Jazzul Escada has presence.
When he walks in the room, heads turn. He’s not a spectacle. He’s got that sparkle that genuinely draws people in. He talks with his body. His eyebrows say hello first. And when the beat drops, he’s not just dancing for the crowd. He’s dancing for himself.
The 25-year-old Lynn resident is both dancer and plus-size model, representing the Dominican LGBTQ+ community and dismantling gender stereotypes.
A member of House of Escada, he took part in the HBO Max series, “Legendary,” a vogue reality competition. They took third place and Escada is just getting started.
What does a beautiful resistance mean to you?
Vogue is a beautiful resistance. The ballroom community has been underground for many years and is made up mostly of LGBTQ+ people of color who created the dance form. Being able to express who I naturally am and to live my life as masculine or feminine as I desire while voguing is a beautiful resistance. In many Hispanic cultures, Dominican in my case, there are these social stigmas put in place by society that I felt halted me from really reaching to be myself to the fullest. Always feeling as though I must play a role to be as masculine as possible because being anything but masculine would not be accepted. My life is my life. I’ve learned to be myself and gender roles are really just a myth to me.
Being brown and LGBTQ+ in New England is:
In my experience being brown and LGBTQ+ in New England is multifaceted. I have to wear a different mask depending on what space I enter. Even though New England is more LGBTQ+ friendly than other states, there are still aspects of my outward expression that are put to the side as a Dominican man. I would love to see more spaces where all people of the community celebrate each other equally.
In this moment, what gives you joy?
Being part of a platform, like “Legendary,” that shows the world it’s OK to live in your own skin, especially as a LGBTQ+ person of color, and be who you are and what you want to be.
It’s important to take up space and have representation because:
Silence allows other voices to represent you without taking your needs into consideration. It’s not only literally taking up space, it’s feeling empowered enough to have your voice heard. A variety of voices represent a widespread set of experiences, from yours to the next voice.