So I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the show ‘RuPaul’s Dragrace’. Not only is it the best thing to ever be on Netflix, minus the Fresh Prince – I absolutely live for this show.
I always explain it as being like America’s next top model… But for drag queens. There’s runways, lip-syncs and a whole lot of shade throwing so I suggest you get involved!
What is a Drag Queen?
These are usually men, who dress up as women in order to create the ultimate female illusion. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, they actually have to physically create this illusion. From makeup to creating dresses and silhouettes to go with them and even tucking, it’s clearly not easy to be in drag and don’t be fooled, drag kings exist too.
This art form is something that has had a large influence on pop culture over the years. With the likes of Grace Jones, David Bowie and Lady Gaga – in our time, blurring gender stereotypes music and fashion platforms. setting trends and pushing new ideologies, drag has been at the center of it all, who do you think invented voguing?
Rupaul Andre Charles himself has been at the forerunner of this movement, being the first drag supermodel of the world! The rest is history.
But are African countries ready to embrace drag queens?
Now we all know that is not something that would be widely received by most African countries. Good luck expressing yourself through celebrating the female form in a place where the wrong sexual preference can lead to death or imprisonment. There’s only ever been one African queen on the show; Bebe Zahara Benet from Cameroon who actually went on to win the first ever season. During the race she alluded to the difficulties of being a gay drag queen in an African country, eventually leading her to flee her home, seeking a life of freedom elsewhere.
In light of such things, I would have never predicted Africans embracing the drag scene anytime soon. Until I saw a headline about South Africa’s first drag reality show hitting the screens earlier this year. Starring Betty Bangles; one of the few famous queens in the country who are well-known for their trade. Betty acts as a drag mother mentoring three young queens in order to prepare them for the bigger world stage of drag.
Not only is this such an interesting watch, it’s also reflective of the evolution of thought in South Africa. People are clearly becoming more open-minded which is very fitting as it is the first and only Southern African country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2006. they have gone on to codify and protect the rights of the LGBT community since. Hopefully, this is a sentiment that will soon be shared by other African countries in the future.
P.s tucking is putting one’s junk between one’s legs so it’s not visible from the front, thus creating the ultimate female illusion.