If you’re a gay, black, leotard-donning dance troupe living in the Deep South, you pick up a few tricks for survival. The members of The Prancing Elites have been living in Mobile, Alabama all their lives. Despite every kind of setback, they’re still dancing and looking fabulous. How do they do it? We asked them what they’ve learned by being an Elite in the south. Here’s what they said!
1. HAVING THICK SKIN IS CRUCIAL
Kentrell: Once we started becoming more notable, people REALLY started to say negative stuff about us.
Jerell: The negative stuff gives us thicker skin. My mom always told me that if people aren’t talking about you, you’re doing something wrong. I’m still trying to work on how I respond to it. I’m learning how not to lash out at people.
Kentrell: I’m working on it too. I have to say to myself: ‘why you mad?!!”
2. LIVING OUTSIDE THE BOX IS HARD, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
Adrian: The gay community is super small in Mobile. It’s so small that when someone thinks one way, everybody thinks the same way. So, it’s hard to live outside of the box.
Jerell: If you’re not following a trend in Mobile, people look at you. In the gay community especially, if you’re not following a certain person’s style, you’re not up to par. But we’re not trying to follow a trend. Everyone on our team has a different style. Girl, nobody’s following! Wear what you wanna wear!
Kareem: I think that’s the whole thing about The Prancing Elites. We don’t aim to be outside of the box: we are outside of the box.
Tim: I've got my own style. I like ponies and sundresses, which people think is weird. And white girl music.
3. BEWARE THE FAKENESS.
Kentrell:There are so many fake friends! We’ve got fake supporters who smile to our faces and they’re all excited that they know us, and then, they go behind our backs and say ‘they can’t dance.’
Jerell: And then you’ve got people who were friends with us before, all getting on the hate bus!
Adrian: It’s that whole small town Mobile thing, everybody has to think alike.
Kentrell: Then people popping out of nowhere acting like we’re close. I can’t.
4. THE FOOD IS AMAZING AND ALSO IT MAY KILL YOU.
Tim: I have to learn how to stop eating greasy food, and how to eat seaweed and greens. It’s so hard.
Tim: Or you know, green stuff.
5. NEW YORK IS A BIG NO.
Adrian: The first thing I noticed about New York is that you’re always on the go. Nobody’s staring at you weird because everybody has somewhere to be.
Jerell: Don’t nobody care what you’re doing.
Kareem: I need fresh air. I feel like I have to cough here.
Kentrell: I could never live in New York, it’s too fast for me.
Jerell: What I don’t understand is how come there’s so much traffic and there aren’t lots of accidents all the time? People are speeding all close together but nobody’s getting hit. In Mobile you’ve got accidents all the way down Highway 65.
Tim: There aren’t enough ponies in New York. In the south, they’re everywhere.