Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd has written about music, pop culture, and politics for Spin, Billboard, Vibe, MTV, New York Times, AlterNet, Guernica, Interview, and many more. Formerly the Executive Editor of the Fader, she now free lances from her apartment in Brooklyn.



"Cunt Music: When Vogue House Dips Meet Dipset"

Since Jennie Livingston’s groundbreaking 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, outsiders have viewed NYC ball culture through a narrow lens, seeing its parts commodified (Madonna’s “Vogue”) or codified through secret language that's trickled up (the transmogrification of “banjee” styles into the ostensibly straight world of hip-hop). For decades, the ball/vogue scene has been closed to those who pose a potential threat, and seen as arcane to those who haven’t dug in. This concept holds doubly for its music. Built almost exclusively on a monster drum hit from Masters at Work’s 1991 “Ha Dance,” the sound of “vogue house” has evolved, yet hasn’t strayed far from that single, classic house track.

But with hordes of Googlers hungry for that “new-new,” vogue house has slowly ripened for outsider plucking. “Cunty” producers like Vjuan Allure and Kevin Aviance have provided a ball soundtrack unnoticed by outsiders for years, while younger, social networking producers like DJ Mike Q, Kingdom, and Divoli S’vere garner attention from large media outlets, including Diplo in Vanity Fair (2011), myself in the FADER (2008), and "America's Best Dance Crew" (2009). How do outsider-listeners interpret vogue house’s sound and legacy? What does new, Soundcloud-based vogue house have to do with '90s-style balls, continuing to this day? Will its secretly symbiotic relationship with mainstream, straight hip-hop—particularly Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beats, and The Diplomats—finally come to light? The paper will explore these concepts through fabulous sight, sound, and conversations with all the major players. The presenter will be wearing a phenomenal outfit.