now simply Lil Nas X In a lane of his own.
He used his creativity to challenge some of the toxic ideals of religion and heteronormative culture. And in the world like this boldness is how you get their attention.
As someone in the LGBT ballscene I can tell you he’s about to inspire us creatively for years to come.
I can go on and on about how historic and iconic this is but this letter to himself says so much more.
For some folks August 21st isn’t coming fast enough. The people in the city are excited for the new ball experience called ONE NIGHT ONLY .
This is one of the biggest balls the city has seen in years. There will be everything from food vendors to community organizations setting up tables. The event hopes to be an interactive and innovative experience like never before.
Maven Lee now a member of the Haus of Margiela is pulling out all the stops by putting all his energy into this sure to be wonderful experience.
St.Louis has flourished in the past and many folks believe it’s time to revitalize and rebuild. After years of being dormant and many not getting to reach their full potential its only right to put the feet to the fire.
With more information coming soon just know this ball is giving out over $3000 and bringing in some big names from around the country. Stay tuned for updated details and don’t be afraid to find the event : https://fb.me/e/5wTqf0Zee
• Learn Yourself • Explore More • Get creative • Make Mistakes • Love your own company • Learn accountability • Create personal stability • Release the spirit of Chasing Folx • Develop, maintain, & protect standards • Become the energy you want to attract • Frame the focus on Haves not Have nots • Set, reinforce, & appreciate boundaries • Explore relationship alternatives • Enjoy Yourself • Travel the world • Eat well, Eat good, Eat safe • Find your special friends • Be kind but never dumb
Make no mistake Pusscee was the quarterback so to speak of the team this year but there were many team players. Rather it was Tae, James, Amor, Shy, Destiny and so on.
6. Vance Chanel
7. Spirit Ebony
8. Jeremy Revlon
9. Jourden Lanvin
10. Lanvin cast from “Legendary”
11. Heidi Labeiji
13. Rodney, Jamari and the House of Balmain Legendary Team
14. The Balmain MF Realness Line Up
The combination of Mitch, Hitman, JD, Shady, Meeko, Mekhi, Khaos, Rodney, JT and so on have blazed through BQ Realness. Rather its the far in end of Thug realness or getting down to business with Executive.
15. Precious 007
16. Karma Gucci
17. Logik 007
18. The M&M Garcon Girls
This dynamic duo is the new era of FF Runway. They are fierce, fashion forward, charismatic, and down right OVAH. Rather its popping out on social media or strutting on the floor this was definitely and M&M kind of year.
19. The Continued Rise of All American Runway
While All American Runway is no stranger to ballroom the category created by Devin Elite has certainly grown over the years. With folx from all regions crossing over and showing the world different styles and characters in the category. This year we’ve seen Xman West, Shady Balmain, Saint Mugler, Zo Balmain, Jay Moscow, CJ Lanvin, Berry Aga, Mekhi Balmain, Logik 007, Brodie Mugler, Zodiac Chanel, and many more setting up a AA Runway revolution.
20. Bianca Balmain
21. Bleu Balenciaga
22. Layla & Jamiyah Balmain
23. Lolita 007 & Honey Legendary Team
24. Jarrel Gucci and the House of Gucci
25. Medusa Balenciaga
26. The Raise of Virtual Ballroom
2020 brought us The Virtual Ball Scene. Innovative folks like Isla Ebony and Precious 007 took us to another place. Mother Toya Ebony & Father Kentrelle Gucci even gave us a major ball on 2 different platforms. Rather on Zoom or Bigo folx really participated and made the best of it. New personalities were created and a new day I the scene has begun.
27. The year of the New Houses and New Generation Legends
Several new houses made this list but there are so many more that flourished. For example the beautiful house of Margiela turned heads. Not only for the “We not going to go there moment” but for having one of the most well dressed houses in the scene.
And what about Legends like Barbie Makaveli and her new house. And even the houses that didn’t get to debut yet. Its a new day in ballroom and it’s amazing to see the generational stranglehold being broken.
28. Jerel West
29. JT Balmain
30. All members from The RWT Team performance teams
31. Khaos Ebony
32. The Raise of Ballroom Content & Media Creators
Throughout 2020 a plethora of innovative content creatives and videographers arose including Jay Garcon, Ball Voyeurs, Ballroom Reacts, Chronicle Images, Vogue Tip, Chris Got Footage, Just BallroomTV, and KB Vogue Clips
33. House REVAMPS
This year we saw the Houses of Revlon, Chanel, Khan, and Mizrahi revamp with new leadership and folx from the younger generation being part of the conversation. Leaders like Piggi & Jeremy Revlon, Taurus Khan, George Mizrahi, Derrick & Gee Gee Chanel and so on.
35. Prodigy Vogue Line Up
Man Man, Ty, Blu, Chi Chi and more! They completely captivated this year. Though there weren’t many balls to receive that live and in person energy they made every moment count. Man Man and Ty demolished every time that hit the floor. Its no doubt that Prodigy was in the conversation.
36. All cast members and special guest of HBO’s Legendary
37. Ballroom meets Only Fans
38. Continued resurgence of Detroit Ballroom Scene
39. The Larry’s
Lil Man & Larry Ebony
40. Leggoh Johvera & OTA Weekly
41. Legendary Omari & The House of Oricci
42. Miyah & Natasha Ebony
43. Gunner Tisci
44. Simone Margiela
45. Lanvin Runway Squad
46. Corey Lanvin
47. Lil James, Anthony & The House of West
48. THE YEAR OF THE COMMENTATORS:
Snookie West, Paris Blahnik, Chazzi West, Tree Ebony, Norman Ebony, Buddah Ebony, Lloyd Ebony & More
In your own words WHO IS VANCE and how did your story began in Ballroom? I grew up as a poor kid on the south side of Chicago. I was the oldest of 4. I struggled very early taking care of my younger siblings, because my parents were drug addicts. At roughly 16, I met the “Gay Community”. Subsequently, I was invited to a ball to walk School Boy realness! However, I fell in love with RUNWAY! It was when I met Milan Christopher, who showed me how to provide for myself, and I Officially became a Ball Kid! Years later, I was imprisoned, when someone who I looked at as family, lied on me, and cooperated with the feds, to give me up, so she wouldn’t do any time! I served 7 years. And, when I got out, I felt forgotten about. So I told myself you have to PUSH! And That is what my motivation is! DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!
What are your Goals MOVING FORWARD in Ballroom? My goal moving forward is to become a House Parent. I want to be able to cultivate talent and preserve the “Old Ballroom” essence. And of course to be Legendary! I want to Beat the Unbeatable!
Coming back to ballroom years later.. what are your favorite moments? My favorite moments are coming off the stairway from heaven at Back To Basics, Studio 54 Edition. Even though I got chopped for missing my cat the building went up. Another would be winning Tag Team Runway in St. Louis with Japan. Coming in on those boards was so dope! And of course coming in on the Helicopter. I can say I made history.
What inspires you in Ballroom? The ability to shine, when we as a community didn’t have one! We took what we had, and made what we wanted; the opportunity to be proud of our talents.
What advice do you have for the next generation of Ballroom? Listen it is an abyss of uncertainties. You can easily become engulfed in the world of Ballroom. Before jumping off in, make sure you have anchors in your life that care enough about you to keep you grounded. Lofty dreams and a desire to be “That Bitch” will have you scamming, turning tricks, and compromising your ethics and morals to be on top. Though Ballroom has become much more than a Fantasy Island, if you steer clear of drama, focus on your goal, and stay on track, you can be a Ballroom great! You can find the gems of success and opportunity. Ballroom is producing some real stars! You can be a REAL STAR!
How does Ballroom connect to your present life? It’s keeping me polished! I came up in Ballroom when image was everything! And ballroom has shaped my idea of what I think about Image and Talent. There is a healthy amount of shade in Ballroom! That “healthy shade” pushes you to be better. And Ballroom pushes me to be what I know I can be.