Gender-Bending, All-Male Dance Troupe Causes Outrage And “Disgust” In Alabama

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 12.02.56 PMThe Prancing Elites, an all-male, all fierce dance troupe from Mobile, Alabama, thought it was just another typical day at werq when they were invited to participate in the annual Semmes Christmas Parade. Though their hair was laid like Christmas Eve, their faces beat to perfection and their moves strictly on point, the Elites have been receiving some serious shade from outraged spectators who felt their inclusion in the parade was “insulting.” reports that members of the Semmes wrote parade organizers saying they were disgusted and that children should not have been exposed to the Prancers.

“I had no idea that they would be dressed the way they were and that they would think it’s appropriate for a community Christmas parade,” said parade organizer and board member Karen McDuffie. “Their costumes and the style of dancing were inappropriate.”

McDuffie dismissed the dance troupe’s moves as “vulgar” before issuing an apology on behalf of the Friends of Semmes, the parade’s organizing committee. Her complaints, meanwhile, echo the reaction the stars of Kinky Boots received when they marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Someone should really tell these people there’s nothing gayer than a parade and kids aren’t emotionally scarred by a queen in a full face. If anything, the children should be inspired to step their games up.

The Prancing Elites perform J-Setting, a style of hip-hop dance originated at Jackson State University in the ’70s, when it was performed by women. In the mid-90s, however, men got in on the action and the Prancing Elites have found a small chunk of fame for their “vulgar” dancing.

Former basketball star and noted giant Shaquille O’Neal is a fan and the troupe appeared on The Real, hosted by fellow queen, Tamar Braxton. They even auditioned for America’s Got Talent in November.

Despite the negative reaction, the Prancers are throwing the curtains aside and letting the light shine in; they have several gigs lined up and a potential reality show in the works. And as for the parade backlash, they chalk it up to a double  standard.

“We are no different than any team out there dancing. We want people to stop looking at gender and focus on the talent,” group leader Kentrell Collins said. “It’s OK for a woman to put on tights and play football, but when a man wants to put on a leotard and tights, it’s a problem.”

Not for us. Snatch those Santa hats, hunties!

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  • Mike

    Look at what they are wearing. No wonder we have so much trouble achieving equality when we shove that in straight people’s faces at a community Christmas parade. Take it to the pride parade, honey! I wouldn’t even want to see that at a pride parade. What the hell were they thinking! People who were already on the fence at that parade, just fell off of it.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Typical Southern mongrels who don’t understand dance or style. It’s always the uptighty whities who get their Tampons and Depends in a twist. Lord grant them some edumacation down in the delta country!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Mike: I hope they broke their necks! Enough with the hillbilly mentality!

  • Tyler100


    I didn’t realize our job was to make straight people comfortable. I thought we were supposed to just be ourselves. Silly me.

  • ouragannyc

    Costume may not have been appropriate for the occasion, but the choregraphy was fierce, well synched and superbe….Loved it.

  • Kieran

    They should change their name to the “Prancing Stereotypes”. Their Christmas message: male homosexuals = wannabe females.

  • Tyler100


    You should change your name to “mypercievedmasculinityisallIhave.” Anti-effeminacy gay guys = men who want to be perceived as straight.

  • Mr. E. Jones

    I think the parade watchers were angry because they’ve never seen thin people before. That must have thrown those tubbies for a loop.

  • the other Greg

    @Mr. E. Jones: LOL and they’re still talking about it at Cracker Barrel and the Waffle House.

  • ouragannyc

    @Mr. E. Jones: LOLOLOLOL

  • Fourltrfred

    The Prancing Elites are fierce and fabulous. They need to perform at every Christmas parade.

  • Jamal

    I have no problem with queens, but I do have a major problem with public sluttyness. The gay community needs to advance and we cannot
    do this with members of our community acting like this. When you accepted the fact that you were gay you became an ambassador of the gay community. People look at you as as an example of what it means to be gay and its in our interest to give them the best representation that we can. Whether or not certain people want to accept that is up to them, just know that when people look at us they are judging and making up their minds. You can choose not to care and twerk at a Chrismas parade but in the end it only continues to tear away from the community. It also perpetuates the sterotype that all gay men are hypersexual.

