‘Legendary’: Ballroom Realness in Epic Fashion

Legendary is a cultural lesson and reality TV show all in one.

Arts Movies & Television Triston Brewer

This article was published on October 18th, 2022

Going where no one has ever ventured so deeply on television before, HBO Max has made Legendary– its take on the underground ballroom culture – into a competition series that brings the scene to the masses in an innovative way. The unscripted series has become a mini juggernaut that has taken vogue culture and its characters to the next level.

The show features divas, looks, moves, and enough flash to blind any audience. With host Dashaun Wesley and celebrity judges (Law Roach, Megan Thee Stallion, Jameela Jamil, Leiomy Maldonado) that bring something revered to something new and alternative, Legendary takes viewers on an epic ride while also schooling them on what exactly ballroom culture truly is – inside and out.

Legendary Is a Cultural Lesson and Reality Show All In One

Whereas other shows featured some elements of the ballroom scene, HBO Max has taken the bold step to stick in more than the tip with its coverage, which means audiences that thought they were about to witness a bastardized version of RuPaul’s Drag Race have been in for revelation after revelation. Legendary is edutainment, taking viewers into the heart of the community and the characters that have made the culture pop with prominence for what is now generations.

The series pits voguing ‘Houses’ against one another, battling each week for the opportunity to snatch not only glory and respect, but a cash prize. Through the art of voguing, a modern dance that highlights high fashion and choreography based on model poses, each challenge comes with full access to the members that make up each house as well as their back story and what the community has meant to them in their own personal journey. Heartfelt and deeper than many would have assumed, Legendary has it all and delivers on all cylinders. 

The Origins of Voguing

Contrary to popular folklore, voguing and ballroom culture did not originate with Madonna, but instead dates back several decades to the 1920 according to some historians, and possibly further. There is no exact date of when it exactly began, but the modern iteration started with Crystal LaBeija, one of the top drag performers in New York City during the 80s.

After being slighted time after time on the drag circuit funded primarily by white men, LaBeija called out the racism and began hosting balls of her own under the House of LaBeija, creating history in the process and a revolution that is still felt to this day. Four generation later, the House of LaBeija is still in full force, and there are several other Houses that have come along to strengthen and reinforce the culture and history of ballroom that has found an entirely new audience.

Now that Legendary has been on for a few seasons and renewed for a fourth, HomoCulture wants to know which Houses have you been rooting for? List your favorites in the comment section below!

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