Black Girls Burlesque?
Last Friday I attended Carmel Revue: A Black Burlesque Show at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. It was my first burlesque show and my first time at the Beachland.
I realized earlier I didn’t exactly know what a burlesques show was when I tried to explain it to someone who never heard of burlesque. I saw friends on Facebook who attend other burlesque shows and I was down to try something new so off I went.
By definition, a burlesque show is a variety show that features a striptease. I thought it was a classier type of strip show with curvier women. I think both are right. There was a seductive dance troop, a singer and a few women taking
off some of their clothes. No one threw dollars on the stage, but there was a tip bucket that went around for people to put money into after each act.
Is a Black Burlesque Show Needed?
Apparently so. I talked with one of the producers, Bella Sin and she told me about all of the crazy and ridiculous calls she got about solely showcasing Black women. She said one caller asked if there were going to "be the pretty black girls". Someone told her she sounded "too Hispanic" on the phone and the list goes on and on as I’ve learned from making something Black focused.
There were a variety of people there. Black women came out together for a girl’s night out. Couples were in attendance. There were white people, members of Cleveland’s LGBT community, and older people there. I have to admit the audience diversity surprised me.
The acts were eclectic as the women performing. The emcee for the night, Ryan, did an amazing job, keeping the crowd engaged and pumped up between each act.
I was saddened to think about how many people did not attend this wonderful event. I wondered if it was because people had misconceptions about burlesque like I had.
I was also saddened by the lack of people tipping. Like I said earlier, unlike a strip club, no one flashes money or throws it on the stage. Instead, volunteers walked around and collected tips after each performance.
This night was all about empowerment and body acceptance. Women often feel the need to drop a few pounds to be cute for an event, an outfit, or a man, but this event reinforced how wrong that thinking is. To me, these women were the epitome of “real women” to me and made me think about the mental baggage that I hold on to when it comes to body image.
I was encouraged to see women, dance and wear revealing outfits or take off their clothes that had a little extra flab like me. One of the acts wore an amazing dress I would have talked myself out of wearing before seeing her in it. I was so uplifted by seeing the variety of women in this show and I have so much respect for the women that took part and put this great event together.