A first birthday celebration had never been so eccentric and glamourous. Rainbow whoopee pies, balloons and tablecloths created the colorful atmosphere for an even more colorful night on the way in the Ceddia Union Building’s multi-purpose room on Friday, Oct. 2.
Pumping up the party, DJ Starr NBT worked on her MacBook blaring club-like music and spinning on a turntable. Following the killer music session, the party took a turn for the spectacular.
Drag Queen Lady T acted as the host for Free to be Me’s first birthday bash, which is an on-campus support group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer multi-cultural students.
Lady T took the stage and asked who in the audience was straight. A show of hands, and she replies with, “Well we’re going to change that. Just kidding, we’re [the gay community] a group of people that loves everybody.”
Lady T kicked off the festivities by first introducing her “drag daughter,” Poison. Poison emerged out from the back of the stage dancing and twirling in a long white gown with hypnotizing green and black circles and swirls. Following her performance, she told everyone she wanted to start off the night with a joke, and the crowd erupted with laughter when she said, “President Donald Trump.”
Poison and Lady T shared the stage that night with two fashion modeling groups, the on-campus Elite Modeling Troup, which is run through Multi-Cultural Student Affairs, and the Exclusive House of Lanvin from Philadelphia.
The drag queens made jokes, flirted with the audience, sang and lip-synced songs and did vogue dancing, which contains elements of fashion and music. They also performed acting skits such as a vintage “Saturday Night Live” act.
The modeling groups alternated strutted down the catwalk throughout the night. Lady T introduced Elite Modeling Troupe first, and the students showed off trendy outfits throughout their showcases such as a destroyed red sweater, jet black metallic leggings and black combat boots with gold protruding spikes.
The Exclusive House of Lanvin followed, and they paraded up and down the runway in more abstract clothing. They sported a flowing black gown with feathered sleeves, puffy, ruffled black tops and a glittery silver suit with a beaked masquerade mask, complete with a black plume on the forehead.
Terrell Henry, a member of Elite Modeling Troupe, took the microphone after House of Lanvin’s first appearance, and gave all the party-goers a chance to step into the spotlight. He proposed a modeling session with the audience, and the winner would receive a $20 cash prize.
Students flooded the stage in dress from hoodies and sweatpants to crop tops and miniskirts, all storming down the runway confidently, flipping their hair, spinning and stomping their feet, with DJ Starr chanting, “do that sexy walk!”
When everyone returned to their seats, Poison riled up the crowd one last time, but this time in a straitjacket. She lip-synced “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, saying “I’m crazy, crazy, c-c-c-c-crazy,” which turned into a mashup of “Crazy,” “Afro Circus” from the movie “Madagascar 3,” and a section of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.
Then, Lanvin and Elite Modeling Troupe teamed up and took the stage together. They performed an act that combined high fashion, skilled modeling and fierce dancing.
“I loved the vogue [dancing] and acting performances,” attendant Kayla Behea, a sophomore, said.
Joshua Smith, president of Free to be Me, said the birthday celebration was modeled after the underground ball, which is a national competition in the LGBTQ community in modeling, dancing and vogue dancing.
“Campus needs to know our story,” Henry, a member of Free to be Me’s planning committee, said. “Everyone needs to know what we do instead of just assuming.”
“It was not what I expected. It was very inspirational to see people on stage being confident with who they are,” sophomore Roneka Jones said when the party came to a close.
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