Paris is Burning: a discourse on reading, realness and houses.


Ferranti, F. (2017) Paris is Burning’s poster [Screenshot] [electronic print] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

Paris is Burning, directed by Jennie Livingston in 1990, explores the reality of the queer community (African American, Hispanic, Black, drag queens and transgender community) in New York’s ballroom scene.

feathersandbeads (2011) Paris is Burning cast on The Joan Rivers Show: Part One. [Online Video] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

Darnell Ny (2013) Butch Queen First Time in Drags at A Ball. [Online Video] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

The film takes its name after one of the most famous drag balls, hosted by legendary performer Paris Dupree, mother of the Haus of Dupree (by haus, I refer to the alternative families that queer people create as safe spaces in order to question heteronormative structures of family and motherhood).

Furthermore, the film is crucial to my research as it shows visible connections with gender performativity in relation to voguing and club culture: partecipants to balls are encouraged to embody their own fantasy, choosing from a range of different categories (such as Femme Queen Realness, Executive Butch Queen Realness).

WowPresents (2016) Ru Paul- The Realness Official Music Video. [Online Video] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

Realness is a concept that creatively plays with notions of gender identity and gender expression: as the website puts it, ‘ A likeness that is deemed to be as close as possible to a specific category or genre—e.g., She is serving warrior princess realness’. (2017)

The primary outcome of Paris is Burning has been shedding a new light on voguing and Lgbtq+ catchphrases, namely ‘throwing shade’ and ‘reading’ and inspiring artists such as Madonna for her Vogue‘s Video, Azaelia Banks, Zebra Fucking Katz and Fka Twigs.

Katz, Z. –Ima Read (ft. Njena Reddd Foxxx) [Official Full Stream] [Online video] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

Faith, G. (2015) Fka Twings Voguing The House Down! (drops mic beautifully) [Online video] Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2017].

      Reference list:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s