Being a gay or transsexual Latino or black resident of New York was a hard life. Sometimes the simple act of walking down the street was enough to have you killed, and the police wouldn’t even look hard for the murderer. A hyper conservative time in New York’s past had thousands of New Yorkers fearing for their lives. The underground vogue ball scene provided some safe haven for these outcasts in modern society.
In 1990, Jennie Livingston, a documentarian, tried to tell their tale through a emotionally powerful documentary called “Paris is Burning.” Only released on VHS and in private back room artistic showings, it was one of the premiere films to display this ill documented section of urban living. For the longest time, it was incredibly hard to locate a copy of this film, and its ability to display these powerful messages were admittedly limited. Finally, around the turn of the century, someone updated the movie in ten parts to YouTube, where it was freely available.
The poor resolution and small screen size, however, caused it to receive a very little portion of the new interest it so desperately deserved. Now, however, this personal view of the underside of New York City can exhibit its powerful message of gay and transsexual life in urban New York before they were marred by the introduction of gentrification and the HIV AIDS epidemic that ravaged the community, all over Netflix or iTunes. This video can reach a whole new audience years after its creation.