  • renegro88

    If these would have been a bunch if sluts in mini skirts, showing half
    their ass and boobs no one would have minded… at least these guys can dance and the outfit is festive… not my cup of tea but tired of every “straight acting” (lmao) gay man talking about being misrepresented …. grow a pair and get over yourself…..

  • Jamal

    @renegro88: how about a little decency? Class? Self respect? What do girls in mini skirts have to do with the gay community? Nothing, and making such comparisons does little to help.
    Did you see where it said CHRISMAS PARADE?
    By the way you don’t have to be straight acting to carry yourself in a tasteful manner. In the end public indency is only counter productive to gay rights. It’s a time and place for everything.

  • renegro88

    there’s plenty of self respect there …you said public sluttyness I was just making an example….they are performers and dressed as such. maybe if you ever left Omaha or wherever you are from you’d realize that the rest of the world is tired of conforming to you’re idea of right , wrong or distasteful…. but thanks for the lecture mom I’ll pass next time..

  • loren_1955

    Hmmm, folks with some real self hatred issues here. Since we are gay we are now expected to act straight??? I don’t think so. We, whoever we are, should be expected to be true to ourselves. If that means prancing down the streets, let’s celebrate. If that means hiding in the library as a bookworm, let’s celebrate. This idea that we must be respectable, by whose standards, certainly not by the straights and not by the hoity-toitys of gaydom.

    Another thought…conservatives, always needing someone to hate…let’s be careful we don’t fall into the same trap.

  • Jamal

    @renegro88: like I said there is a time and place for everything. If this was at a club or something it would have been appropriate. This was at a Chrismas parade where you would want to use a bit more tact. It has nothing to do with being a mom, standards blah blah blah. Its simply common sense. If I wanna be a freak I invite my boyfriend over, not flaunt my business in the streets.

  • averageguy40

    Yea, Not a popular stance, but I have to agree with Mike. It wasn’t appropriate. It’s not even that great of a dance. People want to be controversial and then seem shocked when they are.

  • Teleny

    I’ve never been a fan of 1/2 drag, but these Queens are ‘all that and a bag of chips!’ If these folks were watching them on Americas got talent there would be no issue!

  • Bee Gaga

    @Jamal: Well here’s the gotcha, they didn’t just show up and start dancing, duh. They were INVITED by the organizers, a simple google search would have shown what they’re about and what kind of dance they do. If you invite some hip-hop dancers to your renaissance festival and they OMG do hip-hop dance and you’re “appalled and outraged” about it then you have no one to blame but your stupidity and inept ability to vet.

  • Bee Gaga

    @averageguy40: It was appropriate they were invited so they did what they always do, if they people didn’t like it then maybe they shouldn’t have booked them for the parade. There’s nothing controversial about this only ignorant people and conservatives would find this “controversial” ONLY because they’re men, the dance troupe at my high school dressed similarly to this and did even more provocative moves splits and spread eagles and all that jazz, no one was ever outraged. But you have men do it, oh then its controversy.

  • ladnek

    Always so sad to see gay men degrade themselves like this. I’m talking about those slut-shaming this group. From my perspective, the lady who hired this group did NOT do her homework. Why hire a transgender bending troupe? Does this troupe advertise themselves as something different? That’s like a gay liberal inviting Phil Robertson to his wedding and then being outraged when he says something homophobic.

    Gay men insecure over their masculinity always shout: This reflects badly on our community. Those poor innocent dumb straight people will now think we’re all like this and evil. Umm, no. The ones that think that didn’t support us in the first place. Any human who isn’t ignorant and is secure would not think that. The ones getting outraged over this are the same ones that would get outraged with two clean cut happy looking gays holding hands. In fact, the latter terrifies them more. No matter how much you suck up to them they’ll never respect you. You are desperate to be considered masculine? Then stop being their bitch and worrying so much about what straight people think about you. Alot of so called masculine guys are so tough they’re still in the closet! Who’s the real masculine one here? The one straight-ACTING because he is so terrified of being judged and disliked, or the dancing queen who stands up for himself even if those around him judge and alienate him for it?

