Coach Salutes LGBTQ+ Culture Through Dance in '50 Years Proud'

The journey from 'repression to celebration'

Coach New York captures the vibrancy of the contemporary LGBTQ+ community, and remembers the 1969 Stonewall riots that ignited gay liberation, in this Pride campaign that fuses high-energy dance routines with historical footage and eye-witness perspectives. 

Created by RanaVerse, the three-minute film below—juiced by tracks such as Gloria Gaynor's disco scorcher "I Will Survive"—weaves in snippets of personal perspective from Stonewall witness Jay Toole and iconic lesbian club promoter Cynthia Russo: 

"It went from, truly, repression to celebration," Toole says at one point in the video. 

"What keeps me strong is believing in our perseverance and in the progress that we've made," adds Russo. 

They'll return in subsequent "50 Years Proud" videos from Coach, telling their stories in detail. The work supports the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York-based nonprofit serving the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. 

Tanisha Scott choreographed the smooth moves, crafting an eye-popping assortment of scenes both playful and powerful, effortlessly shifting the action from shimmering studio sets to gritty NYC streets in a kaleidoscope of movement and color. 

"Coach wanted to do a campaign which was about celebration and joy, which is easily evoked via dance and then tell first-person stories of icons and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community from the origins of Pride to the present day," RanaVerse found Rana Reeves tells Muse. "Music and dance is a great way to speak to wide audiences—we all feel it the same way. Then the community interviews show that we can also think and act in the same way—that's about visibility and representation." 

Though the glam vibe is fun and positive—befitting a luxury accessories brand—the mix of glitzy motion and historical context provides a well-rounded view of what the community has lived through and how it's thrived en route to a deservedly fierce and fabulous future. 

"Hearing stories from pre-Stonewall and just how much they were persecuted in New York was very telling," Reeves recalls. "The community can be very youth obsessed, but it's critical we honor and learn from those who won us the rights we have and look after both the youth and our elders." 

CREDITS

Campaign Direction: RanaVerse
Casting By: Jill Demling & Jack Mizrahi
Styling: Chris Campbell
Hair: Yusef Williams
Makeup: Jacen Bowman, Tiffany The Artist
Produced by: 19th & Park
Music: Byrell The Great

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.