Back by popular demand, ADAPT Community Network hosted their second Radical Joy Ball. This year there were two events to commemorate LGBTQ+ individuals within our community.
The Radical Joy Ball celebrates the pride of self-expression. At this event we highlighted disability and LGBTQ+ pride. We recognize, honor, and celebrate those within our community who are LGBTQ+, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and living with a disability. It was inspired by New York’s iconic ballroom culture.
ADAPT’s first Radical Joy Ball took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art on June 9th kicking off their Whitney Pride weekend. This is part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to support LGBTQ+ artists and communities and offer an inclusive space for all to gather and enjoy American art.
Hans Anggraito, Self-Advocacy Specialist, Shaniece Frank, Assistant Director of Community Outreach, and Peter Cobb, Director of Community Outreach worked closely with the Whitney Museum staff Dyeemah Simmons, Director of Social Impact, Francisco Eraso, Associate Manager of Access & Inclusion and Midrene Lamy, Coordinator of Community Programs & Partnerships to make this event a success. The Whitney staff elevated the show to the next level by creating a runway lined with lights for participants to enjoy. Additionally, they utilized a professional lighting designer to create the incredible stage lighting throughout the duration of the show which helped participants to dance the night away. ADAPT has a long-standing relationship with the Whitney Museum. The Museum has provided guided tours and artmaking over the years, including ASL-Interpreted tours. Peter Cobb stated, “Although many museums have recently tried to improve accessible opportunities for people with disabilities, the Whitney Museum has shown that commitment for many years. Working with the museum staff has been a great experience and has resulted in so many amazing experiences for the people we support.”
Alicia Angevine, Director of Recreation Services was the MC for both of the balls and kept the crowd engaged as each of ADAPT’s performers took the stage. Dani Coles, Markia Carter and Debbie Maher kicked off the event with a compelling introduction stating, “Today, we will celebrate creativity, self-expression, and yes, the fierceness of our community! In this Ball, like we do every day at ADAPT Community Network, we’re creating a world where people of all abilities, all genders, and all sexualities are welcome and celebrated. We call our ball Radical Joy, because we know that the pursuit of joy and happiness is a basic human right!
Cobb stated, “It was incredible to see how enthusiastic the audience was. They were very into it. The museum staff were blown away. They already asked us to participate again next year!”
The second event took place at our Day Program in Brooklyn and offered remote access so folks could participate from the comfort of their home. Like the event at the Whitney, performers presented their looks and struck a pose on stage.
Mercy Weiss, Art Specialist, helped coordinate the outfits that each person supported for each performance of the ball. She sat with each person performing and asked them what they wanted to get across with their outfit. Based on their responses she helped to design it with them and even helped with doing their makeup. It was truly a team effort.
Performers also participated in a spoken word portion of the event where all performers told the crowd about themselves and discussed what Pride meant to them. In addition, we had a special guest attend our performance in Brooklyn. Magenta, a dancer and Drag Queen dazzled the crowd with a performance and killer dance moves.
Both Radical Joy Balls were a tremendous success. We are so happy we could highlight disability and LGBTQ+ pride present throughout our community. We look forward to next year’s Radical Joy Ball! Click the link below to view a snippet of the performance at the Whitney! 2022 Radical Joy Ball