PARIS — It was on a June afternoon, in the courtyard of his favorite Paris hotel, when Pierre Hache got the call saying that he would perform for the president. At first he thought it was a prank; the Élysée, the presidential palace, usually welcomes visiting dignitaries. But President Emmanuel Macron was hosting an event to honor France’s electronic musicians, and Mr. Hache, a D.J. and dancer who performs as Kiddy Smile, had been booked to spin records.
“There’s never been people like me in the president’s house,” said Mr. Hache, 32, sitting in the same hotel courtyard two months later.
Mr. Hache is an openly gay musician of African descent who grew up in a housing project outside Paris. He found fame in the capital’s thriving “ballroom” scene, in which gay and transgender dancers, predominantly of ethnic minorities, perform limb-whirling vogueing routines. His debut album, “One Trick Pony,” is due to be released on Aug. 31, and he plays a leading role in “Climax,” a movie by the art-house director Gaspar Noé that premiered at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes this year.
On the day of the Elysée appearance, Mr. Hache wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Son of immigrants, black and gay.” He also brought along a troupe of ball dancers who posed for photographs with Mr. Macron on the palace steps.
The pictures, which were widely shared on social media, caused a stir. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally party, shared a video of the performance on Twitter, adding “Help!” and the scream emoji. Politicians from the center-right party the Republicans mocked the display as unstatesmanlike.
Before the event at the Élysée, timed for a nationwide music festival, Mr. Hache drew criticism from activists who saw Mr. Macron’s invitation as a cynical move to make the government appear more inclusive. But Mr. Hache decided to play anyway.
“If I don’t go somewhere, nobody will care, I am not Rihanna,” he said. “But if I go, I can say something.”
Mr. Hache said his performance at the Élysée was a reminder, “People like me exist.”
“Lots of people felt very offended, but most of them were white,” he said. “They don’t understand that even though, yes, I’m an L.G.B.T. person, my existence is intersectional: I’m also a person of color and an immigrant’s son. You feel like France is your country, but you’re always reminded that you’re not from here. I have to represent for those people.”
Didier Lestrade, a French journalist and co-founder of the Paris chapter of Act Up, an AIDS protest group, said in a phone interview that Mr. Hache’s views had resonated with young people in the country. “France is stuck in terms of integration and visibility of minorities,” he said. “On the national level, we can see that there is still a lot of racism.”
By contrast, “Kiddy is one of the very few black artists in France who are out and really up front in terms of L.G.B.T. rights,” Mr. Lestrade added. “He represents the change of attitude among young people, straight and gay: They have more tolerance.”
Tolerance and inclusion are also hallmarks of the ballroom scene, which originated in Harlem in the 1980s and has been catching on in Paris in the past 10 years. There are now 16 teams, or “houses,” in Paris that compete at regular balls.
“There was never a place where I could feel like myself until ballroom,” Mr. Hache said. He grew up in low-income housing in Groussay, southwest of Paris, where his parents had moved from Cameroon. Though he knew he was gay from an early age, he said, “Fat is never associated with sexuality, so nobody was asking why I didn’t have a girlfriend.”
He took hip-hop dance classes in Groussay and later moved to Paris, where he met more gay people. But he still felt like an outsider, he said, recalling them saying: “We don’t really like where you come from. The projects, that’s not us.”
But the ballroom scene was not like that, he said, adding, “You get to be what you cannot be in real life.”
As well as D.J.ing at the balls, he competed in the “runway” category, wearing outré outfits. “Five years ago, there were no black chubby men on the catwalk,” he said.
These days, Mr. Hache has a close association with the French fashion label Balmain, providing soundtracks for the company’s fashion shows and being photographed in its clothing.
He also recently signed with Next Models — a personal victory “for the fat kid that everybody called ugly,” he said.” His part in “Climax” will increase his visibility when it comes to French movie theaters in September.
Mr. Noé, the French-Argentine director of “Climax,” said by telephone that the movie was inspired by the “crazy energy” of ballroom culture in Paris. It follows a group of dancers who drink acid-spiked sangria, and the night of hallucinatory carnage that ensues.
“When he’s playing his music, with all these people around him, it’s like fire,” Mr. Noé said, describing why he offered Mr. Hache a part. “You feel like you’re in a volcano of joy.”
Mr. Hache urged the director to cast a sexually and racially diverse group in the movie, to reflect the realities of ballroom culture.
That culture was on display last month in a basement club in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, on the set of the music video for “Be Honest,” a gospel-tinged track from his forthcoming album. Dancers in bondage gear and thigh-high stilettos were encouraging one another to take the floor. Two burst into a thrilling duel of the duck walk, a thigh-burning move that had them crouching down and rapidly kicking out their legs, as Mr. Hache watched on a monitor. “Magnificent!” he exclaimed.
Outside after the filming, Steffie Mizrahi, a dancer who leads one of Paris’s ball houses, said Mr. Hache was the lightning-rod the scene had been waiting for. “We live in a world that tolerates us, but doesn’t accept us,” she said.
Mr. Hache’s success will inspire many in the ballroom community “to believe in the talent they have, and to push it outside of the scene,” Ms. Mizrahi said, adding that it would affirm their presence. “Before, we were hiding.”