Male Dancers Draw Complaints At Alabama Christmas Parade
SEMMES, Ala. (AP) – Minutes before they made the now-controversial strut down the parade route on Wulff Road on Saturday, the Prancing Elites, an all-male dance team from Mobile, stretched and lined up with the other parading groups before they marched.
As the parade began, Kentrell Collins, the group’s leader, recalls an older man who was directing the procession offer what seemed to be last-minute encouragement: “‘If anybody says anything to you, don’t stop moving, keep going,’” Collins said, recalling the event afterward.
Dressed in red and white Santa sweaters and snug white shorts, the four young men performed a routine that entailed a combination of sharp thrusts, swaying and elaborate hip movements. Each member also sported pristine make-up.
Within hours, members of the community in Semmes called parade organizers and posted on social media, most of them in shock. At least one woman demanded an apology, saying she had “never been so insulted” in her life. Others wrote that they were disgusted and children should not have been exposed to the dancers.
“It felt like a regular event,” said Collins, 26. “We were taking a risk, but we always do.”
The group dances in a style called J-Setting, a hip-hop-style dance characterized by cheerleading-style sharp movements that originated at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. The dance style was historically performed by women since the 1970s, but some men started taking part in the style in the mid-1990s.