Heckled and hurled insults like “immoral” and “inappropriate” and once having their fates predicted by one man who yelled, “You’re going to hell,” the five male members of the Prancing Elites keep on shimmying and twerking in their leotards. Unbothered? Not so much. But it’s Adrian Clemons, Kentrell Collins, Tim Smith, Kareem Davis and Jerel Maddox’s dream to dance in parades all over the country. And for those who are homophobic and not ready to accept the fact men also have the right to dance in public, your misbehaving drives them.
“Thanks to a tweet by Shaquille O’Neal, our little dance team blew up,” shares Kentrell, the team’s founder and captain. The troupe hired an agent and flew all over the country, making guest appearances at parties, private events and appearing on “The Real” and “America’s Got Talent.” “We realized our neck of the woods, while the rest of the world accepted us, had a long way to go.”
While watching the first episode of “The Prancing Elites Project,” which is set to air on Oxygen on Wednesday, April 22 at 10 p.m. EST, this writer couldn’t fathom why these guys were so set on dancing in parades where they aren’t welcome, particularly the 2013 Semmes Christmas Parade where so much controversy was stirred in Semmes, Alabama. In Semmes, which is located 160 miles south of Selma, they wore Santa-inspired cardigans and snug white shorts and were J-setting their butts off down the parade route that stretched 1.7 miles along Wulff and Moffett roads in west Mobile County, Alabama, the hometown for most of the all-male dance group. Many expressed outrage at the “spectacle.”
For me, I say go where your bread is buttered, but the TPE troupe is passionate about being accepted by bigots. It isn’t until I see Bella, a young White girl, who cries and tells them they are being mistreated at the Saraland parade, that I somewhat understand. It’s their dream and they have a right to express their talents wherever they see fit.
TPE’s style of dance is a rip off of the dance team, the J-Settes, at Jackson State University in Jackson, Missisippi, a “cheerleading and vogue” mashup dancing style that even Beyoncé incorporated into her “Single Ladies” video. They shared some of their dance moves with their “Real Housewives of Atlanta” idol, NeNe Leakes, who encouraged them to not give up.
Tune in Wednesday, April 22 at 10/9 p.m. CT for the premiere of “The Prancing Elites Project” on Oxygen.