  • KDub

    Christmas parades aren’t supposed to be “fierce”! I see why these people were upset. If I had taken my nephews to this, I would’ve been just as P.O.’ed, not only because the act is obviously inappropriate for kids but because this type of silliness is always the image of the LGBT community that is presented to the masses. I’m not a huge conspiracy theorist, but I definitely think there’s an agenda to make the LGBT community look a bunch of circus freaks. The only thing worse is seeing exactly how many gays are completely willing to be exploited and look completely foolish.

  • Jamal

    @Bee Gaga: More inadequate comparisons. We are the glbt community, not renaissance folk.
    Anyway dancers do all kind of dances, I really doubt this is their only routine.
    Just like I doubt Beyoncé would sing “bootylicious” in church. She would pick an appropriate song for the event.
    I for one know that as a gay person if I was in the audience with my neices and nephews I wouldn’t want them seeing ANYONE half naked and gyrating, it was inappropriate.

    On another note their lewd stereotype does little to help the already crumbling Black gay community who have little resources, and also have to deal with being put down and out casted because homosexuality is sadly still seen as taboo in the African American community.

  • Jamal

    Your rant is pointless. I’m actually quite effeminate, and I would NEVER endorse this
    behavior. Keep it at the pride parades hon!

  • sonofabee

    What else would you expect from Alabama? If these had been white men in drag, there probably would have been fewer complaints. I’m sure the local high schools have “powder puff” football games every year, with the white boys dressed up as female cheerleaders. Somehow THAT’s fine and “family friendly” but this isn’t? Lame double standard.

  • Will L

    I have to agree with Mike and Jamal. They should have toned down the act so it wasn’t like a lounge act. I think it’s great that they were invited, but they will probably not be invited back. Just being there in those outfits would probably have pushed enough buttons for one year. There were small children in the crowd and it sounds like their act was a bit vulgar for that audience.

  • Teleny

    @KDub: if this group was invited and they performed as they normally do it wasn’t their fault. What’s embarrassing about being an outstanding dancer?

  • Deepdow

    Way too much outrage these days. A big fat so what is what this is. I bet this could have happened, with no outrage, in the 19th and 20th century (albeit performed by ‘straight’ white farmer-types) with zero rants and raves. Just “boys being boys” nyuk-nyuk-nyuk !!

  • CCTR

    @Will L:
    I would love to see more of their dance routine. They are good!

    For all the haters, check out most of the professional sporting league female cheerleaders, they wear a lot less clothing than the Prancing Elite are wearing, they gyrate and do all types of sexualized movements, and those sporting events are hailed as “All-American” and family events with small children in attendance as well. Their Prancing Elites costumes were festive and appropriate. There was nothing vulgar about their performance. This is what local community parades are all about showcasing people and organizations from within the particular community.

  • CCTR

    @Jamal: homosexuality is not only seen as taboo in the African American community, many communities view it as taboo

    why should this type of “behavior” be kept at a Pride parade, isn’t that what the idea of Pride is all about, being proud of who you are especially sharing and displaying your talents

    as for the gay community advances it has way more to do with us being and accepting ourselves and supporting each other

    But nonetheless you have every right to your opinion.

  • Jamal

    @CCTR: Trust me that homosexuality is most taboo in the African American community. They could have chose something better.

    But I’m not surprised. People supporting this kind of non sense will be the first to cry foul when we get hated on, beat up, and descriminated against. Ever heard the saying put your best foot forward?

  • KDub

    @Teleny: I agree it wasn’t entirely their fault. Whoever booked made a giant oopsie. As much as I loathe drag shows in gay bars, it is a more appropriate setting for them. It should be kept in bars in general, gay or str8 (don’t see why the str8s should be deprived of the opportunity to suffer through an hour of bad Cher impersonations), but kids need to be allowed to be kids for awhile (without mom and dad having to explain to their sons why some grown man is twirling around dressed like their little sisters).

  • CCTR

    When someone is hated on, beat up, and discriminated against for what you consider nonsense is implying that they are to blame for bigotry and hatred and brought it upon themselves. That is not right and is a dangerous way of thinking. Maybe this was the best they had to offer in their minds. It didn’t live up to other folks standards of tastefulness but we all have different standards. It’s their responsibility to represent themselves not to represent you or anyone else really. I hope you cry foul when we are hated on, beat up and discriminated…it is what is is.. foul! Again I understand your point but I am trying to get you to think of it from a different perspective. I used to think that way but I can to a realization that for me I was dealing with some self hate issue basically relating to my homosexuality.

