Contributed by: Daily Dragsbian
I found this to be thought provoking for a number of reasons. The first thing that I found thought provoking was the simple outfit she wore. Contrary to Morgan’s normally fabulous and elaborate style, this simple skirt and t-shirt ensemble is an adorable reminder that you don’t need to be super fashion forward to make a lasting impression. Her “Legalize Gay" t-shirt makes a statement bolder and more clear than even the most glittery rainbow drag costume could. Her tongue-in-cheek performance as a “fag hag" is simultaneously a roast of self-proclaimed “hags" and a respectful tip of the hat to their presence and support for the LGBT community. While this performance could have easily gone over as offensive, her charm and grace with this really served the purpose of saying “thank you" and “more of you, please!" to the queer community’s straight allies.
"I Look to you"
Detox’s hilarious performance of this traditionally religion-infused ballad is as thought provoking as it is side-splittingly funny. Smoking a joint, simulating cocaine intake, and using a crack pipe in her performance, Detox helps to remind us that all of us have our own way of remaining strong through dark times. While she manages to keep the performance light and fun, the aftermath of the performance can leave a lingering reminder of drug use and their effects: both positive and negative.
"In My Arms"
This performance kept me thinking long time after I initially watched it. I kept re-watching it with the strange feeling of being both fascinated by the commentary that I was finding and also frustrated at being unable to articulate what that commentary was. However, I eventually figured out that the combination of the song’s lyrics, the performance, and - most importantly - the sudden reveal of the full goddess-like costume was where the commentary was most prominent. Until the reveal of the extra arms which she is wearing - and which have now become an iconic look of Raja’s - this performance reads simply as a beautiful woman knowing how strong her ability to embrace and use her sexuality and sensuality make her. However, the sudden reveal that the piece is portraying something more than that - a goddess who surpasses the strength and power being previously portrayed - made me realize just how much we idolize and worship beauty. Since the recorded history of great civilizations began, there has been an obsession of feminine beauty. This obsession has been manifest in an array of emotions ranging from awe and admiration to fear. Raja’s performance reminds us of the true, goddess-like power that women are capable of holding in their arms.
"Chow Down (at Chick-Fil-a)"
This video is perhaps one of the most well known parodies in the drag world at the moment. In an interview, Detox mentioned that the three queens of DWV were shocked at the response to their message. They had never really intended to become outspoken activists in the way that this video allowed them to. For many of its viewers, this video was the first exposure to the anti-gay tendencies of Chick-fil-A’s execs. Simply by raising awareness, this video became one of the most influential drag performances of our time, but it went above and beyond that with its message to the LGBT community. With its playful lyrics, “chow down at Chick-fil-A, even if you’re gay," this video gently reminds its queer and ally viewers that boycotting one business won’t solve the true problem of intolerance. While it may feel good to take a stance by refusing to give money to anti-gay organizations, the true problem of bigotry and intolerance won’t disappear just because a group of people stop eating waffle fries!
In this performance, Alaska uses every bit of her C.U.N.T. to make a commentary which reflects the fear many women face as they worry about stalkers and threats of violence in the male dominated nightclub hook-up culture that has emerged for young people in America. From a wonderfully campy spoken word lipsync, she goes into a frustrated rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone" and then “Call Me Maybe," with subtext portrayed that would make Gaga herself gag.
The song itself is a powerful one, but Ongina seems to gain an understanding and reach a meaning that surpasses even that which even Christina Aguilera has of her lyrics. By emphasizing the need many women feel to wear make-up in order to conform to society’s expectations of feminine beauty, Ongina’s riveting performance reminds us that the world we live in often keeps women from feeling truly beautiful on the outside, and by extension on the inside as well. By breaking our hearts, Ongina inspires those who see this performance to really rethink their own perceptions of beauty and embrace their beautiful selves for who they are, exactly as they are.
"I Was here"
Through this emotional and intense performance, Porcelain connects with the unspeakable desire to leave a reminder of who we are on this planet. The human fear of death is often just as much brought on by the fear of what awaits us after death as it is by the fear of being forgotten and insignificant. The frustrated artistic endeavor that she goes on in this earth shattering portrayal gives a slight nod to great artists who went unnoticed and unappreciated in their lifetimes, such as Van Gogh who died thinking he was an untalented failure. Porcelain puts fear, anger, and anguish - three feelings we as human beings dread the most - right in front of the audience’s face and challenges them to look within their own spirits to see what they will leave as a reminder that they were here on this earth when they’re gone.
"TV Will Never Love You"
This performance, unlike the others, is not a lipsync. It is not a song. It is almost poetry, but its emotion and bluntness surpass the effects that even the most captivating poets can create with their words. It’s simply an expression of the frustration and bleakness of realizing that your dream was never really what you expected it was. After her rise to fame and the pressures that she faced to conform, the controversies which surrounded her, and the emotional roller coaster created by everyone knowing your name, Sharon expresses regret and it is heartbreaking. There’s little else to say about this performance because it truly speaks for itself.
"ThANK GOD I'M PRETTY"
Jinkx Monsoon has been using her drag to create social commentary since the very beginning of her career. In this performance - a response to the loosening of laws that would convict rapists - Jinkx protests against the idea of changing the definition of rape. As she sings Emilie Autumn’s “Thank God I’m Pretty," Jinkx and two men create a tableau that explicitly portrays the dangers and effects of date rape. She covers the ideas of excuses such as “she was asking for it," “we were drunk and I thought she was cool with it," and “she was a tease who just changed her mind at the last second, but she was fine with it until then". Jinkx very clearly and effectively voices her thoughts on rape culture and reminds all who see this performance that “No" means no!
"Party in the USA"
At first, it seemed like an innocent performance of a drag culture favorite Miley Cyrus’ 'Party In The USA' showing a fishy Fade-Dra dancing around the stage as happy images of Hollywood flash on a screen behind her. Her portrayal of our perceptions of the USA quickly escalated, removing the ideological smoke and mirrors from the performance. Slowly the fantasy-like American dream becomes a nightmare, showing the disgusting underbelly of a country which still faces huge problems: heightened pressure on young people to engage in potentially dangerous sexual activity, violence, racism, bigotry, and hate crimes. By the end, the “party" going on in the USA is far from one that is imagined by Miley’s lyrics. This performance shakes the viewers to their core and makes their heads spin with thoughts.