This is the ballroom history of the Role Model, Icon & Legendary Hall of Famer Jamal Milan aka the proclaimed, "Michael Jordan of Oldway/Pop, Dip & Spin and Face With Performance "...
Introduced to the ballroom scene in
the year of 1987. My 1st ballroom experience was at the Extravaganza ball in Manhattan, NY at the Latin Quarters in November 1987 and after that night I fell in love with Vogueing, Face and Fashion categories. I went to the ball with my close friends, Dorian
Adonis aka Harmonica Sunbeam and Chuckie Dupree – now Montana. I remember it like it was yesterday. On that night everyone who’s anyone in the ballroom scene at the time was in the building and/or walked. Dorian “Kansai” Adonis
won High Fashion Sportswear dressed in Head to toe Kansai and he peeled into more Kansai causing the crowd to go wild. Allen Adonis won BQ Face along with Troy Labeija over a host of handsome competitors and it was a tied vote. “Face to Face, Nose
To Nose, now smile and look at the judges cheek to cheek” the commentator said and the crowd went go beserk! The judges couldn’t decide who to give it to as Allen was dark skinned and lovely and Troy was light skinned and lovely
so they gave them both a trophy. Troy won for Light and Allen won for Dark. Their battle was a hott one!!! Jerome Pendavis won Grand Prize for Performance over Ronald Lamay and Ira Dupree Ebony – now Aphrodite (both won 1st place under Jerome), Derrick
Labeija, Jason Ovahness, Stevie St Laurent, Jarret Princess, Lance Adonis, Shawn Omni and a host of others. That day Derrick Labeija walked down the stairs on the stage in a backwards crab crawl which made everyone cheer and scream. In those days everyone
went above and beyond when it came to their vogueing skills and crowd pleasing tricks. Almost everyone ended their final poses with neck breaking dips or difficult looking poses when the MC said “Hold that pose” or the music stopped. It
was often difficult for the judges to find a winner because everyone was just that good. Jerome had to battle 2 times against Ira and Ronald before he was declared the Grand Prize winner that night because the judges couldn’t decide who should win. For
his last dip, that won him the trophy, was with him on his neck, one leg in the air as his other foot was in front of his face as he looked at it causing the judges to stand to their feet in amazement.
I learned how to vogue “Face
with Performance” from Jarret Princess in 1987. We were both from NJ and became friends quickly by hanging out with the same circle of friends. He would tell me stories of the ballroom scene and I loved the way he sold his face by boxing
it with his hands while doing egyptian moves with his head. I also learned attitude techniques from Floyd Ovahness Ebony – Milan as we became best friends after people kept telling us how much we resembled each other. Floyd sold his face with a
defiant attitude and sex appeal boxing his face as if no one else could compare to him when he vogued and I admired that alot. He always told me “vogueing is about attitude” and to “always think that you’re the best“.
Personally, I thought it was an interesting and unique craft to vogue with your hands constantly around your face without duplication or error. I learned ALL of my vogueing skills from watching Jerome Pendavis and Jason Ovahness. Jerome’s Arms,
Quick Movements and Confident Attitude with Jason’s Grace, Style, Dips and Pop.
It wasn’t until 1988 when I hit the ballroom floor as “Aramis” and walked my 1st ball held by the House of Adonis at the Elks
Lodge in Harlem, NY for Face w/Performance along side Stewart Labeija, Dennis St. Laurent, Brian Omni and Jarrett Princess. When I hit the floor the crowd went wild because I was very young and new to the scene however I boxed and sold my face with an egyptian
style and a defiant attitude as if I had been walking balls for years as I stormed through the crowd from the back of the runway. Grand Prize went to Brian Omni and 1st Place went to Stewart Labeija, yes back then they gave out 1st place trophies as
well. I joined the house that my gay mother, Harmonica Sunbeam aka Dorian “Kansai” Adonis was in and that night became an Adonis. I was put in by the Founder/Overall Mother and FACE Legend for Dark and Lovely, Allen Adonis. People used to
call Allen “The Black Superman/Clark Kent of BQ FACE” because of his chiseled features and chocolate skin. He became an instant ballroom sensation after he won New Face, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Face, Face, Face and more Face all in the same night
back in the day and was considered the “IT Factor” for the Dark and Lovely Face category. Alen and Dorian both taught me valuable lessons about the ballroom scene. I chose the name Aramis because I felt that I needed a ballroom
stage name. The ballroom scene seemed like it’s own underground ”Gay Hollywood” to me and I thought a unique stage name is what I needed to stand out from everyone else.
