Shifter Selects: Queer & Drag Influences On Pop Culture
Graphic by Samantha Olson. Photos from left to right: RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars/Paramount+, Villano Antillano/Instagram, Bob the Drag Queen/Instagram.
Welcome to Shifter Selects, an addition to our digital component where we’ll highlight the latest trends in music, film/TV and fashion. Here’s how it’ll go down: on Monday of every week, we’ll be on the lookout for trending topics and give our hot takes on the matter. Sound like something you’d be interested in? Look no further than our Shifter Selects for the week of June 21–25.
This week, we're focusing on the queer and drag community and its significant impacts on music, fashion and TV.
Villano Antanillo Is Transforming The Latin Music Scene
by Ysatis Rios-Sabat
Where to listen: YouTube, Instagram, Spotify
Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Villano Antillano’s approach to music is unlike that of any other artist on the scene today. Her latest single, “Muñeca,” features Ana Macho, a queer Puertorrican artist, and inserts the pair into a movement that had previously denied them a seat at the table.
The queer rapper has made a name for herself in music through her ferocious lyrics and unapologetic attitude. In an effort to advocate for the trans community, the music video, released on June 18, showcases some of the island’s most notorious trans women and drag queens — like Ubi Aaron, Victoria Alejandra and Gabriel Josué, among other great and fierce muñecas.
Antillano said while promoting the single on Instagram, “something changed in the last few months of my life...With this came a lot of inspiration, bravery and the desire to tell my truth...My truth is my weapon.”
She went on to describe the song as an apotheosis artwork and expressed how eternally grateful she was for all of the muñecas in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and Latin America.
Get Ready to Witness Cattitude on "RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6"
by Emma Lingo
Where to watch: Paramount+
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” is back and more intense than ever. The season will air on Paramount+ this Thursday, June 24. With queens adorned in brilliant yellows and striking reds, the contestants will battle it out for the $100,000 prize and their place in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.
The guest judges for Season 6 of All Stars includes Charli XCX, Emma Roberts, Miss Piggy and more. Of course, RuPaul and the regular judges, Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley are returning as well. Coming back with them is “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked!” Viewers can see the stars backstage during deliberation and witness all the cattiness and savagery that comes with these cutthroat queens.
The series will premier with back-to-back episodes followed by an additional episode each Thursday. Make sure you don’t miss the first episode “Lipstick Choices” June 24 on Paramount+.
A (Very) Brief History of Drag Queens and their Iconic Looks
by Brianna Fairman
Where to watch: @fashioncandrag on Instagram, @rupaulsdragrace on Instagram
When we think of drag, what first comes to mind for many of us are hazy memories of sipping mimosas while a man in sparkly 6-inch heels and a sultry dress performs dazzling gymnastic feats a few feet away.
Drag is performance art. Whether it be hyper-femininity or other gender expressions, people who dress in drag dedicate hours to perfecting fun and wild looks.
In recent years, drag has become a cultural phenomenon — but it hasn’t always been this way.
America’s first drag queen was a former slave.
Born in 1860, William Dorsey Swann called himself “the queen of drag” — hence drag queen. He held secret balls in Washington, D.C., where drag queens could come together. Although there are no surviving photographs of Swann, Channing Joseph, author of a recent book on Swann, says “records describe him as wearing long silk or satin dresses and opulent accessories.”
Widespread acceptance of people who perform drag has come a long way since Swann. Take Lady Bunny, for example, who in 1984 co-founded Wigstock, an outdoor drag festival in New York. By 1990, the festival had attracted over 10,000 attendees.
Although she’s been known to wear anything from floor-length sequin dresses to neon pink bodysuits, Lady Bunny’s signature is her large, blonde wig.
Another popular drag queen is Serena ChaCha, who wears wonderfully campy outfits and is returning to RuPaul’s Drag Race for All Stars Season 6. Known as Myron Morgan off-stage, he also owns a business selling wigs and offers beauty services.
Want to keep up with the latest trends?
Tune in on Monday for our next installment of Shifter Selects!