Lee Daniels to Direct Showtime Drama About LGBT Ball Culture

Lee Daniels to Direct Showtime Drama About LGBT Ball Culture

Famed director Lee Daniels has made his mark on the film industry with  Oscar-winning films like Monsters Ball and Precious, telling the touching, abstract and commonly ignored stories of America’s minority communities.  And now Daniels is taking it a step further with his next project. According to reports, Daniels is set to direct and produce a Showtime drama about the little-known LGBT Ball culture.

According to Deadline, Daniels, who is openly gay, is teaming up with screenwriter W. Merritt Johnson to develop the show for Showtime. Johnson and Daniels are also executive producing the series . The as-yet-untitled show will be set in New York City and focus on the “disenfranchised multicultural transgender youth of the Ball subculture.”

For those unfamiliar with the ballroom scene, Ball is a an LGBT subculture centered mainly around “Houses” or “drag families” who provide a support system for disenfranchised LGBT youth and compete in underground shows for prizes in various drag, dancing and walking battles.

Though many believe that the Ball culture was created in New York City in the 1930s by white gay men holding underground drag balls in and around the city, many others believe that the culture truly began in the 1960s in Harlem, where members of the black LGBT community would throw Balls.

The culture was famously presented to the mainstream in Jennie Livingstone’s 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning and the “voguing” dance style, where dancers strike glamorous poses and extreme contortions, was made famous by Madonna’s 1990 “Vogue” video.

Today’s Ball scene is mainly comprised of black and Latin LGBT youth and recently made its way back onto the mainstream radar with the inclusion of Ball dance crew Vogue Evolution on the fourth season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”

Aside from his new Showtime deal, Daniels recently inked a deal with NBC to write and direct an adaptation of Valley of The Dolls. The director is also working on his next feature film, The Paperboy, starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Maxwell and Macy Gray, which is set to be released next year.

Kudos to Daniels for once again proving his creative bravado and using his work to shine a light on members of his own community. –nicholas robinson

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