#OpenTVPresents: NUPITA OBAMA CREATES VOGUA, the first of a series of pilots about artists exploring alternative relationships.
"Vogua" is written and directed by Aymar Jean Christian. The episode is produced by Myra Boone (Board Member, Black Alphabet Film Festival), starring dancer and hip-hop artist Erik Wallace, yoga and performance artist Kiam Junio and drag performance artist Saya Naomi.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND NUPITA OBAMA CREATES VOGUA
The idea for vogua came to me after I started taking yoga last winter to keep my body flexible and healthy. I was seeing and participating in a lot of queer dance art and nightlife. When I had time I’d do what few yoga poses I could remember and use dance to warm up and get my heart racing, some of that dancing would be my impressions of voguing. As an adult, besides the club, I’m not a dancer except alone at home, like I did when I was a kid, following inspiration from my mom and church performances. But now my motive was just to move my body in ways other than sitting at a laptop writing all day. It was one of the ways I survived winter when I felt I couldn’t move as freely outside.
“Voga,” though, had already been created in the UK. The video trailer I saw, however, did not seem very vogue. The music did not explore black musical traditions that inform “vogue” music – house, soul, gospel, R&B – nor did it seem to comport much to yoga. I felt queer people of color could make an intervention.
"Vogua" is much more than a television pilot introducing new characters and worlds. Shot in Pilsen at Junio's apartment and studio, "Vogua" showcases artists with diverse talents and skills. In addition to featuring Junio's yoga practice, the story also shows their original art works. Wallace choreographed a significant portion of the video, particularly her own solo work. Saya Naomi performed a version of her drag persona, but also did makeup and styling. For me, "Vogua" demonstrates how much "production value" queer artists of color can bring to television.
Kiam Marcelo Junio