All they want to do is dance.
In Oxygen's new reality series “The Prancing Elites Project,” a hearty dance troupe of effeminate gay black men in Mobile, Alabama dress up like female cheerleaders and dance in parades. Or at least try to. Though they are embraced by some, they are reviled by many. One woman expresses concern that children will see them. A straight man says that seeing men dressed like women makes him "uncomfortable.”
And so begins the saga of “The Prancing Elites,” a reality series that plants its feet in the real world. The series comes to your TV screens with a lot of heart, soul and a social conscious.
"All we want to do is dance," says group leader Kentrell Collins in the premiere episode, which airs on Oxygen on April 22 at 10 p.m. Their style is called J-Setting. These are the kinds of moves that Beyonce offered in her famous Single Ladies video. The Elites are every bit as talented as the superstar diva — they move in perfect unison to the hip-hop music which inspires them.
Their bravery is impressive. Viewers in the "gay safe havens" on the East and West Coasts are free to march through the streets of their respective cities, proudly proclaiming their sexual and/or gender identities. In Alabama it's not so easy. In addition to the scorn of the local populace, the Elites are "warned" by the police to be "respectful.”
The Elites are not without their fans. Real Housewives star Nene Leakes tell the Elites how fabulous they are, and that they inspire her. Most movingly, a teary-eyed white girl, no more than five years old, tells the Elites that people should treat them better. The girl and her mom encourage the Elites to "keep doing what you’re doing.”
As the dancers give the little girl some of their bracelets as a gift, viewers can only shake their heads with awe and pride and the strength and dignity of these wonderful dancers, who will not back down. They're going to dance, and they'll do it on their own terms.
Look for The Prancing Elites Project to begin on Oxygen on Wednesday, April 22, at 10 p.m.