Oral history, dance, writing
Sydney is a storyteller, performer and archivist who uses multiple mediums, written word, film, and audio to share histories and herstories to connect people across continents, cultures, and time. An Ivy League graduate with roots in Trinidad and Tobago and Chicago, IL, Sydney’s current work centers on creating an extensive oral history archive of New York City’s Ballroom Community. Sydney writes about ballroom for mainstream news outlets like Vice and the New York Times and is currently working on a book based on his oral history research that chronicles the history and evolution of the Ballroom Scene in New York City. Sydney is an active member and participant in the Ballroom Community. He began voguing whilst on a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellowship in Berlin, Germany. As a member of the Ballroom Scene in Europe, Sydney joined a house and got deeper into the scene in Paris, London, and Amsterdam before moving to New York. Sydney made history as the first transgender man to win a performance category at The Latex Ball in 2019 as he vogues “old way” performance, the original style of voguing.
Icons, Legends, Statements, and Stars: An Oral History Series of New York City’s Ballroom Community
Sydney will develop the oral history project Icons, Legends, Statements, and Stars to creatively document the New York City ballroom community. Having emerged from New York’s drag queen competitions of the 1960s and ‘70s, ballroom is a Black and Latino LGBTQ fashion and dance culture that has primarily been documented by those outside the community. With Icons, Legends, Statements, and Stars, Sydney will bring together elders and a younger generation within the ballroom scene to facilitate a series of oral history interviews, workshops, community film screenings, and other events, to support this community in writing its own histories through public engagement and a cohesive archive.
What Does Abundance Mean To You?
“Practicing abundance means expanding multigenerational black and brown LGBTQ spaces. As the Ballroom community is a heavily marginalized community, abundance means taking up space and celebrating ourselves, our histories and herstories, and exploring new avenues of ourselves in community with each other.”