When the documentary Paris Is Burning was released in 1990, it introduced the world to the famous balls—events where attendees would dance, vogue, walk, pose, perform, lip-sync, and model in numerous competition categories for trophies and prizes—thrown by the African-American and Latino LGBTQIA+ community in New York city in the mid to late 1980s. Around thirty years later, the FX hit series Pose picked up where PiB left off, reigniting international interest in ballroom culture.
‘‘Pose was what made me realize what I was looking for,’’ says Precious*, a 30-year-old gay man living in Lagos. ‘‘I knew something was missing in my life, but when I saw the show it just hit me. This sort of community was exactly what I was looking for.’’ Precious, like many others, found this sense of community in the Nigerian underground ballroom scene, one that is primarily maintained by small collectives and organizers in major cities across the country. Through parties and raves, these individuals undermine the legislations in Nigeria that criminalize displays of queerness, aiming to foster community, creativity, and hope in the process.