FollowLeadLOVE is about a Queer African-American and an Aging Asian Female Broadway veteran defying the odds of once and for all break the barriers of the ballroom world’s traditional and regimented gender roles of male being the leader and female as the follower. But the question is, can they usher it to the next level of true gender equality, while confronting the systemic political & socio-cultural issues they are facing personally and professionally?
This film shows Kristine Bendul’s journey as a 47 y/o Female Asian-American including her story of being adopted when she was around 1 y/o in Korea by white parents. Throughout this film , the audience will see how she navigates to connect to her Asian roots, finding her inner voice of empowerment, her process of uncovering, discovering and her attempt towards believing in herself regardless of her gender, race and age.
We also look at how Abdiel Jacobsen navigates through identifying as a Queer African-American coming from a very strict religious upbringing. The film shows how Abdiel finds the voice and freedom of expression to the fullest, including performing in heels while proving the importance of embracing all personalities and diversities of people.
FollowLeadLOVE transcends beyond dance. It reflects the trials and tribulations of Abdiel and Kristine both on and off the dance floor as they look into embracing the shift of their roles in order to create an opportunity to transform from within. In addition, this film shows how they exercise and fight for their rights as partners and individuals on the stigma due to ongoing racial prejudice and social injustice, further magnified by the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
This is also a documentary that unravels the ugly and inconvenient truth of cultural racism happening within some of the facets of the Performing Arts Institutions. It reveals the subtleties of how they assign values and perpetrates the normalization of white supremacy in order to rationalize the unequal status and degrading treatment of Communities of Color behind their superficial embrace of inclusion and diversity.