  • Jamal

    Oh save it. People give us enough of a hard time in society as it is. Exactly how is gyrating around nude in front of kids helping our cause? People go by example majority of the time, so yes cry foul when your chickens come home.

  • Daniel-Reader

    On the bright side, it gives the townsfolk something interesting to talk about for the next 20 years. The cow-tipping reports were getting stale! LOL

  • dustashed

    People just need to get accustomed to it that’s all. Just keep rubbing it in their faces until they get desensitized to it until it’s deemed a normal thing.

    If it worked in a Catholic majority country, I see no reason why it wouldn’t work someplace else. there would be initial resistance of course, but they could only resist for so long.

    Before there used to be a huge stigma on gays and drag shows, now.. local Ms. Gay competitions(Drag show/beauty contest) are held right beside catholic churches in towns all over the country and no one even bats an eyelash. And mind you, this happens during feast days of patron saints for those towns. The world is changing :)

  • dustashed

    Just a different perspective on things ^^^

  • ShaunNJ

    The article says the Prancing Elites were invited to participate. Presumably before you invite a performer one has seen them perform. While they may have been a surprise to some of the spectators these performers are not at fault. And we see far more scandalous and lewd performances by women; these dancers are relatively tame. But if this performance is inappropriate, then blame the parade organizers who asked them to participate. Anyone who Googles this troupe sees exactly how they look and perform.

  • DarrellGandy

    Sure my state is not the most accepting of gays. Although thus dance line did not know what they were agreeing to, there is a still a thing of public decency. Even the female dance lines the are emulating have guidelines regarding appearance. I would be appalled by a chubby guy with a belly button wearing revealing clothing bucking down my street. And don’t give me shit about gay’s narcissistic focus on body image

  • sonofabee

    @DarrellGandy: “Sure my state is not the most accepting of gays.” It’s not the most accepting of blacks either.

    “And don’t give me shit about gay’s narcissistic focus on body image.” Well, you kind of asked for it. So consider the shit given.

  • viveutvivas

    @Jamal, they were not nude. Enough with the hyperbole.

    And they were only representing themselves, not you. If you are one of those gay people who think they have to apologize to the straights for living, be my guest, but don’t impose your values on everyone else.

  • sonofabee

    @KDub: “…kids need to be allowed to be kids for awhile (without mom and dad having to explain to their sons why some grown man is twirling around dressed like their little sisters).”

    What’s to explain? It seems pretty self-explanatory to me. And how does this detract from their childhood, as your post seems to imply? Good grief. Lots of kids saw the movie “Tootsie” in the ’80s or “Mrs Doubtfire” in the ’90s and it didn’t screw them up or turn them gay just because they *GASP* saw a man dressed as a woman. And like I mentioned before, I bet a lot of the local high schools have the boys dressed up as girly cheerleaders for homecoming or for the powder puff game. Ever been to a high school football game? You’ll see every age group in the bleachers from newborn infants to 90-year-olds.

    This uproar over the dance troupe is nothing more than a double standard, and a racial-tinged one at that. If this had been the bearded family from that A&E show dressed in drag, everybody in that Alabama town would’ve thought it was great.

  • Jamal

    When half of Black gays is dying of HIV its no help when you got these twinks parading around like harlots. A bunch of sluts at the Chrismas parade no matter how you slice it.
    But keep defending this debauchery and watch they keep beating up on us.

    The comparisons don’t mean shit, this is about us. I could careless about some sleezy ass bimbo cheerleaders.

  • Bee Gaga

    @Jamal: Well clearly you don’t know them, this is WHAT j-setting is, and that’s the kind of dancing they are known for. Their dance troupe isn’t “any and all dances” they’re j-setters, period point blank. Known of their moves were “inappropriate” I watched the entire video on their youtube channel, so try again. Furthermore, too bad for you and your “traditional” conservative bs. No one has to adhere to what YOU deem as “appropriate” I think you as a gay man being around children is “inappropriate” is that going to stop you from going somewhere with your niece and nephew? I would imagine and hope not. So stop trying to infringe on another people because YOU’RE uncomfortable with them. Work on yourself.

