photographs by Patrick Arias
collage/text by Sasha Velour
Posture Magazine: Issue 3
With Sasha Velour, Miss Malice, Horrorchata, Chris of Hur, Rify Royalty
Originally published in Posture Magazine: Issue 3 (The Boss Issue) these photo-illustrations showcase some superstar producer queens of Brooklyn drag nightlife, accompanied by short essays.
(Introduction by Sasha Velour)
"Drag, in general, is a space of queer reimagining—the workshop in which we try to fix (or at least fuck with) the narratives of gender and beauty that we see around us. Drag looks at gender and says “what an exciting idea, but you’ve got the rules all wrong!” For me, it can do the same thing to the boss.
Because for us queers, (especially us small-fish, down-home, drag bar queers) old-fashioned leadership with its ideas of hierarchy and control just doesn’t seem that useful. Many of us even have serious damage caused by “bosses”—leaders who controlled the way we dressed or spoke, “guidance” that silenced us. We need new kinds of leadership, ones that work for us.
A drag boss is a kind of playful re-interpretation. It’s about opening up space for new, queer bodies to take on positions of leadership. It’s about creating networks and businesses with distinctly un-hierarchal structures. It’s about being fun, and glamorous, and lovely. And because drag celebrates code-switching and repeated role-reversal, drag boss (or is it “boss-drag”?) means taking turns, alternating roles, and creating collaboratively.
This plays out on such a local scale here in Brooklyn. The drag scene here is THRIVING, and the hosts and performers that define each neighborhood/bar/show continue to build loyal and distinctive audiences. People feel like they belong at a drag show…and that, to me, is the sign of great leadership.
In the following essays, 5 performers from different Brooklyn neighborhoods talk about the parties that they produce and host—what kind of environment they create, why they love drag and queer performance, and what they value as queer-self-made leaders. In illustrating these, photographer Patrick Arias and I created wild collages—soul pictures of the space that these bad-ass drag bosses have carved out for themselves and their community.
Like a true boss queen, I saved one spot for myself. If drag teaches us one lesson…it’s to graciously and glamorously step into the spotlight at any given chance. And that, I think…is some real boss beauty."