Over the course of the past year, Black, queer representation has taken center stage in the media landscape, and quite frankly? It’s been a long time coming. From Pose to Legendary, we’ve been able to witness the beginning of a modern-day renaissance period in which Black LGBTQ+ voices and stories are front and center.
While these delineations have taken up space accurately portraying the nuances of the impact that Black, queer people have had on the art of dance, Red Bull is taking it a step further.
The heavyweight conglomerate, known for its line of best-selling energy drinks, kicked off its 2021 Red Bull Dance Your Style competition this fall in Boston and concluded last month in the nation’s capital. The competition spanned across six cities, in which street dancers competed to represent America at the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Final, taking place this upcoming December. The culminating event not only provided a platform that showcased a myriad of dancers and dance styles from various subcultures within the U.S., the competition also did something much more pivotal – it put Black, queer performers at the forefront.
One of those performers, Baltimore-based musician Tedra Wilson, also known as TT the Artist, is paving the way for Black, queer creatives on and off the stage.
Making waves in the entertainment industry as a multihyphenate who yields her talents across multiple facets of artistic endeavors is TT the Artist. From launching her own record label Club Queen Records to directing and producing the Netflix documentary Dark City Beyond The Beat that takes a look at Baltimore’s club music and dance culture scene, TT is a superstar through and through. With the colossal platform that she’s amassed, the mogul feels it’s important to use it to uplift the voices of Black, queer people.
“I think it’s so important to utilize my platform and for artists to use their platform to share and represent something that’s important to them,” TT told Blavity. “To me, sharing the voices of queer people, queer people of color, and women of color and women is something that’s become my life’s work. If I can use my platform to expand on what we see on television, what we hear in music, what we see on stage, those are the things that really excites me about the work that I’m doing.”
When it comes to Black, LGBTQ+ representation in the entertainment industry, TT feels that proper credit is not always given to queer creators.
“We are the trendsetters, we’re literally creating dope s**t all the time. A lot of artists and creators and innovators who are doing that and have our thumb on the pulse of where the industry is going, do not get the proper credits, we barely can get credited,” TT said during her conversation with Blavity. “One of the things that I fight for is credits and I try as much as possible to credit those who I’m working with. If I can share something that I can co-sign, I’m going to do it because I know those are the little seeds that help plant someone else’s trees that need to grow.”
TT also acknowledges the influence of Black, queer creators across multiple spectrums of creativity including music, art, and fashion
“We’re so influential on the current state of fashion, of musical, of art,” TT said. “We are often the shapeshifters, we are the culture. We make up a lot of the cool trends that we see and I feel like we see so many people get to capitalize off of that that may not identify as queer but we’re the ones in the underground clubs, creating the pulse of it all.”