Teyana Taylor's NSFW 'WTP' Is the Battle Rap of Ballroom Videos - Rolling Stone
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Teyana Taylor’s NSFW ‘WTP’ Is the Battle Rap of Ballroom Videos

Mockumentary-style music video directed by the singer features cameos from Lena Waithe, Big Freedia and other notable queer performers and models

Welcome to ‘Will I Get Fired For This?,’ an occasionally recurring column in which staff writer Charles Holmes — whose duties include but are not limited to watching and writing about music videos — watches a new music video that he fears will get him fired. Read the previous entry for Metro Boomin’s “10 Freaky Girls,” featuring 21 Savage, here.

Will I Get Fired For This? is a learning experience and Teyana Taylor’s “WTP” introduces a new world I’m vaguely aware of, but interested in knowing more about — ball culture. The self-directed video is set-up as a mockumentary, where different models describe what type of walks they compete in and the different houses they belong too. From what I can gather, balls are similar to rap battles — everyone has nicknames and styles — except more intense. Les Fabian Brathwaite’s far more eloquent description defines balls as “a way for queer blacks and Latinos to live their best lives…Through elaborate performances incorporating and commenting on race, class and gender, the ball community has historically reflected the American Dream and one’s exclusion from it.”

Inexplicably, Taylor casts herself as a fictional nobody who picks up dresses — think Rabbit from 8 Mile without the bars about spaghetti or class politics. “I just don’t understand why I’m not good enough to work my pussy at the ball,” she says, while decked in a red Bape hoodie. Then boom, Taylor is dressed in a red wig, lingerie and fur coat acting like the Russell Westbrook of the ball. She twerks and vogues, until Lena Waithe has no choice, but to say “she a special motherfucker.” Unfortunately, we never check back in with Tokyo McGlare, Milan Christopher, Trace Lysette or Shawn Extravaganza on how they feel that the director of “WTP” also won the competition.

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