Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just recently I was saying to a friend, "$500 for a simple dress," quoting the legendary Octavia St. Laurent Mizrahi from the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. Unfortunately, I just learned via Frank Leon Roberts blog that the icon herself recently passed.
I remember the first time I saw Octavia in-person. It was at Jay Ebony's (now Father Jay Blahnik) Philadelphia Face to Face Ball on July 25th 1998. Octavia stormed for femme queen face in a white dress, flower in her hair and lip-synched a few bars to Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child." The crowd was delirious, Octavia personified femme queen face and of course won grand prize. The picture above is from that night.
This is an era of the ballroom community that is transitioning over, in 2006 it was Willie Ninja, who was also a part of Paris Is Burning.
My condolences go to the friends and family of Octavia St. Laurent Mizahi. Rest in peace.
Check out one of Octavia's famous scenes from Paris Is Burning.