“House music, if you listen to it, it’s all about love.”
CineKink festival’s Saturday program includes a stunning documentary celebrating Thee Debauchery Ball – an iconic BDSM house music party created and loved by Black & queer creatives in Chicago.
As house music started to decline in popularity in the 2000s, clubbing connoisseur and poet Khari B and DJ Big Will created Thee Debauchery Ball to keep the party going. The film follows the two over the course of 4 months in 2017, as they created a December party to remember.
The film features a stunning smorgasbord of kinky revelers, lifting their heads to the heavens as they let the music take them over. Thee Debauchery Ball is not just a party – it’s gig, and art exhibition, a house music temple, a BDSM fashion catwalk – a unique and beautiful shine of self-expression.
The story of house music in Chicago is the story of this Black self-expression, told by the creatives, promoters, and DJs that loved house music culture and came together to make the debauchery ball happen over the course of 14 years. They tell it with passion, love, and soul – the party is not just a party to them, it’s an important and imperative release, a site of Black joy and sexuality, a meeting point of artists, musicians, denizens and dominants.
Given house music’s long history and the ball’s kinky theme, it attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. The film brings us into the party, onto the dance floor with the Black, beautiful, and scandalous attendees of the ball. We meet the partygoers and get an insight to what the ball means to them – a way to embrace debauchery, a way to show off the parts of themselves they love, or to connect with other Black nerds, cosplayers, BDSM fans – subcultures that the Black community rarely talks about.
The ball has inspired fashion lines, inspired people to become confident in their bodies, given people their first taste of the BDSM lifestyle from bondage to whips, chains, spanking, domination. You can dance or get debauched, it doesn’t matter, it’s “a public space to develop your private confidence.”
Given our current clubbing-less world, the film reminds us of the beauty of the parties we miss. It perfectly captures the feeling of freedom and release that comes when you can truly, finally be yourself. To explore and dance and enjoy your own sexuality, supported and encouraged, rather than shamed. It also reminds us how important these spaces are for BIPOC and queer people, embracing “things that are shunned by the eurocentric western world – a welcoming sexual environment that has done well to not over-sexualise things.”
“This is place to dance, shake your ass and smack somebody else’s”, and it’s beautiful.
Thee Debauchery Ball is showing on the 5th.