Once in the house of Adonis I was considered
the “Baby” of the house, which was a big deal back then to have such a title in any house. The first ball I walked as “Aramis Adonis” that made people really notice me for Models Body was at the 1st NY
House of Milan ball held in Manhattan, NY in which I won. BQ Models Body was the 1st category I was truly known for as well as Pop Dip & Spin/Performance and Face with Performance. In 1989, I mostly walked and won BQ Models Body and BQ Performance/Pop
Dip and Spin (before the breakdown of Oldway/Newway was invented) and had a small rivalry with Andre Labeija, Revlon – now Mizrahi as we were considered the “new school kids” when it came to performance. In that class of new school kids followed
Stiffy Revlon, Tim Princess, Derrick Extravaganza, Lamar Elite and others. Also in 1989, I often walked and won BQ FACE and was most successful for winning this category in NJ and Philly. Back then Face with Performance was a category that was not
held at every NY ball (mostly held at the NJ and Philly balls) so it was walked sporadically in NY but when I walked, I won or made it to the last battle. I was already well known for winning Face with Performance in NJ. The New York
ballroom kids were very hard (shady) towards the kids who walked balls and were from New Jersey therefore when we won at a ball in New York it was considered a big deal, especially since New York is where the ballroom scene originated. On November 4, 1989.
Hakeem Adonis Jourdan and Bobby Pendavis decided to start hosting “Of The Year” ceremonies for the NJ ballroom community which was the 1st NJ Awards ball ceremony in ballroom history and it was held in Irvington, NJ. On that night, I won 2 Of The
Year awards, BQ Performance (it was a tie with me and Andre Revlon – now Mizrahi) and I also won BQ Models Body along with Roy Revlon -now Ebony who won BQ Muscular Body. One of my early notable moments was at the famous Labeija Ball at Tracks in 1990
which is one of the most memorable balls ever. I walked and battled Jerome “Arms” Pendavis for Performance. I didn’t win however the crowd went wild when I started giving “arms” just like him as we battled. Jerome was a bonafide ballroom
favorite. Afterall, he was one of my vogue idols so it wasn’t hard to vogue like him. Later on that night at the Labeija ball I won Team Performance along with Shawn Omni and Lamar Elite Ebony. We won over Luis Extravaganza, Jerome Pendavis
and Aldona Fields. It had to be 3 or more to a team and after Shawn and Lamar walked Jerome complained to the judges and the judges asked them if they had a third person. I happened to be at the end of the runway cheering them on and Shawn
came up to me and said ”can you do it” and I said yes and we all 3 went off! LOL. Shawn Omni, Lamar Elite Ebony, Derrick Extravaganza and I all practiced together often during my early years in the ballroom scene in Hackensack, NJ at
Derrick’s house so we pretty much knew how to compliment each others vogue on the runway. We were also all from NJ with the exception of Lamar.
Face w/Performance really became a HOTT category once again in
ballroom during the early 1990′s thus spawning new talents such as Kaduma Ebony, Otis Mugler, Julian Mugler, Dwayne Mugler Milan, Laten Aphrodite, Ti Ti Diamante, Joseph Princess, Tyrell Ebony, Cliff Milan, Jack Mizrahi and re-emerging certain heavy
hitters such as myself (Aramis Adonis at the time), Ira Ebony -now Aphrodite, Floyd Ovahness -now Milan, Brian Omni and Jarrett Princess. It was always a hot rivalry between myself and Tyrell Ebony (RIP). The category Face with Performance remained
a HOTT one from 1991 thru 1996. It then died down in the later months of 1996 due to the AIDS virus, drugs and prison as they collectively took hold of many of it’s competitors.
The “High Fashion Streetwear”
category was introduced to Ballroom culture in 1993 at the 1st Gaultier Ball at the Marc Ballroom. Julian Mugler also confirmed that he and myself were the 1st people (tied votes) to ever win Grand Prize for the High Fashion Streetwear category in Ballroom.
Julian was done in an Armani jeans ski jumper with the Armani ski coat with life preserver collar and also debuted new DKNY pieces exclusive to Bergdorf. I was completely dripping in the last and one of the most Iconic Iceberg collections by Castlebajac (Sylvester
print) with the brand new Gianni Versace sneakers and matching Versace shades. I remember this ball like it was yesterday. We made ballroom History!