  • Bee Gaga

    @Will L: You can watch their whole act on their youtube page, NOTHING inappropriate or vulgar about it. The only thing that was found “inappropriate” was the fact that they were gay men, black gay men at that. Put a bunch of white women in the same outfit doing the same moves this would not have been an outrage

  • Jamal








  • Jamal




  • sonofabee

    Guys, can we take up a collection to repair the caps lock key on Jamal’s keyboard?

  • Jamal

    @sonofabee: I’m on my phone.

    I mean I would love to wallop around at holiday parades with my balls bulging, but you dont win friends with salad, and you get more bees with honey than vinegar. Present the image you would like to be perceived as, and I’m not going to say anymore.

  • Bee Gaga

    @Jamal: “ITS [sic] A CHRISTMAS PARADE” And? Who tf cares? That’s THEIR job and THEIR dance style, if they didn’t like it then DON’T hire them. You can’t hire a stripper for your nephews birthday party and then get mad when she starts taking off her clothes and dancing “inappropriately” girl get over yourself! You’re an ignorant self-hating “queer” and you can have SEVERAL seats. “Save the children comparison” no because you’re a tired queen and your idea of “appropriateness” is just that AN IDEA you fool. That’s very subjective, and you guess because you’re not parading around lewdly that makes a difference? There’s millions of conservative people in this country who think you being homosexual PERIOD is a bad thing and children shouldn’t be around you just because you’re homosexual. You see how that word subjective works there? So you b***ing and moaning about ‘ITS [sic] A CHRISTMAS PARADE” doesn’t mean anything, congratulations you can read and have eyes. Self-respect? They have plenty. Integrity? You really are an idiot aren’t you, clearly they have plenty. Not having integrity would be them listening to ignorant fools like yourself and changing their outfits, taking off their makeup and doing moves you deem “appropriate” which would be untrue to who they are as performers.

    As for your other stupid comment, its called an analogy…a comparison. Maybe you should go back to school so you can know and understand these kinds of things. Yes I will be the first to say something, because we have RIGHTS and LAWS in this country and its just being an overall good human being (which clearly you aren’t) just because someone isn’t your ideal of what a “man” is suppose to be or how he is suppose to act does not give you license to attack them, you dumbo. As for the perpetuation of stereotypes, ehh get over it. No one should change who THEY are because YOU feel that them being themselves perpetuates a “stereotype” of you. That’s not how the world works, if people want to be ignorant and think every gay man is like them then that’s their issue NOT mine, yours, or their’s. So try again girlfriend your points are invalid, irrelevant and all around ignorant. How are those log cabin republican meetings going for you?

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Bee Gaga: Way too wordy… you flunked College Writing 101, didn’t you! Ahaaa!

  • Saralikesyarr

    I disagree that we shouldn’t offend people. The process of getting a new idea accepted follows an acronym: RAMA that is, Resistance, Anger, Mellowing, Acceptance.

    The more people see an extreme of something, the less resistant they are to a less extreme version of it. They become desensitized to it.

    Offending people with highly serialized displays of LGBT behavior, is highly important to getting LGBT acceptance, because when somebody see’s something like that, then, when they meet just an everyday normal LGBT person, it seems less extreme. Suddenly, holding hands or two men kissing in the park isn’t as bad.

    It IS important to desensitize them, that way they don’t react as much, and the mellowing and acceptance phase can set in quicker.

  • Saralikesyarr

    that’s highly sexualized displays, not highly serialized. Autocorrect typo.

  • Saralikesyarr

    They actually use this same technique in the military to prepare recruits for combat. This is why in basic training, they spends lots of time yelling at the recruits, and making them crawl through ditches while being shot at overhead. It’s desensitize them to the surprises of combat, so that they don’t loose their cool.

    The same approach works for bigots, you can desensitize them to LGBT people, and then it’s less extreme for them when they just see normal LGBT behavior like couples kissing.

  • Saralikesyarr

    People also use the same techniques to train horses, and get them to be less sensitive to sounds, or things that might spook them.

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