Things got off to a rocky start with Teyana Taylor’s tour for her latest album K.T.S.E. First, it started off as a joint effort with Jeremih titled “Later That Night,” but due to some internal conflicts, the two parted ways, leaving Taylor to rebrand as just the K.T.S.E. tour, with the Playboy cover star as the solo headliner. She hasn’t been alone, though, pulling the likes of Draya Michele onstage for lapdances — yep, that happened Sunday night. Throughout it all, she has featured a line up of voguers from the ballroom community as a part of the show.
When K.T.S.E. debuted at her listening party in Los Angeles and on a Twitter livestream, one of the immediate standout tracks was “WTP,” Teyana’s update of a 1991 track that’s been used in the ballroom community for decades. The update got played a bit in the community and laid over videos of performers dancing. Teyana showed her love, reposting a few of those clips on Instagram and even hosting a mini ball in New York, where she was rumored to be filming a music video for the track. Though that has yet to surface, on tour she’s been bringing out voguers like Japanesefaces and Tamiyah (both of the house of Miyake Mugler). In fact, Japanesefaces, who is also Teyana’s makeup artist, has made multiple appearances.
This weekend in L.A., Taylor bumped things up a notch. Giving a nod to the ballroom community in that city, the multi-hyphenate artist brought out the newly deemed icon Dashaun Wesley from the House of Lanvin. Known as the King of Vogue, and given the much-deserved ballroom title of icon in July during the Heritage Ball, Dashaun gave a performance worthy of his status while Taylor played the role of commentator, a role Dashaun is well known for.
During Dashaun’s performance, another performer made his entrance. In a bit of a fun head-to-head, Shaun Ross, model and musician, joined the fray, writing “Reunite[d] with the fam on the #KTSE tour” on Instagram.
The inclusion is a welcome one. It reverses the long trend of finding inspiration in the ballroom community without featuring its members. Here, with every performer she brings on stage, Taylor gives them the spotlight if only for a verse. She pumps them up, giving an ode to the community she was inspired by for every performance. It’s more than just refreshing: it should be the blueprint for how artists interact with marginalized cultures moving forward. Their talents, art, and creative outputs should not be stripped of them and used for commercial consumption without their own benefits. They should be brought along, and put in the spotlight just like anyone else.
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