I left the House of Adonis due to lack of walkers/support and joined the House of Milan
in June of 1994. I was introduced to join the House of Milan by Oldway/Pop Dip and Spin master Ronald Lamay who was a Milan at the time. He told me that I would be one of the “Greats” when it came to my vogue performance one day. Another
memorable perfomance moment was when I battled and won as “Aramis Adonis” over the Legendary Jerome “Arms” Pendavis for Excalibur Performance at Father David and Don Miyake-Mugler’s Excalibur ball held at the Marc
Ballroom in Manhattan, NY in 1991/1992. The exact year escapes me. This was a very exciting and special night for me in ballroom because Jerome was a Legendary vogue mentor to me, it was a rematch from our last battle at the Labeija Ball at Tracks in 1990 and
it was my 1st time vogueing with Ginsu knives which made the crowd go beserk especially Eric Bazaar and Kenny Felder Ebony.
When I became a Milan in 1994, I decided to change my ballroom name to my birth name, “Jamal” to give myself a fresh
new start in my new house and my progressive ballroom career. I walked/won my 1st ball as “Jamal Milan” in 1994 at the Icon, Hector Extravaganza’s Transformation ball held at the Marc Ballroom winning both Face with Performance
(over a host of heavy hitters) and winning Models Magazine Face over Jack Mizrahi and BQ Runway Ruler, Eric Adonis who was my old house member. That ballroom DVD is currently on Youtube. I’ve also walked and won Legendary Face at Yancey Mizrahi
Mugler – now Balenciagas’ ball at the Brooklyn YMCA in 1996 with Face Icon, Whitney Mugler Garcon as the head judge winning over Hector Extravaganza that night. Also Kareem Cartier won New Face over Christian Milan. Their FACE battle was historical
and propelled them both as the new Face divas in ballroom at that time.
BALLROOM AND BEYOND:
From 1996 -1998 I took a small ballroom break due to the loss of my gay father, Roger Milan in 1996 and also to get my priorities
together on a personal level by pursuing my singing career as it was not progressing well due to my love for the ballroom scene. Years prior (in 1992) I was on the Bodyguard soundtrack by Whitney Houston and I was featured in the group S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M
with our hit song “It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day”. In the released video for the song I “sold my face” and slightly vogued doing “Face with Performance” as that was
my way of bringing a touch of the ballroom scene mainstream musically. Overall, the soundtrack was the biggest selling CD in worldwide history. We toured the world performing overseas and we received a Grammy as well for being apart of the CD. That is
a time of my life that I will always cherish and be thankful for. Being on a Grammy winning CD with Whitney Houston that was the biggest selling CD soundtrack in musical history was a dream come true for me.
I slowly returned to walking balls in the
year of 1998 walking/winning functions mostly in NJ/NY/Philly for Oldway. I made a very strong comeback to the ballroom scene in 2001 and hosted my 1st mini-ball titled “Do You Dare” in June 2002 @ Club Alberts in
Jersey City, NJ which was a success causing me to win Mini-Ball Of The Year for both the NY and Dorian Corey Ballroom Awards balls. That mini-ball showcased budding newcomers such as Pony Blahnik – Jourdan Zion, Malechi Blahnik – Allure, Neil St
Clair, Juan Allure (rwt), Eric Ebony (rwt). Some others made legendary moments such as Tim Princess, Derrick Icon, Mohammed Omni, Selvin Mizrahi – Khan, Hasan Ebony, Theresa Mizrahi, Aura St Clair, Ross Infiniti etc..My judges panel consisted of Alvernian
Prestige, Bernie Jourdan, Stanley Milan, Ricky Mizrahi and my son, Christian Milan who alternated with Tony Milan.
Unfortunately due to irreconcilable differences, I left the House of Milan and became the NJ Father of the House of Balenciaga in 2002.
After being in the House of Balenciaga for 3 years, I felt the desire to return home to the House of Milan and continue my legacy. I respectfully left the house Balenciaga and returned home, to the House of Milan in April 2006.
- May 20, 2009, I created a Ballroom Blog to showcase the ballroom talents and history of the competitors within the LGBT ballroom community. To see the ballroom scene blog go to http://ballroomcommunity.blog.com.
I honestly think the ballroom scene needs a universal place where all of our history is stored for the world to see. There’s alot of talent in the LGBT ballroom scene, we shouldn’t hide it we should embrace it. I’ve
also created a “Ballroom Status Criteria” document to aid in the constant debate regarding ballroom status within the scene. Hopefully my criteria or one similar will be put into place by the masses to provide the ballroom with more stability
in that area.
