Photos: the Black Liberation Ball showed off the vitality of Toronto’s ballroom scene

Competitors from all over North America walked, vogued and brought face, body and attitude to Harbourfront Centre's Black History Month extravaganza


Kuumba is Toronto’s longest-running Black History Month celebration, and the jam-packed month of events hit its apex with the Black Liberation Ball on Saturday, February 10 – an event with so much demand that Harbourfront Centre had to move it to a bigger venue at 245 Queens Quay West at the last minute.

As the fabulous finale to the Journey To Black Liberation symposium – which took place Friday and Saturday – the competition was a testament to the present vitality of ballroom culture in Toronto and beyond. Fierce competitors from all over North America took part in categories like Runway, Body and Best Dressed for cash prizes, but Vogue Performance brought the most contestants, each dressed in an all-black look inspired by the Black Panthers.

It was an electrifying extravaganza of pageantry and glamour, while also a celebration of Blackness in all its forms and the indispensable contributions of LGBTQ+ cultures and subcultures.

Check out photos of voguers, runwayers, sex sirens and costumes representing Haitian history, the power of Black Magic, Cher from Clueless and more.

It gave us life, and it will give you life, too.

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Kate Killet

Kash worked those wrists in the Hands category.

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Kate Killet

Things got hot in the Sex Sirens category.

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Kate Killet

TravoyintheFlesh taking a Hennessy break.

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Kate Killet

Inspired by Tracey “Africa” Norman, the model who broke barriers as the first trans woman featured on a Clairol box, contestants in the Face category Cora Kim of the House of Amazon and Venus Monroe dressed in all white in homage to that Clairol Box.

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Kate Killet

Audience member Julia Blakey didn’t walk, but dressed to represent.

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Kate Killet

The legendary Leiomy Maldonado is known as the “Wonder Woman of Vogue” for a reason. Although serving as a member of the judging panel, Leiomy also treated us to a performance to kick off the second half of the evening. We’re still dead because she killed us.

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Kate Killet

Leiomy Maldonado owned the runway.

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Kate Killet

The category for Runway Voodoo aimed to celebrate Haitian history and the power of Black magic.

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Kate Killet

Ky did up Cher from Clueless giving a school girl realness vibe.

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Kate Killet

Caesar “Miyake” Mugler (left) and James Bailey (aka Songbird Siriano) went head to head on the runway.

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Kate Killet

Malibu Stacey brought it for the body category.

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Kate Killet

The best dressed category called for African prints.

music@nowtoronto.com | @katekillet

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