Billy Porter took the stage introducing and celebrating ballroom culture before a live audience at the 2022 BET Awards. The high-energy showcase featured dancers Dashaun Wesley, Shannon Balenciaga, Dominique Jackson, Shaun Ross, and Kevin Prodigy. The quick but effective performance was the first of its kind to take place on the BET Awards stage and from the skill and the in-house audience reception, hopefully not the last.
Set to “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters, each talent put their best foot forward as audience members held up scorecards and signs displaying 9s and 10s.
The performance can be viewed as BET’s efforts toward advancement as the platform has faced multiple accusations of homophobia and transphobia through the years. Just this year, Lil Nas X called out the award show for his lack of nominations this year despite his commercial success.
In the past, members of Pose—the acclaimed series starring Porter that highlighted New York City’s drag ball culture scene—have spoken out against BET and other award programs for failing to recognize the entire cast.
“This is about the Emmys. This is about the BET Awards. This is about the NAACP. This is about the Golden Globes,” said actress Angelica Ross in 2020 according to the Los Angeles Times. “This is about the police force. This is about our healthcare system. This is about housing. This is about a legal system. This is about America, who refuses to acknowledge trans people and our humanity.”
Whether or not, the spotlight this year was progress or performative, the showcase was one of the 2022 BET Awards’ liveliest moments. Watch the ballroom scene performance led by Billy Porter above.