While many corporate entities have demonstrated their support for Pride month, Nike’s #BeTrue collection might be the best one we’ve seen thus far. One of the sneaker giant’s promotional video features Leiomy Maldonado, a Nuyorican trans woman who has been owning the queer ballroom scene for well over a decade.
The video features a heartfelt, poetic monologue read by trans artist and ballroom commentator Precious Angel Ramirez demonstrating exactly how much of an inspiration Maldonado has been to queer and trans people of color. Maldonado told CASSIUS she cried the first time she heard the piece.
“I began to have flashbacks of all off the things I’ve had to endure to be respected as a dancer, all the things I’ve accomplished, and most importantly it reminded me that my purpose is bigger than me,” she said.
The mainstream LGBT movement has been critiqued for its failure to make space for people of color, but this project places a trans woman of color in the center. In addition to inclusion, the Wonder Woman of Vogue’s involvement in the “Equality” campaign serves as a hard clap back against the hyper-masculine view of athleticism. By seeing her craft in action, we’re invited to pay witness to an alternate view of what it means to work your body to the bone. As an Afro-Latina woman of trans experience, she tells CASSIUS that being able to be presented as an athletic woman has been a dream come true for her.
“I wanted the video to represent me as a warrior and a survivor,” she said. “To give hope to those who are going through struggles in their everyday lives. I wanted the world to see that you can make anything happen in life as long as you believe in you!”
Watch the touching spot down below.