- August 5, 2009, I have hosted several “Introduction to Oldway” workshops at the GMHC for young adults 25yrs and younger to show them the basics of the category for those that would like to learn.
I am proud to say that with each session more of the younger generation is beginining to take an interest in learning the Oldway. I also plan on taking my Oldway Vogue Workshops on the road to other cities and organizations to start teaching those
that want to learn as well. For those interested in learning Face with Performance, I teach that as well.
- August 6, 2009, I appeared on the hit blogtalkradio show, Qview. With my own segment titled “Ask
Jamal” where listeners can call in and ask me advice/questions about life, relationships and the ballroom scene. The show is an internet show that airs every Thursday. To hear the show live or to hear the shows archives of past episodes
go to www.blogtalkradio.com/Qview
- April 4, 2010 Easter Sunday, the Ballroom Community representatives met in NY and as a whole we discussed, amended and adpoted the Ballroom
Status Criteria that I created into the community effective immediately based on a democratic vote, MAJORITY RULING making Ballroom History in the new millenium. I like to refer to this moment as The Rebirth of the Ballroom Scene!!
Community Conference Attendance list: Hector Extravaganza, Dray Ebony, Durell Chanel, Fred Chanel, Luna Legacy, Jaimee Balenciaga, Scooda Balenciaga, Rucka Revlon, Face Herrera, Kem Prada, James Icon, Jose Revlon, Stewart Ebony, Kedon Milan, Eric Milan
Jr, Kelly Mizrahi, Rashod Mizrahi, Enrique Allure, David Mugler, Selvin Khan, David Illuminati, Darryl Illuminati, Marco Herrera and Alvernian Prestige.
- April 6, 2010 the NJ Alliance met and accepts this criteria. The NJ
Alliance members that accept this Ballroom Status Criteria are; Jamal Milan, Theresa Mizrahi, Shawn St Clair, Kenny Evisu, Kem Prada, Morgan Ebony, Rodney Ebony, Scooda Balenciaga, Jamal Allure and Kaleef Ebony.
- April 13th 2010 the
Baltimore Ballroom Coalition voted on this new ballroom criteria and it has been accepted as the criteria that we will follow in our quest to preserve the integrity of the ballroom scene in Baltimore and return the ballscene to its original form. This meeting
was attended the following persons listed: TJ Milan, Redz Aphrodite, Cierra Milan, David Illuminati, Brandy Evisu, Darryl Illuminati, Savannah Gotti, Coco Gotti, Demetrius Diore, Fhallon Revlon, Marco Escada, Iman Escada, Barry Epic, Keith Diore, Dvon
Garcon, Mekko Diore, Lil Magic Diore, Enrique Allure, Cornbread Aphrodite, Brandon Herrera, Kyan Escada and Kenneth Evisu.
- April 4 2010 Atlanta As most of you know the 1st National Ball Meeting was held in Atlanta September 4th 2010 and even though it was limited invitations sent out to come take participation in this ground breaking
event in order to get the ballroom scene back on track there were invites sent to every part of the country. The idea behind this meeting was to get ballroom leaders from various city, states and regions of our ballroom community in one room so that we can
address the issues that we are facing in the ballroom today! It was not about names, status, or individual houses but strictly about the people who care enough of this culture to see to it that it doesn’t totally evaporate into oblivion.
I know some
people wasn’t able to come but this was just 1 of the many to come so be advised that your minds and opinions will be needed in the near future so I definitely hope you and other leaders in our ballroom community step up to the plate!!
Attendance: Stewart Ebony, Larry Mizrahi, Goddess Rodeo, Sebastian Allure, Econ Blahnik, Rodney Milan, Rucka Revlon, Cabbage Ebony, Alex Ebony,
Brandon Khan, KeKe Khan, Enrique Allure, Kelly Mizrahi, Mechee Mizrahi, Jay Blahnik, Jack
Mizrahi, Selvyn Khan, Kamaro Blahnik, Shannon Garcon, Andre Mizrahi
Most Recent Accomplishments:
- The Oldway - Fire Ball 3 Wakanda - November 2018
- Pop Dip & Spin the Oldway - I Am Ball - September 2018
- Face with Performance (in a Wicked Effect) - Dorian Corey Awards Ball - February 2017
- Face Over 30
- POP Ball - May 2016
- Icon Face - Prodigy Ball - August 2013
- The House of Milan was the 1st house to win $10,000 as a house.
