Written by: Bee Reed
While RuPaul’s Drag Race has been around for seven seasons, the art-form of drag itself has been around for centuries. Drag communities have been fostering talented performers who have helped to build and shape the LGBT community into what it is today. While the growing popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race has helped to bring drag to people who may not have experienced it otherwise, it has also caused a rift to begin forming between fans of the show and local drag performers across the country.
While fans of drag who grew to love the art-form through Drag Race seem ready and willing to pay as much as $100 to meet and see their favorite Ru-Girls, they are almost reluctant to show up to a $5-$10 show that features a cast of highly talented local drag performers. One Philadelphia based drag performer has decided to take a stand and use her influence on social media to begin a campaign and have her voice heard. When Brooklyn Ford decided to start the hashtag #SupportLocalDrag on her social media pages we found it to be a simple and powerful statement that we wanted to know more about. We caught up with Brooklyn and got her thoughts on the matter. She wrote to us with her thoughts on the matter.
“Drag as we know it currently is in a weird place. With the ever rising popularity of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ we are seeing more focus and support being put towards those girls and less on the local talent that each city harbors and nurtures. It’s almost like the corporate chain versus mom & pop stores. I am in no way denouncing Drag Race, and I am completely obsessed with the show so let’s get that straight! Lol! It’s just a tough time to be a drag queen.
#SupportLocalDrag came to me one night. I was getting tired of seeing DROVES of people come out to see someone from TV who…dare I say…didn’t really do much. I can be a real cold bitch, but I also have quite the mother in me. My Philly girls and I had been facing this battle for some time now – the battle, that is, of getting our community out to see a great show. It baffled me that something that I hold so near and dear to my heart was just being “glanced over,” and it pissed me off.
In the Philly drag scene, whether I like it or not, people listen to me! With the influx and influence of social media becoming so present in our society today, creating something as simple as a hashtag helps to merge the relationship between patron and performer. I remember going to drag shows when I was a tater tot gay new on the scene. I was fascinated with them. Even getting to take a picture with a drag queen tickled me inside! I want #SupportLocalDrag to make that feeling happen again for everyone in our community.
Go out and support your local drag shows and take a picture with your favorite drag queen! Go to the events and take pictures of the shows you’re seeing and utilize #SupportLocalDrag. Without an audience there would be no drag shows. With the most recent cancellation of a beloved Philadelphia Gayborhood staple, Sinful Sundays, this couldn’t be any more apparent. I really want to bring back a level of appreciation and involvement within the Drag community and my home city of Philadelphia. It’s not just for the LGBTQ community to come out, but I want any and everyone to come out and show LOVE. So, do some research, find a drag show in your hometown, wherever you are, and #SupportLocalDrag!”
At one time or another all of the queens who have appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race were local queens to their own hometowns. The exposure they received on Drag Race helped propel their talents into a spotlight. However, just as their talents existed before their time on the show, thousands of talented queens who haven’t been on the show are also out there performing each and every night. So, find a drag show near you, get a couple of friends, and go #SupportLocalDrag in your city!