The Prancing Elites are black, queer, gender non-conforming and from a state synonymous with intolerance, yet through a unique bond with each other and the success of their reality show--The Prancing Elites Project, currently in its second season on Oxygen--they have managed to carve out their own slice of the American dream. And, even more impressively, they've done so on their own fabulous terms.
Even with a newfound sense of fame, however, their native Mobile, Alabama continues to not only challenge but inspire the Elites. I had a quick kiki with pint-sized spitfire Jerel Maaddox and team captain/founder Kentrell Collins about what it means to prance to their own beats.
Out: What do you consider your biggest challenge when it comes to being both black and gay in America?
Jerel Maddox: We don't have the same rights as other Americans. We are often rejected from things/events because of our sexuality. Homophobia and racism is still big in America and the name-calling and ostracizing will never end. I'm immune to it now. It has become a part of life.
Kentrell Collins: Being gay and black in America already poses two strikes against us. There's still a lot of racism and homophobia going on in the world as we speak. I can honestly say that if we weren't living under various aforementioned circumstances, we wouldn't have half the problems we do now.
Have you noticed any changes in Mobile since becoming more and more famous and successful? Are people more accepting?
JM: I've noticed that people are more accepting of who we are now. There's less rebuttal when we are out in public. We still don't have much support here in Mobile (for example, we didn't receive much support from Mobile at our 2nd Annual Prance 2 the Beat Dance Competition), but publicly they are more accepting. There are still things that we aren't allowed to do because people feel like we aren't "family safe."
KC: People are more accepting only in certain cases. Right now in Alabama, with the success of the television show, we are still being discriminated against. Some people still are telling us "no" to performing at certain places, which is still quite sad, because at the end of the day all we want to do is just dance. The plus from coming from such a small town is the fact that it has molded us to be the strong-minded individuals that we are today.
Below, an exclusive clip from Tuesday night's episode of The Prancing Eites Project, 8pm on Oxygen: