Jeffrey Bryant 'Kiddie' LaBeija, overseer of the House of LaBeija, joined Cheddar News on July 5 to discuss the recent partnership with Facebook and the importance of your chosen family. "Having the opportunity to be an iconic moment within history and being celebrated as LGBTQ and POC, it's an amazing time," Jeffrey said.
"The House of LaBeija is a civil rights house. We're based on human rights," Jeffrey said. "We have to be mindful that in the 70's and 80's, not a lot of Africans and Latinos were able to get corporate jobs. Schooling wasn't afforded to them. A lot of things were not afforded to them. The balls were a place where you could be who you are and celebrated for it."
In 1972, Crystal & Lottie LaBeija presented “The 1st Annual House of LaBeija Ball” at Up the Downstairs Case in Harlem, NY. It was the first of its kind to welcome those from their community, people who looked like them, people who lived like them, people who were them – people of color! The House of LaBeija is the first ballroom house and was the first to host benefits to raise awareness during the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"Let's talk about ballroom today. Let's talk about high-end content, high-end productions. The fact that the House of LaBeija is trademarked. The fact that LaBeija has people with people with two master's degrees. We have educated people. The House of LaBeija is the first house to be trademarked," Jeffrey said.
"Ballroom is a multi-million dollar industry," Jeffrey continued, "from getting your outfits together to paying for balls, to promoters using venues, and it's about people realizing that we are catapulting to today's industry standards."
In July 2022, the Royal House of LaBeija partnered with Meta to celebrate the importance of chosen families. "Meta catapults us because they rise to the occasion to realize the importance of industry standards, of having equality. They want to catapult to the occasion to celebrate a community that is pretty much on Facebook," Jeffrey said.
To watch the full interview, visit https://cheddar.com/media/the-house-of-labeija-talks-ballroom-culture-partnering-with-facebook.