David Weatherly's documentary Thee Debauchery Ball wasn't made anticipating this moment in Black and American history, but is an interesting document of the impact music has in creating spaces of exploration (spiritual, emotional, sexual) within the Black community. Set in Chicago and orienting itself around the city's house music scene—another genre of music birthed by Black queers—the documentary illuminates the bi-annual event celebrating BDSM, house, and Blackness, as well as the partygoers, DJs, and hosts associated with it. Love—for self, for others—and freedom are infused in the roots of the private ball. In that space, Black people don fetish gear and leather, tie each other up, dance, kiss, be naked, rub on each other, all without the prying eyes of a society that constantly polices and scrutinizes our every move. "Thee Debauchery Ball, specifically for African-Americans, just means a freedom that we typically don't have in our everyday lives," says one partygoer. The film is a reminder that the dance floor can be a place—or perhaps, state—of Black liberation, too. JASMYNE KEIMIG
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