By Andrew Taye, Staff Writer
Furman’s Gay-Straight Alliance group Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS) hosted its annual drag show, Friday March 31. Watkins room was packed with students, faculty and staff all eager to see what drag potential Furman has to offer. The judges, seated directly in front of the catwalk, were also eager to examine the contestants and find this year’s winner.
Before the competition commenced, education professor Dr. Scott Henderson reminded us that “drag is a form of gender impersonation” and that “gender expression is not the same as gender orientation.” Then Princess Mocha, a professional drag queen and recurring host at Furman’s drag show, entered Watkins gracefully whilst leading the anxious contestants. Here is a narration of the exciting events that took place that evening.
Sergeant Johnson was the first drag king to perform, wearing a camouflage, military uniform whilst wielding the US flag. With a fierce gaze and strong sense of patriotism, he sang an acapella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and then moved on to hard-hitting tunes such as “Lit ‘Em Up” by Fall Out Boy. He consolidated machismo throughout the performance and therefore provided a solid, conventional male impersonation.
The second performer went by the exceptional name of Jackie Channel. Dressed in a hot red blouse, a tight black skirt and intense black boots, the drag queen stole audiences with his erogenous aesthetic. Embodying an apathetic and valley-girlesque caricature, he danced to Britney Spears, striking fierce poses as many times as he could. His overt sassiness and movement within the audience area energized viewers as well as garnered many enthusiastic reactions.
The third act was very unique and unprecedented in Furman’s drag show history as a drag queen and king came onstage to perform a couple’s routine. The couple, characteristically named Sandy and Danny, obviously performed “You’re the One That I Want” from the musical “Grease” and thus won over old-school hearts in the audience. Their fun and very adorable performance was complimented by their movie-appropriate attire which consisted mostly of black leather and groovy wigs. All hands were clapping in sync with the nostalgic rhythm of the performance.
The last contestant to perform, however, also added another unique quality to the drag show. Anime-influenced drag queen Mayumi Miku-chan sported a loud pink dress with a massive blonde wig that showcased long curly pigtails. He danced to a fast-paced Japanese pop song and demonstrated great musicality owing to each gesture he employed for almost every beat represented in the song. He even brought two female students from the audience onstage to join him in his bubbly dance. All of this was done whilst fully lip-syncing in Japanese.
While the judges deliberated on the winner, Princess Mocha blessed us with an inspiring performance of the song “Green Light” by Lorde. Mocha’s stunning body suit included silver wings that, when expanded to their fullest capacity, transformed him into a drag queen angel. His professional performance reminded audiences of the limitless capabilities of drag performances.
After Mocha had finished gliding through Watkins, the judges were given the opportunity to relay their criticisms to the contestants. The judges applauded Sergeant Johnson for her ability to “personify the male persona excellently,” complimented the fierceness of Jackie Channel’s performance and after calling him “the total package,” truly appreciated the fact that Mayumi Miku-chan had lip synced in a foreign language. However, Sandy and Danny were made the winners of this year’s drag show competition due to their endearing choreography, amazing costumes and heartening rendition of a timeless duet.
In all, this year’s drag show was an entertaining event that symbolically took place on Transgender Day of Visibility, combating issues of cissexism and transphobia that are very prevalent in today’s society. This annual event also reminds us of the importance of personal expression and the understanding and respect that should follow. I therefore applaud all the contestants for their openness and EROS for creating a platform for genderless freedom.