JJ Vincent would like to introduce the Prancing Elites, and the town that didn’t expect them.
Semmes is a small town outside of Mobile, AL. South Alabama. As you’d expect from a small town, they have a Christmas parade. The application is available online.
Depending on which media report you read, the Prancing Elites were either invited or applied and were accepted. According to the parade organizers, they did not know exactly what the group was until they arrived to perform, because dance groups are not investigated.
The reaction to the group was largely what most people would expect if a group of effete African-American men dressed in skimpy costumes danced in a small-town Christmas parade. The comments ranged from unhappy to downright ugly, and neutral to extremely supportive, including a scattering of, “What’s the big deal?”
And then there were comments like this:
“Things that are acceptable. NFL cheerleaders shaking their money makers. Little girls dressed up like show girls in dance recitals. Grown men in sports smacking each other on the bums. Beauty pageants where female contestants have to use body glue to keep their pieces parts in their clothes. Dancing men? Oh, the outrage! Now I’ve to explain that one to my kids? OK. They are men who like to dance. Talk about a tempest in a teapot. Had it been the Chippendales or the Thunder from Down Under no one would have cared, ’cause they look like manly men.”
“I’m a Christian and see no difference in the way they were dressed and dancing than the way any of the other dance teams, baton twirlers or cheer teams dress and dance at any parade or high school football game I have been to in the past six years since my children have been in high school!! Why is it not ok for them because they are men and ok for the others simply because they are women? I may be Christian but do not agree with a double standard!!
And from Progressive Populist, this:
Would the folks in Semme been so outraged if it had been young attractive white females dressed in the same outfits, doing the same dance moves? Somehow, we don’t think so. This IS the South, after all. As it was, the reaction they received was reminiscent of the scene in the classic movie Animal House, when the frat boys unknowingly entered an all-black bar to see their “buddy” Otis Day perform.
Prancing Elites leader Kentrell Collins said: “We are no different than any team out there dancing. We want people to stop looking at gender and focus on the talent,” he said. “It’s OK for a woman to put on tights and play football but when a man wants to put on leotard and tights, it’s a problem.”
And therein lies the question.
Would there have been any controversy if the dancers had been women (of any ethnicity)? Or if the men had been white, or more traditionally dressed or dancing in a different way? Was the real issue the dancing, or the people doing it?
The Prancing Elites have apologized, but their point about why, if they were inappropriate, were they allowed to go out in the first place, is a good one. The Friends of Semmes claims it was to avoid lawsuits.
But maybe they were just expecting a little more from the townsfolk than they got.