- Jamal Milan Inducted into the NY
Ballroom Awards ”HALL OF FAME” on March 31, 2011.
- Received an ICON AWARD for my outstanding contributions within the ballroom community from the Icon Ross Infiniti in September 2010,
- Received the Xcellence Award for being a positive role model in the ballroom scene @ the 2010 Latex ball from the Icon Hector Extravaganza.
- Inducted into the Dorian Corey Awards “HALL OF FAME” on Feb 13 2009.
Won NY’s/Philly’s Oldway Of The Year from 2002 through 2006 (5 Years consecutively in a row), NJ’s Finest 2006, 2003 and 2002, Legend Of The Year 2002, Legendary Vogue Of The Year 2002, Comeback Of The Year 2002, Miniball Of The Year 2002,
Face With Performance Of The Year 2000 etc.
- Last featured in the 3rd Edition of the Ballroom Rockstar Magazine as the 2006 ROCKSTAR LEGEND. Also featured in Flavalife Magazine July/August issue as one of the “Top
10 Sexiest Men in the ballroom scene for 2006″.
Categories walked and won:
Icon Face, Legendary Face with Performance, Legendary Oldway, Legendary Face, Model’s Magazine Face, FACE, Face over 30, Team Face with Performance
(with Floyd Ovahness Ebony Milan), BQ Models Body, Performance Excalibur, Pop, Dip and Spin, BQ Performance, Newway, Sex Siren, Head To Toe Overness (Mr Out of Towner), High Fashion Streetwear, Vogue; Call Out Your Rival, Team Performance (with Lance Adonis)
and Team Oldway (with Dawan Milan).
THE OLDWAY/POP DIP & SPIN:
I’ve self proclaimed myself as the ballroom scene’s “Michael Jordan of Vogue" based on my achievements and awards within the categories of Pop
Dip & Spin the Oldway and Face with Performance. In my opinion, my achievements mimics the championship rings of the great sports idol himself. The most "BQ Oldway Of The Year" awards won by an Oldway/Pop Dip & Spin competitor (past/present).
I am the 1st to win a total of 5 awards consecutively in a row. The one handed walk around move that I created has been and is still immitated (to date) around the world. That move is known as the "Jamal Milan" and is an Oldway element within the Pop Dip &
These are elements of the Oldway that I think makes a great Oldway vouger: Precision/Pop, Dips, Spins, Poses, Locking, Hands/Line formation, Grace, Style, Catwalk and Strength. Each voguer has their own interpretation
of what the Oldway elements are however these are the ones that I follow and teach whenever I host an Oldway Class. Throughout all of my years it gives me great pleasure and honor to say that i’ve taught and/or influenced vogue in alot of the ballrooms
rocksocking performers in the following categories (Oldway/Newway/Face w/performance). (Hall of Famer/Icon) Alvernian Prestige, (Legends) Tim Princess, Kaduma Ebony, Cliff Milan, Dwayne Mugler Milan, Derrick Extravaganza, Dawan Milan, Derrick Icon, Jacen Prodigy,
Daebrian Balenciaga and Luna Legacy (Statements) Scooda Balenciaga, Jovan Ebony, Mike Mizrahi, Richard Ninja and Knyno Garcon.
My ultimate goal is to become the 1st International Ballroom Ambassador to bridge the gaps in the ballroom scene
worldwide. Hosting the 1st International Ballroom Olympics Ball that would be held every 4 years allowing each country to compete at a ball where the country that as the most Gold Medals wins Is another goal that I am focusing on.
goal becomes a reality. I will continue my legacy by being a positive role model within the ballroom scene to those individuals that need one. Teaching and training the new generation ballroom history, The Oldway and Face with Performance keeping
my legacy alive thus preserving those unique categories within the ballroom scene for decades to come. Some people believe that you don’t need to post your achievements because they should speak for themself however all humans tend to forget. When
your achievements are documented properly it can never be forgotten!
To see me in action go to Youtube.com and type Icon Jamal Milan.
I…. AM…. MILAN….!
Email information for Jamal
Quotes by Jamal Milan:
“Always know your true history and let no one change it for you.”
“Nothing beats a failure
but a try”
“Live your life as if you’re a celebrity”
The Icon & Legendary Hall of Famer, Jamal Milan.